Skip to main content

Important Changes to BACB Certification for MSc ABA Students and Applicants

Since 2014, the Master's course in Applied Behaviour Analysis (MSc ABA) has been offered at the Centre for Behaviour Analysis at Queen's University Belfast.

two young boys playing with cars

This very popular course is taught mainly online and meets the necessary academic requirements for students who aim to become Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBA; www.bacb.com). The course covers the 5th Edition Task List (Verified Course Sequence; VCS) and is verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). BCBA exam pass rates place our MSc ABA as one of the highest scoring online verified behaviour analysis courses.

Recently, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) announced impactful changes: From January 1, 2023, candidates who do not reside in the United States and Canada will no longer be able to become newly certified by the BACB (i.e., from that date, only candidates who reside in USA/Canada will be able to take the BACB exams in English). Additionally, the BACB exams will only be offered in English from January, 1 2022. You can read these changes at https://www.bacb.com/global-certification BCBAs who have obtained their certification prior to this date, will continue be able to hold their certification.

While our MSc ABA attracts many international students, quite a few of whom live in USA/Canada, most of our students live elsewhere in the world. Therefore, we realise that students may be unsure of how the changes announced by BACB will impact them.

Current students on the MSc ABA at Queen’s University Belfast:

The BACB will continue to offer the exam for candidates who reside outside of the USA/Canada until the end of 2022. While this timeframe is tight (less than 3 years), it should allow current students to complete the course, gain required supervised fieldwork hours, and apply for eligibility to take the exam. Exact timelines, e.g., last date to apply for eligibility to sit the exam, are available on BACB website. Please, note that the BACB recently announced that exams will be offered on a continual basis from February 1, 2020. You can read more details around examinations at https://www.bacb.com/examination-information/

Prospective students of the MSc ABA at Queen’s University Belfast:

At QUB, we will continue to offer the MScABA, including the ABAI Verified Course Sequence (5th Tasklist). Full-time students who start the course in Sept. 2020 and expect to graduate in Dec. 2021, need to be aware that they will have just one year after graduation to become eligible and sit the exam (for exact timelines see https://www.bacb.com/examination-information/).

Under the new BACB rules, students who start the MScABA in Sept 2021 (earliest graduation Dec 2022) will most likely not be able to sit the BCBA exam before January 1, 2023, unless they reside in the USA/Canada. NB; students who enrol in Sept 2021 and only take the VCS (PG Dip ABA) can potentially graduate in July 2022 and therefore could potentially have their application to sit the exam approved before January 1, 2023 (see https://www.bacb.com/examination-information/ for details).

The MScABA is  a popular and well-regarded Master’s course offered by a Russell Group University. The course is taught online, with a 2-day block on-campus workshop per semester. As such, this course remains an attractive course for anyone who wants to train in behaviour analysis. Students who complete our MScABA will continue to be sought after on the employment market. The course lends itself particularly to those who seek in-depth post-graduate/post-qualifying training in the fields of behaviour analysis, behaviour change, and behaviour insights. The applications for behaviour analysis are wide-ranging and include mainstream education, disability and special education, autism, parent training, positive behaviour support, rehabilitation, organisational behaviour management and many others.

Our academic team at QUB are all doctoral level Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBA-D) with extensive national and international research and practice backgrounds. In addition to the MScABA, we offer a very successful PhD programme in Applied Behaviour Analysis, that meets the BACB requirements for doctoral level training of behaviour analysts. For further information please see the Centre for Behaviour Analysis website.

In the meantime, our team are closely involved in the ongoing discussions and developments regarding professional accreditation and registration for Behaviour Analysts in the UK, Ireland and Europe.

So far, in the UK, the UK-Society for Behaviour Analysis (UK-SBA) has opened a Voluntary Register for behaviour analysts with the aim to have this recognised by the Public Standards Authority (https://uk-sba.org). In Ireland, within the Division for Behaviour Analysis, discussions are underway for the development of a new Board to take the regulatory process forward. Please contact us if you have specific questions about developments in countries other than UK or Ireland.

We will update this page when new information becomes available.