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At NUI Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
Applied Behaviour Analysis (MSc)
This Master of Science (MSc) programme provides you with the theoretical and practical knowledge to kick-start your career as a practitioner. Students will learn about the principles of ABA and how these are applied in the real world to improve socially significant behaviours for a range of populations, including children and adults with developmental disabilities, students who may be struggling in mainstream education and those who have an acquired brain injury. The science of ABA has broad applications and this is reflected in the MSc programme and in the diverse career paths of our graduates.
The programme provides students with the training and supervision required to conduct applied research with clinical populations. In addition we have a number of course-affiliated placements, where you can obtain relevant supervised experience in the field of behaviour analysis. Applied Behaviour Analysis has a strong evidence base, comprising over 50 years of applied research. It is recommended by the largest ever review of research into interventions for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), The National Standards Project, (National Autism Centre, 2009, 2015) as having the strongest evidence base of all interventions for ASD.
Our programme follows the scientist-practitioner model, providing students with integrated training in the academic, practical and research aspects of the science of ABA.
NUI Galway offers a Verified Course Sequence (VCS) which is applicable towards applying for the BCBA credential with the BACB. More information. Read more on the BACB. Please note that from 2023, graduates must be residing in the US, Australia, the UK, or Canada in order to apply for certification with the BACB.
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.
Applications and Selections
Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System.
Who Teaches this Course
Our staff team has extensive clinical and research expertise. In addition, we have a pool of high-quality guest lecturers who share the wealth of their experience in their specialist area(s) with our students.
Requirements and Assessment
Participants will be assessed throughout the programme by a combination of project assignments, case study reports, thesis research, and written examinations.
Applications are invited from candidates who hold a Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent). Evidence of relevant experience and motivation will be taken into account in offering places on the course.
2 years, full-time
Next start date
A Level Grades ()
QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes
31 March 2021
Mode of study
The MSc involves full-time study for two years. Lectures are held one day per week, with additional clinical supervision sessions provided on designated days. The course provides students with opportunities to gain experience working within schools and services that support individuals with differential diagnoses, which facilitates the integration of the course’s practical and academic elements. The course offers approved clinical placements with associated supervision. Placement is not compulsory and an alternative assessment can be selected instead. We strongly recommend that you undertake a supervised placement for 2–3 days per week.
The programme offers a thorough training in a variety of behaviour change procedures, functional assessment technologies and skills teaching practices. Students are given training in the theoretical foundations of behaviour analysis and are provided with the skills to work as practitioners. A strong emphasis is placed on the ability to work with, and provide treatment for, diverse and complex cases. Students will become competent in the design of educational and rehabilitative programmes in an applied environment. This course covers the Task List as set out by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB), the international credentialing body for Behaviour Analysts.
Further information here.
Students can apply for the Structured PhD in ABA
Why Choose This Course?
Past students are employed nationally and internationally across a variety of educational and behaviour support services, working with a broad range of populations, including children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In addition, students are supporting individuals within mental health services, residential and community living environments, and acquired brain injury rehabilitation services. The programme will prepare students for a career in clinical and educational settings, and will also provide students with a foundation for further postgraduate study (e.g., clinical or educational psychology) and research at PhD level. Students can subsequently apply for the Structured PhD in ABA.
Students are provided with expert support in their clinical placements for the duration of the course. Most students will complete different placements in their first and second years in order to broaden their experience across the period of their studies. There are a number of course-affiliated placements to choose from and some students may source their own placement. If so, they can avail of expert advice from programme staff to ensure they get optimum benefit from the placement.
Excellent track record
Our graduates have an excellent track record in the internationally-recognised Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) exam. In the 2016 sitting, 100% of NUI Galway graduates who sat the exam passed, placing us third in the 100+ institutions that were ranked. Find out more about BCBA exam pass rates.
Graduates from our MSc and PhD in ABA programmes have achieved great success in the academic and applied fields. See our Graduate Stories for more information.
We are very proud to offer a course-affiliated placement to all of our students and we provide expert support to students on placement for the duration of the course. Most students will complete different placements in their first and second years in order to broaden their experience across the period of their studies. There are a variety of course-affiliated placements to choose from. These include early intervention preschools for children with autism, working with Behaviour Support Teams in large organsiations for people with developmental disabilitites, Acquired Brain Injury services, services for children with complex medical and behavioural needs, working on specific projects for feeding, sleeping or communication difficulties and educational projects for marginalised students. Some students prefer to source their own placement and they can avail of expert advice from programme staff to ensure they get optimum benefit from the placement.
Who’s Suited to This Course
Related Student Organisations
Fees: Student levy
Fees: Non EU
*EU Fees are comprised of Tuition + Student Levy
Student Levy: €140 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI. Further detail here https://su.nuigalway.ie/