Masters of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis

Overview

The School of Psychology launched the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) in September 2006. This is a taught programme that provides professional training in Applied Behaviour Analysis. This course is a Verifies Course Sequence (VCS) of the internationally-recognised Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB®). This certification allows graduates to work as practitioners in organisations or as independent contractors both nationally and internationally. The programme subscribes to the scientist-practitioner model, and provides students with thorough and integrated training in the academic, practical, and research aspects of Applied Behaviour Analysis.

The MSc degree program is designed to meet the growing need for practitioners who can work effectively within systems to improve the quality of services in the fields of intellectual and developmental disabilities, education, rehabilitation, and mental health. The principles and strategies of ABA can be used to alter a wide range of human behaviour and are often recommended as the best-practice approach for working with people with intellectual disabilities and/or pervasive developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder. Worldwide demand for competent behaviour analysts exceeds current supply; a similar shortage of appropriately trained professionals is evident in Ireland.

The MSc in ABA here at NUIG has an excellent reputation and is currently ranked third in the world for pass rates in the 2016 Behavior Analyst Certification Board exam, with 100% of our graduates who sat the exam last year passing. See here for further information.

 

Course Objectives

The programme offers a thorough training in a variety of behaviour change procedures, functional assessment technologies and skills teaching practices. Students will learn the theoretical foundations of behaviour analysis as well as a multitude of skills to prepare for work as competent practitioners. A strong emphasis is placed on the ability to work with, and provide treatment for, diverse and complex cases. Students will become proficient in the design of educational and rehabilitative programmes in an real-world environments. The course provides students with opportunities to gain experience working within schools and services that support individuals with differential diagnoses, thus facilitating the integration of the course’s practical and academic elements. The course offers approved placements which students can pursue.

Examples of skills taught:

  • Design individualised educational programmes from numerous behavioural curricula for individuals with complex learning difficulties
  • Conduct functional assessments and functional analysis to determine the maintaining variables of problem behaviour
  • Develop ethical and effective interventions and continually assess outcomes
  • Implement appropriate measurement systems in order to validate their individualised approach to each client
  • Use numerous measures to assess social skills and adaptive behaviour, co-occurring psychopathology, challenging behaviors, psychotropic medication side effects, feeding disorders, intellectual functioning and autism spectrum disorders.
  • A strong emphasis is placed on ABA research methodologies and the ability to critically evaluate research as it relates to behavioural interventions.
  • Students will learn the ethical and professional guidelines of Applied Behaviour Analysis

Programme Information

The MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis is a taught programme that provides professional training in ABA. The programme involves full-time study for two calendar years. This is a Verified Course Sequence that forms part of the requirements for the accreditation as a Board Certified Analyst, allowing graduates to work as practitioners in organisations or as independent contractors both nationally and internationally.

The MSc will prepare graduates for careers in clinical and educational settings as applied behaviour analysts, and will also provide an excellent foundation for further postgraduate study (e.g., clinical and educational psychology) and postgraduate research (e.g., PhD).

The MSc in ABA aims to provide students a variety of placements in order to provide them with a breath of experiences across the programme. We currently have a diverse range of clinical experiences across the life span. These range from Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI), preschool services, special schools, Adult intellectual disability services, and Acquired Brain Injury services. 

Programme Duration

The MSc involves full-time study for two-years. Lectures are scheduled one day per week with additional clinical supervision sessions provided on designated days. Students are encouraged to seek employment or placement in a clinical/educational setting to facilitate the integration of the practical and academic elements of the course. The course offers approved placements which students can pursue to obtain experience and supervision. Placement is not compulsory and an alternative assessment can be selected.

Programme Content

Year One

Module

Semester

ECTS

Principles in Applied Behaviour Analysis

1

10

Behaviour, Assessment and Intervention

1

10

Ethics, Professional Conduct and Clinical Practice 1

1 & 2

10

Behaviour Change Procedures

2

10

Research Methods and Design

2

10

Applied Project 1

2

10

Students who successfully complete Year 1 will be permitted to progress to Year 2 of the programme.

Year Two

Module

Semester

ECTS

Advanced Research Methods and Design

1

10

Advanced Behaviour Systems

1

10

Applied Project 2

1

10

Ethics, Professional Conduct and Clinical Practice 2

1 & 2

10

Clinical Behavioural Interventions

2

10

Developmental Disorders

2

10

Research Thesis

1 & 2

30

 

BCBA Certification

This is a Verified Course Sequence (VCS), indicating that it is recognised by the Behaviour Anlyst Certification Board as providing the required teaching hours to allow our students to apply for certification as a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) on completion of their Masters Programme. Students who wish to apply for this exam are required to complete field work in an applied setting and receive on-going supervision of this field work in tandem with their M.Sc. course work. In order to facilitate this, students are encouraged to obtain a placement in a setting that will supplement their fieldwork and supervision requirements. Students are required to maintain a log book of all fieldwork and supervision that is reviewed annually by course staff.

 Frequently Asked Questions

What are the career opportunities on completion of the course?

Past students have been employed nationally and internationally across a variety of education and behaviour support services for 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 you for a career in clinical and educational settings, and will also provide you with a foundation for further postgraduate study (e.g., Clinical or Educational psychology) and research at PhD level. 

How do I apply?

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). 

Is Placement compulsory?

Placement is not compulsory and an alternative assessment can be selected. However, we strongly encourage students to take up a placement to broaden their experience while on the programme.

Former Students

Elaine Mellotte BCBA

Elaine Mellotte

  • Graduated in 2008
  • Worked with Western Care Behaviour Support Service
  • Disability Service Commission in Melbourne, Australia
  • In-home support for complex cases
  • Private EIBI centre for children with ASD
  • Started as case manager
  • Promoted to Clinical Programme Manager, supervising 7 BCBAs
  • Current Position: Behaviour Analyst at Central Remedial Clinic in Dublin  

Caroline Leonard BCBA

Caroline Leonard

  • Graduated in 2014
  • Worked as an ABA tutor privately and in  ABA pre-schools
  • Worked as a behaviour therapist in The Carbone Clinic in Dubai
  • Returned to Ireland and began supervising home programmes
  • Now working as Director of Education in an ABA school for children with autism

Rachel Mason BCBA

Rachel Mason

  • Graduated in 2009
  • ABA tutor for children with autism in an ABA school
  • Moved to a large service provider to take up a supervisor role
  • Treehouse ABA school in London
  • Started as Supervisor
  • Prompted to Consultant, then Senior Consultant
  • Moved back to Wexford to set up Believe Achieve Consultancy Services
  • Works as a moderator for Queen’s University online programmes