Behaviour analysts focus on understanding how a person’s interactions with the environment influence behaviour. They use this information to design effective interventions that will help people learn more appropriate behaviours, as well as reducing challenging behaviour.
Approved by the Behaviour Analysis Certification Board (BACB), the international regulatory body for the practice of behaviour analysis, the MSc Behaviour Analysis and Therapy equips students with skills in behaviour analysis and therapy relevant to a range of educational and clinical settings.
It provides a solid understanding of the scientific principles that underpin behaviour analysis, and the therapeutic techniques derived from those principles. You will be taught by a team of Board Certified Behaviour Analysts who are internationally-recognised for their research and clinical work in the field.
You will study the following modules:
- Principles of Behaviour Analysis (20 credits)
This module will teach students the basic underlying principles, processes and concepts of the science and technology of behaviour analysis, as well as elucidating the importance of and difference between the experimental analysis of behaviour and applied behaviour analysis.
- Research Methods in Behaviour Analysis (20 credits)
Students will learn various direct and indirect methods for collecting reliable behavioural data, as well as methods for evaluating the effects of independent variables through the use of single case designs.
- Behavioural Assessment (20 credits)
This module will teach students how to assess and analyse the variables that contribute to behaviour using a range of methods. Students also will learn rules and procedures to ensure assessments are in line with ethical guidelines.
- Behavioural Intervention (20 credits)
This module will teach students a range of strategies for facilitating the acquisition and maintenance of appropriate behaviour, as well as weakening undesirable behaviour. The module also will teach students how to implement interventions in accordance with ethical guidelines.
- Applications of Behaviour Analysis (20 credits)
This module will introduce students to the range of settings and issues to which behaviour analytic methods can be applied for the betterment of individuals and society. The module also will aim to assist students in developing appropriate and ethical consultation skills.
- Ethical and Professional Issues in Behaviour Analysis (20 credits)
This module will teach students the philosophical underpinnings of behaviour analysis, as well as exploring current issues and controversies surrounding the field of behaviour analysis.
- Dissertation (60 credits)
Completion of the MSc course includes an empirical dissertation addressing a substantive issue in behaviour analysis. Typically, students work together as part of a research team to complete the dissertation, although the dissertation you submit will be wholly your own, individual work. Each student will request a place on one of the programme team’s research groups, which will address specific research questions over the course of the year. Although your group may be working on more than one study, your dissertation will address only one research question. Students also may propose an independent research question for the dissertation. Such requests will be reviewed by the programme team to render a decision about the scientific merit of the question, as well as the feasibility of answering the question within the allotted time and with the available resources. If the question is deemed unsuitable, the student will be asked to revise it or to choose one of the questions proposed by the research team.
Students who successfully complete the course will meet the degree and module requirements for certification as a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA). Certification also requires supervised practice and a passing score on the international certification exam.
The MSc Behaviour Analysis and Therapy has been designed to reflect certification standards and covers a full range of topics in Behaviour Analysis. However, it is possible for students to complete our Postgraduate Diploma programme which allows students to complete supervised practice in addition to this MSc. Students may either choose to start this qualification after completion of the MSc or may begin work towards their supervised practice alongside their MSc studies.
The programme may be taken through full or part-time modes of study Full-time study requires completing 120 course credits and 60 dissertation credits within one year. Part-time study requires taking 120 course credits and 60 dissertation credits across two years. There is no provision for part-time study across more than two years.
You will be taught through face-to-face delivery in the form of lectures, seminars and practical workshops, although e-learning activities might be occasionally used to supplement class sessions. Students should expect to spend up to three hours outside of class preparing for every hour spent in class.
Additionally you will develop your research skills through the completion of a supervised dissertation component. The teaching delivery will be blocked into two days per week for full-time students.
The teaching team has well established links with schools, social care settings and healthcare providers, which provide ideal locations for dissertation research. You may also have opportunities to assist with ongoing research or clinical work in the field, as well as working in the University’s Psychology and Well-Being Clinic, which provides early intervention therapy to children with autism.
Professionals trained in behaviour analysis are in increasing demand in the UK, particularly those who are BACB-certified. Behaviour analysts are employed in a variety of contexts, including service providers for people with autism and/or learning disabilities, the NHS, schools, and residential treatment facilities for people with challenging behaviour. Some behaviour analysts also work as independent consultants in their areas of expertise.