Concepts, Principles & Underpinning Philosophy of Applied Behaviour Analysis - TZRD9000

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 7 20 (10) checkmark-circle


The aim of this module is to develop an advanced understanding of elements of the philosophy, concepts and principles underpinning applied behaviour analysis.
Indicative topics include:
Philosophical assumptions including selectionism, determinism, empiricism, parsimony and pragmatism
Rule-governed and contingency-shaped behaviour
Radical behaviourism
Verbal behaviour and private events
Derived stimulus relations
Behaviour analysis of intellectual and developmental disability.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 45
Private study hours: 155
Total module study hours: 200


MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis
MSc in Positive Behaviour Support
PG Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis
PG Certificate in Applied Behaviour Analysis

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework- Essay (2750 words) - 50%
Coursework - Case study (1,000 words) – 25%
Coursework – timed quiz (1 hour) – 25%

Reassessment methods


Indicative reading

Chiesa, M. (1994) Radical Behaviourism: The Philosophy and the Science. Authors Cooperative.
Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E., Heward, W.L. (2007, 2nd Ed.) Applied Behaviour Analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Pearson/Merrill-Prentice Hall.
Johnson, J.M (2013) Radical Behaviorism for ABA Practitioners. Sloan Educational Publishing.
Schneider, S.M. (2012) The Science of Consequences. Prometheus Books, New York.
Skinner, B.F. (1953) Science and Human Behaviour. New York, Macmillan,
Skinner, B. F. (1971). Beyond Freedom and Dignity. London, Cape.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Display advanced understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of behaviour analysis
8.2 Display advanced understanding of the perspective of radical behaviourism and distinguish between behaviourism, the experimental
analysis of behaviour, applied behaviour analysis, and professional practice guided by the science of behaviour analysis
8.3 Display advanced understanding of rule-governed and contingency-shaped behaviour
8.4 Critically outline behaviour analytic accounts of verbal behaviour, derived stimulus relations and private events
8.5 Critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of applied behaviour analysis as an approach to understanding human behaviour and,
specifically, the behaviour of children/adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Effectively integrate complex knowledge from different sources, including published work and personal experience.
9.2 Demonstrate the ability to understand, and communicate in writing, complex, abstract concepts.
9.3 Show a capacity to effectively prioritise the demands of work and study.
9.4 Use information technology to a high level (word processing, email, Moodle, e-journals and other online resources).


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.