Brittany Chan - Applied Behaviour Analysis MSc
Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability) - PCert, PDip, MSc
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Our Applied Behaviour Analysis Master’s aims to develop your critical understanding of concepts and principles of applied behaviour analysis. You’ll gain a detailed knowledge of intellectual and developmental disabilities and experience of practice or conducting research in this field.
As a recent graduate or experienced practitioner, this postgraduate qualification opens up a range of career opportunities. It also provides the necessary coursework for you to apply to sit the international examination and become a certified behaviour analyst.
Reasons to study Applied Behaviour Analysis at Kent
- Study alongside some of the UK’s leading academics working in autism, learning disability and community care.
- You will study the coursework required to apply to sit the international examination for certification as a behaviour analyst.
- We offer a range of funding opportunities to fund your studies.
- As a student or graduate, you can join the Tizard Practitioners’ Network of experts in the field.
- Receive academic and professional support from leading applied behaviour analysts and intellectual and developmental disability researchers.
- Benefit from our excellent links with health and social care organisations, and other relevant establishments.
What you’ll learn
Our course is designed to support the development of practitioners who can work effectively, including using an applied behaviour analytic approach, both with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (including people with autism) and with organisations that provide or arrange support for individuals. It may be taken either by practice or research routes.
Please note, the PCert cannot be studied on a part-time basis but the PDip and MSc can be studied either full-time or part-time.
Please note the BACB will not be administering certification exams in the UK from 2025. Please visit this page for more information about this from the UK Society for Behaviour Analysis.
ABAI Verified Course Sequence for Fifth Edition Task List
The Association for Behaviour Analysis International has verified the following courses towards the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® or Board Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.
The latest VCS pass rates are available here. Pass rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation., meaning that the latest pass rates for the course currently relate to the 4th edition task list.
A first or second class honours degree in a social science discipline; voluntary, professional or family experience of children or adults with a learning disability and/or autism.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
English language entry requirements
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
In the news
Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time
The course is taught in workshop weeks across the year, and each workshop week is either 4 or 5 days long (09:30-16:30hrs). Workshop weeks are held roughly twice per month for full time students (with students expected to work on assignments and their dissertations outside of these weeks) and once per month for first year part-time students.
There are fewer workshop weeks for second year part-time students but outside of these weeks students are expected to be working on their assignments and their dissertation or work based learning project. There may also be additional single sessions outside of workshop weeks. An indicative timetable can be provided on request.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
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
Verbal behaviour and private events
Derived stimulus relations
Behaviour analysis of intellectual and developmental disability.
The curriculum will include, at an advanced level:
• Behavioural intervention for challenging behaviour
• Assessment and analysis of systemic factors in relation to behaviour described as challenging and the use of setting-wide positive
• Specific intervention areas in autism and IDD (e.g. language, sleep issues, feeding problems, toilet training, social skills, and vocational
• Models of consulting to family and service settings
• Staff training methodologies
• Organisational behaviour analysis and management in a human service context
The aim of this module is to develop advanced understanding of the design and implementation of positive strategies to improve the behavioural and psychological functioning of vulnerable populations, and their support by carers and others.
Topics will include:
Approaches to increasing the frequency of behaviour
Approaches to developing new behaviour
Using assessment information to inform intervention planning
Design of behaviour support plans, instructional strategies and appropriately prosthetic environmental arrangements
Precision teaching, direct instruction and group contingencies
Barriers to implementation
Generalisation and maintenance
The aim of this module is to develop competencies in the assessment of both adaptive and challenging behaviour in the repertoires of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Teaching on assessment starts from an appreciation of the importance of social validity and referral dynamics. Specific assessment strategies relating to challenging behaviour (including structured descriptive assessment and experimental functional analysis) are considered. The application of similar strategies are also considered with respect to adaptive behaviour and associated instructional technologies. Further, the curriculum includes methods of preference assessment to determine appropriate reinforcers. In all topics there is attention both to the development of practical understanding and skill and to the development of a critical appreciation of the underpinning evidence base. Following consideration of these assessment strategies, attention is given to the development of formulations of the behaviour of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities that can inform the development of behaviour support plans, instructional strategies and appropriately prosthetic environmental arrangements.
The curriculum will include, at an advanced level:
• Ethical and legal issues
• Philosophical underpinnings of ethical practice
• The role of ideology in the development of intellectual disability services
• The development of approaches to individual planning and needs assessment, particularly the role of "person-centred planning"
• Ethical codes and guidelines – does Behaviour Analysis raise special ethical issues?
• Codes of professional practice
• Discrimination and abuse
• Adopting person-centred, values-based approaches to children and adults with complex needs.
• Evidence based practice and practice based evidence
The aim of this module is to develop an advanced understanding of elements and characteristics of the concepts and principles underpinning applied behaviour analysis (ABA). The module will start from an appreciation of the roots of ABA in the experimental analysis of behaviour. Operant and respondent conditioning will be considered, starting from fundamentals but proceeding to an advanced understanding of the necessary concepts and their underpinning in research. Particular attention will be given to elucidating both the conceptual basis and the applied implications of reinforcement, extinction and punishment, avoidance and escape, stimulus control and generalization, establishing operations and setting events. The interpretation of complex behaviour will be considered both with respect to the integrated application of fundamental concepts and the conceptual extensions and developments required.
The aim of this module is to develop competencies in the definition, observation, recording and analysis of behaviour and its controlling variables. While the module provides an introduction to research methodology more generally, the focus is primarily on those data collection methods and experimental designs used in applied behaviour analysis. Topics will include:
Observational methods of data collection
Reliability and validity of observational data
Practical approaches to checking and calculating reliability
Visual representation of data
Internal and external validity
Practical and theoretical aspects of using reversal, multiple-baseline, alternating treatments and changing criterion designs
Visual and statistical interpretation of single case data
Comparative, component and parametric analyses.
Learning and teaching will focus on consolidating the knowledge and skills developed through taught modules, and supporting application of learning to applied behaviour analytic practice in the workplace or comparable environment. Students will receive supervision to undertake assessment and intervention with individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. In the course of group and/or individual supervision sessions they will be expected to apply knowledge from taught modules to the specific individuals or circumstances with which they are working. They will be directed to academic and professional literature of specific relevance to their individual work and they will be encouraged to behave professionally and ethically both in their practice and in their interactions with other developing professionals in supervision sessions.
During the first term of the course students will develop ideas for their dissertation and will be given the opportunity to choose an empirical or non-empirical research project proposed and supervised by members of the course team or other Tizard staff. Subject to staff agreement, students may choose to design their own project and will be allocated a project supervisor. Students may complete either an empirical or a non-empirical (e.g. policy or research review) project. Students are expected to complete a dissertation on a topic relevant to their degree title.
Students develop a proposal for their dissertation with advice from their supervisor and, where applicable, apply for ethical approval either to the Tizard Ethics Committee (Ethical Review Checklist available on web-based resources) or to another ethics committee such as those in the NHS.
Teaching and assessment
Modules are assessed by examination, essay, practical assignment, video. Dissertation of 10,000 words or, for work-based learning option, 7,000-word case report and video.
This programme aims to:
- develop a critical understanding of the concepts and principles of applied behaviour analysis
- encourage values- and evidence-based, ethically stringent practice or research in applied behaviour analysis
- provide you with detailed knowledge of intellectual and developmental disabilities and experience of practice or conducting research in this field
- produce graduates equipped to play a leading role in public services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Knowledge and understanding
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
- concepts and principles of applied behaviour analysis
- values and ethical principles underpinning professional practice
- methods of observing, recording and analysing behaviour
- methods of assessing and intervening to manage challenging behaviour and support adaptive behaviour
- cognitive, communicative and social characteristics of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
- biological, social and environmental causes of intellectual and developmental disability
- challenging behaviour and other special needs
- ideology, policy and service development
- definition and measurement of service quality
- the relationships between service organisation and quality
- research methodology and basic statistical analysis.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- the ability to review and critically discuss of literature at the forefront of the discipline
- the ability to interpret data in the light of theoretical and methodological considerations
- the ability to present critical, balanced and conceptually-informed arguments
- the ability to conceive, design, analyse and interpret primary or secondary research investigations (where following the research route)
- the ability to design interventions informed by assessment and theoretical understanding (where following the practice route).
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- how to conduct primary or secondary research on an applied behaviour analytic topic relevant to intellectual/developmental disability (where following the research route)
- how to design interventions for people with intellectual/developmental disability (and their carers/families) that are applied, behavioural, analytic, technological, conceptually systematic, effective and generalisable (where following the practice route).
You will gain the following transferable skills:
- communication: the ability to organise information clearly, respond to written sources, present information verbally
- numeracy: the ability to make sense of statistical materials, integrate quantitative and qualitative information
- information technology: the ability to produce written documents, undertake online research
- working with others: work co-operatively on group tasks, understand how groups function.
- improve your own learning: the ability to explore your strengths and weaknesses, time management, review your working environment
- problem-solving: the ability to identify and define complex problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.
The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:
Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability) - PCert at Canterbury
- Home full-time £3200
- EU full-time TBC
- International full-time £6000
- Home part-time N/A
- EU part-time TBC
- International part-time N/A
Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability) - MSc at Canterbury
- Home full-time £9500
- EU full-time £13500
- International full-time £18000
- Home part-time £4750
- EU part-time N/A
- International part-time N/A
Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability) - PDip at Canterbury
- Home full-time £6400
- EU full-time £9000
- International full-time £12000
- Home part-time £3200
- EU part-time N/A
- International part-time N/A
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact email@example.com.
Your fee status
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:
- University and external funds
- Scholarships specific to the academic school delivering this programme.
We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.Search scholarships
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, 100% of our Social work and social policy research was classified as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ for impact and environment.
Following the REF 2021, Social work and social policy at Kent was ranked 3rd for research in the UK in the Times Higher Education.
Current research areas include: social inequalities and community care; intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Our postgraduate courses improve employability prospects for both those with established careers and new entrants to the field. Many of our students already work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in professional, management or supporting capacities. Our programmes support their continuing professional development and enhance their opportunities for career advancement. Other students, who are at the beginning of their careers, move on to a range of professional roles in health and social care including working as psychologists in learning disability or behavioural specialists in community learning disability teams; service management of development roles; clinical psychology training or a PhD.
Our Applied Behaviour Analysis programme includes a course sequence approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Its completion, therefore, meets two of the requirements for certification as a Behaviour Analyst. Successful students will need to obtain appropriate supervised experience and pass the BACB exam. Many of our ABA students hope to take this career path, applying their skills either in work with children or adults with autism (ie early intervention programmes or in schools using an ABA approach) or with children/adults with learning disabilities whose behaviour is described as challenging. Every week we are asked to notify our students of opportunities in these fields. Our ABA programme is also suitable for parents of children/adults with autism or learning disability, who are looking to increase their own understanding of ABA.
All teaching takes place at the Tizard Centre. Postgraduate research students have a shared office space with a computer and telephone.
Acclaimed active department
The Tizard Centre runs an annual seminar series where staff or guest lecturers present the results of research or highlight recent developments in the field of social care. The Jim Mansell Memorial Lecture invites public figures or distinguished academics to discuss topics that could interest a wider audience. The Centre also publishes the Tizard Learning Disability Review (in conjunction with Emerald Publishing) to provide a source of up-to-date information for professionals and carers.
The Tizard Centre provides consultancy to organisations in the statutory and independent sectors, both nationally and internationally, in diversified areas such as service assessment, person-centred approaches, active support and adult protection. The Centre also teaches a range of short courses, often in conjunction with other organisations.
The Tizard Centre also hosts two journal clubs, relating to behaviour analysis and to autism. Journal club events are held regularly where speakers are invited to discuss key research papers or topics in the field.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Journal of Mental Health; Journal of Applied Research and Intellectual Disabilities; American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; and Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.
Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.
Apply for entry to:
- Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability) - MSc - full-time at Canterbury
- Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability) - MSc - part-time at Canterbury
- Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability) - PDip - full-time at Canterbury
United Kingdom/EU enquiries
PCert at Canterbury
MSc at Canterbury
PDip at Canterbury
T: +44 (0)1227 768896
International student enquiries
T: +44 (0)1227 823254