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Applied Behaviour Analysis
Applied Behaviour Analysis is a specialised programme on offer to postgraduate students.
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to understanding and changing human behaviour and has applications with a wide variety of client groups including those with intellectual and other disabilities, autism spectrum, childhood onset behavioural disorders, and people in brain injury rehabilitation and dementia care.
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) administers the international professional certification process for behaviour analysts. Graduates of our three-year programme are eligible to take the BACB examination for Board Certified Behavior Analysts. Successful completion of the programme will also make a graduate eligible to apply to the New Zealand Psychologists Board to be a registered psychologist.
This specialisation satisfies the regulations for a number of degrees and diplomas and requires a student to enrol in a different degree each year. Thus students can undertake one, two or three years of full time (or equivalent part-time) study and earn a new qualification each year. In addition this structure offers the flexibility to accommodate students who have already completed other postgraduate degrees.
For fuller details about the ABA Programme please see:
Postgraduate Diploma in Science or Arts (PGDipSci/PGDipArts).
Successful graduates of Year 1 will have earned a Postgraduate Diploma and be eligible to apply for a place in Year 2 of the programme.
Master of Science (MSc) or Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology.
Students passing the thesis will be eligible to apply for a place in Year 3 of the programme, or can apply for enrolment in the School of Psychology‘s PhD programme if they do not wish to complete the requirements for the Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) and registered psychologist eligibility.
Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology (PGDipAppPsych).
This includes a practicum that will involve 1,500 hours over 12 months of supervised practical work in settings where applied behaviour analysis is valued. The actual settings in which students work will be negotiated with each student individually, but all students will conduct practical work for at least 32 hours per week. Usually students work with both children and adults who need behaviour analytic services.
Graduates of Year 3 will have satisfied the degree, coursework and experiential requirements to sit the examination for the BCBA credential. They will also be eligible to apply for enrolment in the School of Psychology’s PhD programme if they wish to pursue further research and qualifications. Finally, they are eligible to apply to the New Zealand Psychologists Board for registration under the general scope of practice.
Enrolment in individual courses towards a Certificate of Proficiency is available for students who already have postgraduate qualifications, have passed some behaviour-analytic courses, but require further coursework for BCBA eligibility.
Similarly, a set of undergraduate courses in Psychology can be recommended for students who wish to enrol in the Year 1 courses who have a Bachelor’s degree but no major in Psychology. These courses are known as bridging courses, and a student enrolling in these courses will enrol in a Transitional Certificate.
Students interested in either the Certificate of Proficiency or the Transitional Certificate should approach academic staff teaching the ABA courses and/or the school’s Postgraduate Advisor for advice prior to applying formally.
Applications can be made from September until the deadlines for entry into the next academic year. Forms are available online or from the school's receptions at both the City and Tāmaki Campus. Completed forms should be lodged with the school before 1 December for Year 1 applicants or by 1 November for Year 3 applications in the preceding year. Programme staff will notify applicants of their decision by early January.
Programme staff will consider an applicant’s academic record, work experience, career aspirations, intended programme of study and personal qualities when selecting students for “reserved” places in compulsory ABA courses and Year 3 courses. Preference will be given to those signalling a commitment to seeking BACB certification and obtaining employment as a Behaviour Analyst in New Zealand. The school’s affirmative action policy for Māori and Pacific Island students will also be applied.
The selection of students for the master’s thesis in Year 2 by individual staff members is less formal than Years 1 and 3. The factors that are usually considered by staff include the similarity between his or her and the student’s research interests, how academically prepared a student is for that research and resources available in the school or via the student for the proposed research. It is important to note, however, that the school applies further selection criteria. The University of Auckland requires a minimum GPA of B- for entry to master’s study.
Find the application forms for Applied Behaviour Analysis on Application forms.
Recent research from students and staff of the ABA Programme
Examples from a scientist practioner framework
National Residential Intellectual Disability (NRID) Service Providers conference, Auckland: February 2008
ABA International Conference, Sydney, Australia: August 2007
- ABA Programme Staff Statement on Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention Services
- Behavior Analyst Certification Board
- New Zealand Psychologists Board
- Association for Behavior Analysis International
- New Zealand Association for Behaviour Analysis
- Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis
- Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis on-line issues
Further details on this programme are available by contacting:
Dr Oliver Mudford
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 82319
General enquiries about postgraduate studies in Psychology and enrolment should be directed to the school’s Postgraduate Advisor:
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 88554
Graduates of universities overseas and/or those without New Zealand citizenship or permanent resident status should also correspond with the International Office:
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 87556
Centres and programmes