POSTGRADUATE QUALIFICATIONS IN
Master of Applied Psychology
Postgraduate Diploma in the Practice of Psychology (Applied Behaviour Analysis)
Doctorate in Philosophy
Behaviour Analysis is a scientific approach to understanding why people and animals do
what they do. Studying Behaviour Analysis will teach you how both animal and human
behaviour is affected by events in the social and physical environment and what you can
do to help produce behaviour change to help improve lives. Knowledge of this science of
behaviour and its behaviour-change technology will assist you in a variety of careers.
As a field, Behaviour Analysis consists of concepts, principles and techniques. As a
student of Behaviour Analysis, you will learn the basic skills by which behaviour can be
understood and changed. These skills include techniques to define and measure
behaviour, create behaviour change programs and evaluate their effectiveness. Many of
these techniques and strategies are taught in the courses that combine theoretical and
practical learning to produce marketable skills.
The application of behaviour-analytic principles to helping with socially important
behaviours is known as Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). ABA is used in many
settings and with a wide range of problems. It is one the treatments of choice for many
challenging behaviour problems.
Careers in Behaviour Analysis
Some students study Behaviour Analysis in order to work with animals, as they are
interested in researching animal behaviour or dealing with animal welfare issues and
animal problem behaviours. Others study it to apply their knowledge and skills to human
problems, and to work using ABA or to undertake research in this area. Some wish to
combine both of these.
For whatever reason you are considering taking courses in this area the behavioural
programmes and courses will provide you with the knowledge which you can use to
understand, study and work practically with behaviour. An understanding of how and
why behaviour occurs and how it can be changed for the better is of fundamental value to
almost all professions.
Depending on your specialty, you may work in a range of settings (including research
institutions, private practice, education, universities, health services, business and
industry, governmental agencies and zoos), and with a range of populations (including
pets, agricultural species, individuals with special needs, teachers, families, and any
others seeking positive behaviour change (including entire companies that have
difficulties with employee performance)).
Students specialising in Applied Behaviour Analysis frequently work in the community
or in educational settings with individuals with a range of problems including Autistic
Spectrum Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
However, it doesn’t matter what type of psychology you choose to practice, or whether you
end up in a field orientated to people or animals. What is important is that you gain an
understanding of how and why organisms behave (i.e., what maintains and/or influences
behaviour (whether it be private or public)).
Additional Practical Experience in ABA
Many students intending careers involving Applied Behaviour Analysis (for example, those
intending to work with children or with people with an intellectual disability) gain practical
experience alongside their undergraduate and graduate studies. This can be voluntary work
with organisations such as Autism New Zealand or Patricia Ave Special School. In
addition, parents are frequently looking to employ students specialising in this area to work
with their children implementing programmes for them.
Students wanting to study Behaviour Analysis at the University of Waikato should
complete a BSc or BSocSc with a major in Psychology and should include the following
papers: PSYC103 General and Experimental Psychology, PSYC225 Behavioural
Psychology and Learning and PSYC314 Behaviour Analysis.
Depending on their area of interest, they should consider including papers such as
PSYC337 Psychological Measurement and PSYC338 Abnormal Psychology. They
should also consider including papers from Education or Biology in their degree.
A double major of Psychology and Education should be considered by students wishing
to work in special education or in other educational settings.
A double major of Psychology and Biology should be considered by students wishing to
work in animal behaviour and/or animal welfare.
Graduate and Postgraduate Qualifications in Behaviour Analysis
Graduate papers in behaviour analysis can be taken separately or as part of a specialist
qualification (see the Department of Psychology Graduate handbook,
Students wishing to include only some behaviour analysis papers may take them as part
of either the Bachelors of Social Sciences with Honours, BSocSc(Hons),
(http://calendar.waikato.ac.nz/regulations/graduate/bsocschons.html), or a Masters in
Social Sciences, MSocSc,
(http://calendar.waikato.ac.nz/regulations/graduate/msocsc.html), both one year
There are, however, two specialist qualifications in Behaviour Analysis:
Masters of Applied Psychology in Behaviour Analysis, MAppPsy(BA), a two
year post-bachelors qualification, (see
Postgraduate Diploma in the Practise of Psychology in Applied Behaviour
Analysis, PGDipPracPsych(ABA), a one year post-masters qualification
Doctoral Programme. The University of Waikato also offers a research-only doctoral
programme leading to a Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) degree. Students with the
appropriate level of honours in their Masters degree may enrol in this degree and
undertake a behavioural research topic
Further information on these programmes is given next.
Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)
The Master of Applied Psychology (Behaviour Analysis) at the University of Waikato
provides students with:
• a sound understanding of the underlying concepts and principles associated with
Behaviour Analysis, and of the applications of these concepts and principles.
• a knowledge of the research skills required for Behaviour Analysis, including the
ability to read, interpret and appraise published behavioural research critically, and
the ability to conduct fundamental and, where appropriate, applied research in
• an understanding of functional analyses of problem behaviour and of how to develop
an appropriate programme for behaviour change in their area of specialty.
• analytic and library research skills, and skills in presenting proposals and reports in
both written and oral format.
The papers are designed to provide some of the course work required to prepare participants
for the United States-based National Certification in Behavior Analysis examination
sponsored by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® (BACB®).
MAppPsy Degree Requirements
The MAppPsy in Behaviour Analysis is a two year (full time) degree. Candidates must pass
the equivalent of 240 points. 120 of the required points are taken in the first year from the
core papers in Behaviour Analysis, a directed study and from elective papers outlined
below. The remaining points are completed in the second year and will typically come from
a 120 point thesis. However, if it is decided that the student requires further academic
background, they may be required to complete a 90- or 60-point dissertation and the
remaining 30 or 60 points from the Year 1 papers. Papers should be selected in consultation
with the Behaviour Analysis Programme Staff.
MAppPsy Core Papers
All candidates must take the following core behavioural papers together with either
PSYC590 Directed Study (30 pt) or PSYC589 Directed Study (15 pt) in a relevant area
(total 75 – 90 points):
PSYC538 (15 pt) Applications of Behaviour Analysis
The aim of this paper is to examine and critique recent applications of the methods and
theories of behaviour analysis in a range of settings to both prevent and change problems.
Students should gain the knowledge and background to be able to design, monitor, and
evaluate behavioural plans in applied settings within the guidelines specified by the
Behavior Analyst Certification Board (based in the United States).
PSYC560 (15 pt) Applied Behaviour Analysis: Theory and Issues
This paper considers the conceptual theory behind, and the issues raised by, the
implementation of behavioural programmes across a wide range of applied areas, such as
clinical, educational, and intellectual disability. The design and implementation of such
programmes in practice is considered, and topics currently under debate are included.
PSYC561 (15 pt) Behaviour Analysis Research and Theory
This paper provides an in-depth coverage of theory and research in several selected areas
relevant to the understanding of behaviour. The aim of this paper is to provide students
with a) an understanding of the theoretical/conceptual principles underlining the research,
b) the ability to examine and critique research in the area and c) an understanding of how
theories, techniques and research in the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour are relevant
to the understanding of behaviour and behaviour change.
PSYC577 (15 pt) Recent Research in Behaviour Analysis
This paper covers a range of topics in the applications of laboratory-derived principles to the
understanding of, and attempts to change, human behaviour. Students will be brought up to
date with the recent research in these areas and will learn to read, understand and critically
evaluate the literature which attempts to apply the laboratory findings to human behaviour
MAppPsy Elective Papers
Candidates will select their remaining 30 - 45 points, in discussion with the Programme
PSYC540 (15 pt) Behavioural and Perceptual Development
PSYC559 (15 pt) Animal Behaviour and Welfare
PSYC564 (15 pt) Child Psychopathology
PSYC575 (15 pt) Psychological applications & the Treaty of Waitangi
PSYC581 (15 pt) Psychological Assessment
Other psychology graduate papers relevant to the student’s specialty may be included with
approval from the Programme staff.
Students with biology in their undergraduate degree, in addition to their psychology major,
and with an interest in applications of Behaviour Analysis to animal behaviour may consider
BIOL533 (30 pt) Advanced Animal Behaviour
Students with education in their undergraduate degree, in addition to their psychology
major, may include an appropriate education 500-level paper.
MAppPsy Thesis (or Dissertation)
Year 2 of the Programme normally comprises 120 points from:
PSYC594 Thesis (120 pt)
or, if the student requires further academic background, they may be required to take:
PSYC 592 Dissertation (60 pt) and 60 points from Year 1 papers
PSYC593 Dissertation (90 pt) and 30 points from Year 1 papers
Theses and dissertations must be on an approved behavioural topic. Papers should also be
selected in consultation with the Behaviour Analysis Programme Staff.
MAppPsy Degree Structure
Core Papers (75 – 90pts)
Directed Study Papers
PSYC538 PSYC560 PSYC561 PSYC577 PSYC590 (30pts) (Remaining
(15pts) (15pts) (15pts) (15pts) or 30-45pts)
Thesis (120 pts) on a behavioural topic
Dissertation (90 pts) on an behavioural topic Elective or Core
Dissertation (60 pts) on an behavioural Elective or Core Papers (60 pts)
MAppPsy Entry Requirements
Applications will be considered for students with all of the following:
• a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Psychology,
• an average grade of at least B+ in Psychology undergraduate papers,
• a pass in PSYC307 Research Methods (or an equivalent paper), and
• a pass in PSYC314 Behaviour Analysis (or equivalent paper).
Some of the elective papers have pre-requisite requirements over and above those required
for the core papers and entry into the programme. When possible, students should check
these when selecting their third year undergraduate papers. Which papers are required will
depend on the area the student wishes to specialise in. Programme staff are available for
consultation on this. It is possible to complete some of the prerequisites papers concurrently
with MAppPsy programme.
Students who have already completed a Bachelor’s with Honours degree, majoring in
Psychology, who have completed the core 500-level papers for the programme and who
have achieved at least a B+ average over their honours papers may be accepted for
enrolment in the MAppPsy (Year 2 of the programme) for one year of study to undertake an
appropriate thesis. Depending on the content of their Honours degree papers, such students
may be required to take specific papers alongside their thesis.
Applying for entry to the MAppPsy
Applications for this programme should contain the applicant’s full name and contact
details. Students who are not graduates of Waikato should also include their academic
record. Details of the each student’s course of study must be approved by the programme
staff once the student has been accepted into the programme.
Applications can be made electronically (through e-mail: Psychology@waikato.ac.nz) or
by letter or using an application form (available from the Department) sent to:
Department of Psychology, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, NZ.
Postgraduate Diploma in the Practice of Psychology
(Applied Behaviour Analysis)
The goals of the PGDipPracPsych(ABA) are to provide Masters and Doctorate
graduates in Behaviour Analysis with:
1. a quality learning experience for making the transition from academic
knowledge to professional practice;
2. a means of achieving a postgraduate qualification recognized in both New
Zealand and Australia; and
3. a pathway for registration as a psychologist under the Health Practitioners
Competency Assurance Act.
Graduates of the PGDipPracPsych(ABA) will have developed practical skills in
applying behavioural principles to a range of behaviour problems in their area of
specialty, including experience with functional analyses of problem behaviour, with
developing and applying appropriate programmes for behaviour change, with the design
of techniques for assessment and data collection, with implementing behaviour change
programmes and adjusting them in the light of any problems that arise, and of
addressing ethical issues while abiding by the guidelines for responsible conduct of
Candidates for this qualification must enrol and follow an approved programme of
study in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences for at least one year of full time study,
or not more than three years of part-time study.
The PGDipPracPsych(ABA) is a one-year full-time or two-year part-time diploma worth
120 points. The programme includes three papers that are taken simultaneously to
complete the diploma. The three papers are integrated with the practical work and the
content is covered during the regular meetings but there are occasional extra meetings if
required to assure all students cover all of the material. Undertaking these papers requires
regular attendance at supervision meetings, the completion of six project reports in the
practice of Applied Behaviour Analysis, regular maintenance of a professional practice
log, and the submission of a work folio. There is a final examination.
PSYC720C The Practice of Psychology (ABA) (60 pts)
The purpose of this paper is to develop students’ skills in the practice applied behaviour
analysis through supervision of their day-to-day practice of psychology throughout the
period of enrolment. This paper complements PSYC721C (Case Study Analysis in
Applied Psychology) with its focus on day-to-day practice issues, rather than the
completion of major projects/case reports. The paper will help develop skills in applying
psychological knowledge to practical concerns in the field of applied behaviour analysis
and help the development of a scientist-practitioner approach to solving applied
PSYC721C Case Study Analysis in Applied Psychology (ABA) (40 pts)
The purpose of this paper is to develop students’ skills in the practice of applied
behaviour analysis through the supervised completion of projects/cases and related
reports within the student’s specialized programme of study. The primary objective for
this paper is for students to learn to apply psychological knowledge and skills to practice,
i.e., recognizing how psychological theory and research can be applied to particular needs
faced in practice, developing evidence-based interventions, and evaluating the
effectiveness of psychological interventions. The case/project work should form part of
the student’s practice so that the students develop their skills as scientist-practitioners.
The projects and cases will cover a range of different skills, and will normally include at
least two demonstrations of effective ABA programme application (including functional
analysis, programme design, and implementation), the development of and evaluation of
a course, workshop or resource package that aims to teach others some aspect of ABA,
and may also include appropriate interventions at the systems level.
PSYC722C Professional Issues in Psychology (ABA) (20 pts)
This paper provides the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in the professional
practice of psychology. The paper helps develop an in-depth understanding of ethical
principles and other professional issues in the practice of psychology, especially issues
relating to the student’s field of specialisation.
PGDipPracPsych(ABA) Entry Requirements
Students must, in addition to fulfilling the requirements set out in the appropriate
regulations, meet the Departmental requirements for entry into the programme. Entry
• a Masters or Doctoral degree specialising in Behaviour Analysis,
• ongoing, full-time employment (either paid or unpaid) in an organisation which
provides the opportunity to practice in Applied Behaviour Analysis (at least half-
time employment is required for part-time enrolment), and
• the availability of a suitable academic supervisor.
Entry is subject to the approval of the Chairperson of Psychology. In cases where a
candidate has not completed a named degree in Behaviour Analysis, the Chairperson of
Psychology will assess whether sufficient graduate-level papers and a thesis/dissertation
in the specialisation have been taken. Whether the employment requirement is met will
be determined by the Psychology Department from the candidate’s job description, and a
signed letter of agreement from the candidate’s manager.
Applying for entry to the PGDipPracPsych(ABA)
Before applying formally for entry into this programme please contact Assoc. Prof. Mary
Foster to discuss the suitability of your employment and the availability of appropriate
Applications for entry into should include details of employment to confirm the
employment is appropriate for this programme. Students who have not graduated through
the University of Waikato should include a detailed academic record and the names of
Applications should be made to Prof. Mary Foster either by email
(email@example.com) or by mail to:
Assoc. Prof. Mary Foster,
The Convenor PGDipPracPsych(ABA) Programme,
Department of Psychology,
University of Waikato,
Private Bag 3105,
Ph. (+64) (7) 856 2889 ext. 8400
Doctorate in Philosophy Programme
The University of Waikato offers a research-only PhD programme. Students with a
background in any area of Behaviour Analysis are welcome to apply. Staff in the
Department of Psychology can support behaviour analysis research with either human or
animal subjects and over a range of experimental and applied topics. The Department of
Psychology web site contains some information on past and ongoing research topics.
If you are interested in this programme, first contact any of the behavioural staff to
discuss potential topics and supervision.
Details of the degree requirements can be found at:
Certification under the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.®
There are two levels of certification overseen by this Behavior Analyst Certification Board:
• Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst (BACB®) and
• Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®).
Both of these require specific hours of academic course work, specific hours of appropriate
practical experience and an examination (see http://www.bacb.com/).
The Department of Psychology offers papers that cover the academic course work required
before a student may sit the certification examination. The Department is currently
applying to the Certification Board for pre-approval of a course work hour sequence.
Mary Foster, DipClinPsych, PhD,
Mary’s interests are in the theory, methods and application
of behaviour analysis, with humans and animals. Her
ongoing research projects with animals include preference
and demand measurement, remembering, psychophysics and
developing and validating methods of asking animals
questions to do with their welfare. Her research with humans
covers both theoretical and applied issues including
remembering, preference measurement, communication,
functional analyses, and precision teaching.
Cath Sumpter, PhD
Cath’s interests lie in both applied behaviour analysis (ABA)
and the experimental analysis (EAB) of human and animal
behaviour. Her specific areas of interest and research
include; autism and related disorders, the study of
organisms’ preferences and needs, functional analyses,
precision teaching, the psychophysical abilities of farmed
and pest species, and the schedule control of behaviour.
James McEwan, PhD
James’s work has been focused on the experimental analysis
of human behaviour, with a particular interest in how new
behaviour is established. This has been examined in a
number of contexts: Fluency training, the shaping of human
behaviour, changes in perceptual performance with
experience and the dynamic approach to child development.
His present work looks at shaping up bodily movements
using on screen consequences in a ‘computer
Bill Temple, PhD
Bill is interested and researches in the experimental and
applied analysis of behaviour, both animal and human. He
has worked with people, pigeons, rats, hens, cows, possums,
goats, horses and sheep, mainly in assessing their
preferences, their needs and their psychophysical abilities.
Nicola Starkey, PhD
Nicola’s interests are in the areas of animal behaviour and
welfare and behavioural assessment. She is particularly
interested in the following areas; how differences in housing
conditions, or rearing environments effect subsequent
behaviour and learning, sex differences and the effects of
stress on behaviour.
Associate of the MAppPsy (Behaviour Analysis) and PGDipPracPsy (ABA)
Eric is currently completing his PhD in Psychology at the
University of Waikato. He is a Board Certified Behaviour
Analyst, Programme Director of Autism New Zealand Inc.
(Waikato), and Clinical Team Leader of the Youth Horizons
Intensive Clinical Intervention Service for the Waikato/Bay of
Plenty. His interests lie in both experimental and applied
behavioural research including: early-intensive behavioural
intervention, behavioural economics, behavioural teaching
methods, autism spectrum disorders and conduct disorder.
If you wish to discuss possible enrolment or get academic advice regarding the
behavioural graduate papers or programmes, please contact any of the following staff:
Prof. Mary Foster
Tel: (+64) (7) 838 4466 ext. 8400 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Cath Sumpter
Tel: (+64) (7) 838 4466 ext. 8294 Email: email@example.com
Assoc. Prof. Bill Temple
Tel: (+64) (7) 838 4466 ext. 6402 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. James McEwan
Tel: (+64) (7) 838 4466 ext. 8295 Email: email@example.com
Dr. Nicola Starkey
If you wish to discuss the PDDipPracPsych (ABA) contact the Programme Convenor –
Prof. T. Mary Foster (contact as above).
To obtain application materials, please contact any of the above or:
The Administration Manager,
Department of Psychology,
The University of Waikato,
Private Bag 3105,
Hamilton, New Zealand
Tel: (+64) (7) 838 4032
Fax: (+64) (7) 856 2158
International students should also contact:
The University of Waikato
Private Bag 3105,
Hamilton, New Zealand