Applied Behaviour Analysis Ph.D

Click here for information on how to apply, entry requirements, career options and assessment.


About the Programme

Programme Structure

Students in Year 1 follow the same academic programme as students in the current M.Sc. programme. The taught elements delivered in Years 2 and 3 consist of modules currently delivered in Year 2 of the Masters programme. The Ph.D research thesis is undertaken in Years 2, 3, and 4.

Programme Content

Year 1ECTS
Dissertation Research 70
2 Modules 20
Year 2ECTS
Dissertation Research 60
3 Modules 30
Year 3ECTS
Dissertation Research 70
2 Modules 20
Year 4ECTS
Dissertation Research 90
List of ModulesSemesterECTS
Principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis 1 10
Advanced Behaviour Systems 1 10
Behaviour Assessment and Intervention 1 10
Research Methods & Design 1 10
Advanced Research Methods 2 10
Advanced Research Methods 2 10
Applied Project II 1 10
Behaviour Change Procedures 2 10
Ethics, Professional Conduct & Clinical Practice 1 1&2 10
Ethics, Professional Conduct & Clinical Practice 1 1&2 10
Developmental Disorders 1 10
Clinical Behavioural Interventions 1 10

Ph.D Admission

Admission to the Ph.D programme will be determined by overall academic performance in Year 1 of the M.Sc. programme.

Research Content

The research undertaken as part of the research component will be in areas related to contemporary theory and practice in Applied Behaviour Analysis.


Student performance will be evaluated on the basis of end-of-term examinations, standard of professional practice within work placements, and assessment of the Ph.D thesis as set out in the University Guidelines for Research Degree Programmes.

Award of Ph.D

The Ph.D is awarded by the National University of Ireland, Galway within the regulations and terms for the Ph.D degree and subject to the guidelines and protocols of the University, as published in the General Calendar of the University, and other sources as may be in place from time to time.

Completed PhD Students


Where they are now

Dr. Michelle Kelly


I completed by PhD in Applied Behaviour Analysis in 2012 and obtained by BCBA-D in 2013. I currently work as an Assistant Professor in Health and Special Education Division at Emirates College for Advanced Education in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where I currently teach on the Undergraduate Bachelor of Education.


Prior to this I held the position of Lecturer/ Assistant Professor in  Special Education Division at Dar Al Hekma University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where I taught undergraduates studying their Bachelor of Special Education

Dr. Cloadgh Murray


I completed by PhD in Applied Behaviour Analysis in 2012 and obtained my BCBA-D in 2013. I am currently employed as Lecturer in Psychology at London South Bank University where I currently teach on the undergraduate programmes.

Dr. Helena Lydon


I completed my Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis before going onto complete my PhD in Applied Behaviour Analysis and I am currently a certified BCBA-D. I currently work as a Lecturer in Psychology at National University of Ireland, Galway and teach both at undergraduate level and on the Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis.


Prior to moving into academia I worked for seven years as a Behaviour Therapist (Ability West) and Senior Behaviour Specialist (St. Catherine’s Association and Brothers of Charity Roscommon) with children and adults in Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services. My clinical experience is in the treatment of challenging behaviour and working with individuals presenting with a dual diagnosis across educational, residential and respite settings.

Dr. Laura Moran


I completed my Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) at NUI Galway. My work for both my MA and Ph.D. focused on the application of Relational Frame Theory to improve language skills in children/adolescents with Autism. I am a board certified behaviour analyst and I currently work as Senior Behaviour Specialist in Brothers of Charity, Roscommon. I primarily provide positive behaviour support services to adults with developmental disabilties.  Prior to this, I worked as an Autism Support Specialist with the National Learning Network, Castlebar. This role involved designing and delivering effective evidence-based intervention for young adults with Autism.

Dr. Ciara Foody


I completed my PhD in Applied Behaviour Analysis at NUI Galway. My research investigated the links between stress and health among parents of children with ASD. I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and I have worked with clients with ASD and other developmental disabilities, conducting assessments and designing and overseeing behavioural interventions. I currently work as a Lecturer in Learning Disability at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent, where I teach on undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Applied Behaviour Analysis.

Dr. Aoife Mc Tiernan


I graduated with a Masters in ABA in 2009 and progressed to complete my PhD in ABA in 2014.  My PhD research focused on the application of fluency-based instruction and Precision Teaching and an investigation of associated outcomes.  I am completed both my Masters and PhD in NUI Galway.

I am a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst currently working as a Behaviour Therapist with the Brothers of Charity Services, Roscommon on a part-time basis. In addition I contribute to the MSc in ABA at NUI, Galway as a part-time teaching assistant.  Prior to this my clinical experience was in Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention for children with a diagnosis of ASD and the provision of Positive Behaviour Support across educational settings and disability services.