Master’s Program in Behavioral Science - Specialisation in Concepts and Applications Programme description

Programme name, Norwegian
Masterstudium i atferdsvitenskap - spesialisering i begreper og anvendelse
Valid from
2019 FALL
ECTS credits
120 ECTS credits
4 semesters
Here you can find an example schedule for first year students.
Programme history


The Master's Program in Behavioral Science comprises 120 ECTS credits in accordance with § 3 of the National Regulations Relating to Requirements for a Master's Degree, appointed by the Ministry of Education and Research on December 1st, 2005. A successfully completed program leads to the degree Master of Behavioral Science/master i atferdsvitenskap.

The study program is established in accordance with the Act Relating to Universities and University Colleges of 1 April 2005 and Regulations Relating to Studies and Examinations at OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University of 26 June 2012. The program may be completed as a full-time study of 2 years or a part-time study of maximum 4 years.

The program teaches modern behavioral science. The knowledge, skills and competence from the program are useful when designing, implementing, managing and documenting processes of change for individuals and in systems. The program content adds value to all professional repertoires, and prepares graduates for working with complex systems, whether social or technological. Interventions taught in the program are empirically based and well suited for measuring and assessment of outcomes.

Career opportunities and post-graduate studies

Graduates of the program will usually have a set of professional skills from their undergraduate studies, and the program enhances and adds value to those skills. Graduates have found rewarding work in

  • planning, implementing and evaluating change processes for individuals and in organizations

  • risk assessment and management

  • general and special education

  • higher education 

The program prepares the graduates for Ph.D. studies.

The master program is accredited by Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI).https://www.abainternational.org/accreditation.aspx  

Graduates who wish to sit for the certification exam by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board must complete a specific BACB-approved course sequence. http://bacb.com/

Target group

Prospective students have a bachelor's degree and wish to enhance their professional performance through learning well-documented principles of behavioral change. They recognize the need for effective behavioral interventions and are interested in evidence-based methods.

Admission requirements

Admission to this study program is processed in accordance with current Regulations Relating to Admission to Master's Degree Programs at OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree or the equivalent from an accredited university or university college. The Admissions office makes the decisions on applications for admission.

Some courses are offered as freestanding courses with admission requirements. Applicants to freestanding courses in the master's program must have a bachelor's degree or the equivalent from an accredited university or college.

For more information, see Forskrift om opptak til studier ved OsloMet (in Norwegian) or Regulations related to Admission to Studies at OsloMet (in English).

The use of face-covering clothing is not compatible with participation in this study program.

Learning outcomes

A graduate of this program has acquired the following learning outcomes defined as knowledge, skills and competence:


The graduate

  • can demonstrate thorough familiarity with basic and advanced principles of experimental, conceptual and applied behavior analysis

  • can discuss the relationship between theoretical knowledge, experiments, and applied science

  • can analyze and state the difference between description and explanation

  • can generalize knowledge over settings and phenomena

  • can demonstrate theoretical and working knowledge of the ethical principles that govern scientific research


The graduate

  • can analyze practical problems in terms of applied behavior analysis; Organizational Behavior Management; complexity, and systems dynamics, and argue for the analysis with reference to relevant scientific literature

  • can conduct experiments and demonstrate working knowledge of the natural scientific method

  • can demonstrate appropriate strategies for measuring effects of interventions by using different designs and inferential statistics

  • can critically assess various sources of information

  • can conduct a supervised research project in accordance with research ethical guidelines and regulations


The graduate

  • can contribute to the development of evidence-based methods for intervention and change

  • can manage complexity in projects and processes of change, and promote the development of learning in complex systems

  • can share knowledge and skills with public and peers according to the standards of professional scientific communication, including the current APA standards

  • can justify his/her professional behavior with reference to relevant professional and ethical guidelines, general ethical considerations, and assessment of the situation

  • can enhance processes of individual and organizational change by optimizing human, technological and economic resources

Content and structure

Program Structure

The master's program comprises 120 ECTS credits, or a workload of two years full time study. Classes and projects are organized for student flexibility, making it possible to complete the program as a part-time student over maximum 4 years (minimum 50% progression).

The languages of instruction are Norwegian and English. Textbooks and reading packages are in English.

Elective courses are offered every Fall term. Students enroll for courses by deadlines each semester and the department reserves the right to cancel courses with insufficient enrolment. Depending on the number of students enrolled, changes may be made in the way the courses are conducted.

The program constitutes a scientifically and pedagogically integrated whole; with mandatory and elective components (all comprising 10 ECTS).

Mandatory courses (a total of 70 ECTS)

These courses are mandatory for all students:

  • MALK4000-401 Complexity, Science and Society;

  • MALK4000-402 Relational Skills;

  • MALK4000-403 Introduction to Behavior Analysis;

  • MALK211 Introduction to Concepts;

  • MALK212 Refinement of Terms;

  • MALKA213 Laboratory and Practical Exercises

  • MALK214 Experimental Design and Functional Analysis.  

Elective courses (a total of 20 ECTS)

Each student chooses two (2) of the following courses:

  • MALKA215 Complex Human Behavior;

  • MALKA218 Ethical Considerations in the Application of Behavior Analysis;

  • MALKA217 Early intervention for children with pervasive developmental disorders;

  • MALKA219 Organizational Behavior Management;

  • MALKA220 Behavioral Economics

  • MALKA221 Complex Systems and Risk Management.

Master's thesis

The individual thesis constitutes the final 30 ECTS credits and is usually a work in progress during the elective courses, when students participate in research projects with faculty.

The 2 mandatory seminars on research ethics are open for students from all levels of the program, but must have been completed before submitting the proposal for the thesis. One seminar is held every semester; both must be completed. 


To sit for the BACB-exam, students must complete MLAK4000-403, MALKA211-215 and MALKA218.

MALKA 217 may be substituted for MALKA218.

Fulltime students attend two of the elective courses during the Fall term of the second year of the program.

Academic Content:

Mandatory course sequence (MALK4000-401 to MALKA214)

These courses provide basic insight and practical skills in behavior analysis.

The philosophy of science that is fundamental to behavior analysis is introduced and placed in a wider context of philosophy of science. The status of various scientific approaches in modern society is discussed. The courses place the study of human behavior in a natural scientific tradition and emphasize a selectionist understanding of change processes. Basic ontological and epistemological questions are discussed: unity of knowledge; the relationship between natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities; determining and defining analytical units in research; and methodological approaches suitable for promoting effective action based on functional analyses. Behavior analysis - experimental, conceptual and applied - is introduced as a cumulative science of behavior. Laboratory techniques; experimental design, and scientific method in behavioral research conclude the mandatory course sequence.

Elective courses

In the elective courses, various behaviorally based approaches to initiating, facilitating and managing change processes in individual behavior repertoire, organizations and systems are studied. Behavioral technology comprises everything from basic self-control techniques to sophisticated tools for initiating and managing complex processes in large organizations. Important features in this methodology are operational measures of change and continuous data collection.

Master's thesis

The master's thesis is prepared from the start of the elective courses, at the latest. Students theses will usually be written with a basis in research projects run by faculty in the program, or projects in institutions with which the university has a formal collaboration agreement. The program appoints a thesis advisor.

The mandatory seminars in research ethics cover academic honesty; the work of Regional Ethics Committees; the guidelines of OsloMet on research ethics and research fraud; current publication manuals and APA style manuscript preparation, and the use of electronic reference management tools.

Progression Requirements

All coursework requirements must be approved to sit for the final course exam. Coursework requirements must be approved to participate and submit coursework requirements according to the following:

  • MALK4000-402:  MALK4000-401 or equivalent

  • MALKA211:  MALK4000-401 or equivalent

  • MALKA 212:  MALK4000-401, MALK4000-402, MALKA 211 or equivalent

  • MALKA 213:  MALK4000-401, MALK4000-402, MALKA 211, MALKA212, or equivalent

  • MALK4000-403:  MALK4000-401, MALK4000-402, MALKA 211, or equivalent

  • MALKA214:  MALK4000-401, MALK4000-402, MALKA 211, MALKA212, MALK4000-403, MALKA213, or equivalent

  • MALKA215: MALK4000-401, MALK4000-402, MALKA 211, MALKA212, MALK4000-403, MALKA213, MALKA 214, or equivalent

  • MALKA218, MALKA 217, MALKA219, MALKA220 and MALKA221: MALK4000-401, MALK4000-402, MALKA 211 and MALKA 212 or equivalent

  • MALK5000: All courses must be completed with pass grades and the coursework requirements must be approved before the candidate may submit the master's thesis

Exemption from the provisions of progression requirements may in special cases and upon application by the student, be granted.

Optional course Spans multiple semesters

Teaching and learning methods

Readings and lectures present research-based knowledge. Students are trained in demonstrating and documenting their own academic progress. Learning and teaching methods include lectures; interteaching; discussions (in plenum or in smaller groups); supervision and feedback on all written assignments; laboratory exercises; skills training; computer simulations; projects related to practical/clinical work; oral presentations by students; various writing assignments (abstracts; reaction papers; reviews) multiple choice tests, and programmed instruction. Learning and teaching methods are chosen to help students attain the specific learning outcomes for each course.

The courses in the master's program constitute a scientific and pedagogical coherent whole. We work to ensure this coherence even when students combine courses from different specializations or take courses at other institutions for credit transfer.

Lectures are mainly used to present new research; provide overviews of a field or topic; point out main elements of the subject and show how they are connected, and to place a topic in the relevant scientific and historical context. Lectures are mainly given in Norwegian, otherwise in English.

Interteaching is a technology of classroom instruction based on the principles of behavior analysis. The interteaching method includes pre-session reading; discussion of pre-determined questions in pairs with perambulating instructors; summarizing lectures based on questions from the discussions, and data collection including student evaluation of each session.

Written assignments vary according to learning outcomes, course content and work methods. The assignments usually consist of written work, in the form of essays, reaction papers or reviews of literature, or multiple-choice tests. The coursework requirements ensure steady academic progress and stimulate the students to acquire new knowledge; testing their knowledge, skills and competencies against the standards of the course outcomes. Coursework requirements get feedback from instructors and are specifically designed to give students practice in academic writing and prepare them for thesis work.

Required reading - self-paced: For each course, the students are responsible for readings. The students' individual initiative outside of organized activities, constitutes an essential part of the study program. Such activities mostly consist of self-study/individual work, but may also include cooperation with fellow students, online and/or in terms of face to face meetings.

Simulation/laboratory exercises/skills training is used to design and execute learning experiments (virtual rats), giving hands-on experience with basic learning processes and experiments.

Oral presentations by students are skills training in preparing/designing a presentation, present and discuss course content with fellow students.

Projects related to practical/clinical work:  are related to a self-management project to observe, plan an intervention for the student's own behavior and to measure the effects of the intervention. The projects give hands on experience with planning behavior change, measure behavior, and assessing the outcome of the behavior change.

Programmed instruction and multiple-choice tests are used to teach theoretical concepts.

Master's thesis: The final exam is a thesis. By the end of the final course at the latest, the student submits a thesis outline, including a research question, a plan for progress, and a plan for dissemination (see guidelines, Thesis outline).  When faculty approves the thesis outline, the student is assigned a supervisor for his thesis work. The thesis can be written in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

The program complies with the quality assurance systems required by the university.


The Program for Behavioral Science has teaching and research collaboration projects with several foreign institutions of higher learning. We encourage students to take a part of their master`s degree at one of our collaborating institutions, subject to the approval of the program coordinator. The 3rd semester (full time) and 6th semester (part time) are the preferred options for international sojourns, but individual adaptation is possible.

Students may transfer course credits equivalent to 60 ECTS credits from collaborating universities. The totality of the courses credited must form a coherent whole, both scientifically and pedagogically.

Required reading is in English. Lectures are mainly in Norwegian, otherwise in English.

Work requirements

All courses except MALKA 213 have one or more coursework requirements. Each assignment is graded Approved/Not approved. All assignments must be approved before the student can sit for the exam in each course. The assignments are submitted digitally, and written feedback is delivered in the same electronic platform. When the coursework requirement is delivered according to deadlines in the course schedule the student has the right to receive feedback on the assignment.

A student may submit the same obligatory assignment a maximum of three times. Failed assignments must be reworked before resubmission. If the second submission fails, the student is not eligible for the regular examination. The student is entitled to a third attempt before new/deferred exam.

If one or more assignments are not approved after three attempts, the student must attend the course the next time it is arranged, usually the subsequent year. Application for a fourth and final attempt to complete the assignment to sit for the exam are decided on an individual basis by the Head of the Department.

Two research ethics seminars are 100 % attendance required before submitting the thesis outline. The seminars are held annually, one each semester.


For all courses except MALKA213 Laboratory and practical exercises and MALK5000 Master's thesis there is a final individual written exam with invigilation. Exams are tailored to the learning outcomes, course content and teaching and learning methods. The exam in MALKA213 is an empirical article based on experiments and lasts for 3 weeks (hjemmeeksamen).

Exam questions are in English. Students may submit their exams in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. All ordinary exams are held in the same term as the corresponding course.

All exams are evaluated and graded by two examiners; one from program faculty and one external to the program. The grading scale on all exams is:  A (highest) to F (lowest) where A to E are pass grades and F is a fail grade.

All examinations taken are specified on the diploma, as is the title of the master's thesis.

Assessments are carried out in accordance with the Act Relating to Universities and University Colleges, Regulations Relating to Studies and Examinations at OsloMet and Guidelines for Appointment and Use of Examiners at OsloMet. See  http://www.hioa.no/eng/Programs/Acts- and-regulations.

In accordance with Regulations Relating to Appointment and Use of Examiners at OsloMet, external program supervisors are affiliated with this study program. The external program supervisors shall through feedback and advice contribute to ensuring that:

  • the Master's Degree program is a high-quality program judged by the standards for equivalent degrees at other national and international higher education institutions

  •  there is a coherence between the learning outcomes, teaching and forms of assessment

  • there is a coherence between the different courses of the program

  • the students knowledge and skills are tested and assessed in an impartial and satisfactory way.

The external program supervisors prepare a report that will be included in the department's quality assurance work.