Masterstudium i atferdsvitenskap - spesialisering i begreper og anvendelse Programplan

Engelsk programnavn
Master’s Program in Behavioral Science - Specialisation in Concepts and Applications
Gjelder fra
2023 HØST
120 studiepoeng
4 semestre


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 26 June 2012. 

A specialisation in one of the two specialisations; in Concepts and Applications and in Innovation and Implementation forms part of the master’s degree program. The name of the specialisation will appear on the diploma alongside the name of the degree: Master of Behavioral Science. The specialisation in Concepts and Applications is taken full-time over two years, while the specialisation in Innovation and Implementation is taken part-time over a maximum four years.

The program teaches modern behavioral science. The term behavioral science has no agreed-upon definition and may refer to different things in different settings. When used as part of the current program, the term should be understood in the context of the idea that a natural science approach to human behavior is both interesting and important to explore. Aspects of natural science relevant for this master´s program in behavioral science include a focus on empirical investigation, the use of experimental methods, and resulting empirically defined units of analysis. Behavioral science aims to explore and develop a natural science approach in several domains, including in conceptual development and philosophy, in experimental analysis and other parts of basic science, and in the application of scientific principles to generate desirable change. A type of behavioral science called behavior analysis is central to the program. Behavior analysis is concerned with investigating systematic relationships between the environment and behavior and considers both public and private events. Behavior analysis may be viewed as a selectionist science taking into consideration both phylogenetic, ontogenetic, and cultural phenomena. 

The knowledge, skills and competence from the program are useful when designing, implementing, managing and documenting processes of change for individuals and in systems. Interventions taught in the program are empirically based and well suited for measuring and assessment of outcomes.

The program includes compulsory courses and elective courses, in addition to the master’s thesis. While the specialisations share the overarching learning outcomes, the specialisation in Concepts and Applications contains more compulsory theoretical courses, and the specialisation in Innovation and Implementation emphasizes practical implementation and reporting skills to a greater degree. A more detailed overview of the program’s structure for each specialisation is given under the section Content and structure.

Master’s Program in Behavioral Science - Specialisation in Concepts and Applications (BSCA)

The specialisation in Concepts and Applications aims to give students a comprehensive overview of the science of behavior analysis. The specialisation consists of courses designed to provide general knowledge of the conceptual framework and philosophy of behavior analysis and complementary fields. This specialisation has a 70 ECTS compulsory course package, with 20 ECTS elective courses (two courses each worth 10 ECTS) and a master’s thesis worth 30 ECTS.

The concepts of behavior analysis are generic, and not exclusively relevant for specific target groups or populations. Behavioral interventions in such diverse fields as behavioral economics, concept formation and complex human behavior, teaching special needs-students, organizational behavior management, clinical behavioral treatment, and behavioral safety and risk management provide practical applications of behavioral principles. These topics are included in elective courses to demonstrate the value of the behavioral approach. The theoretical grounding and practical applications provide a strong knowledge base for students to write their thesis, that usually describes the design, implementation, and evaluation of an intervention conducted under the time constraints and practical considerations of a one-semester workload.

Except for two compulsory seminars in research ethics, there is no attendance required. However, this is a demanding and exacting program, and students are advised to follow lectures and to find a lab group to participate in.

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 a variety of settings both in the private and public sector. Former students are working in the fields of:

  • general, special, and higher education

  • health and social services

  • leadership an human resource management

  • scientific research

(The list is not exhaustive)

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   


Prospective students have a bachelor's degree and an interest in the science or philosophy of behavior, and recognize the need for effective behavioral interventions.


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).

Admission to individual courses

Many of the courses in the programme are available for students outside the programme and can be applied to individually. Applicants to freestanding courses in the master’s program must have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from an accredited university or college. The grade C requirement does not apply to admission to individual courses. Applicants to freestanding courses do not have to document proficiency in the Norwegian language in order to be eligible for admission. For courses with progression requirements those have to be approved before admission to the course. More information about admission to individual courses can be found on the programme’s website.


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
  • discuss the relationship between theoretical knowledge, experiments, and applied science
  • analyze and state the difference between description and explanation
  • generalize knowledge over settings and phenomena
  • demonstrate theoretical and working knowledge of the ethical principles that govern scientific research and interventions in applied settings


The graduate can

  • analyze practical problems using relevant principles of behavioral science, and argue for the analysis with reference to relevant scientific literature
  • conduct experiments and demonstrate working knowledge of the natural scientific method
  • demonstrate appropriate strategies for measuring effects of interventions by using different designs and inferential statistics
  • critically assess the quality of scientific information


The graduate can

  • contribute to the development of evidence-based methods for intervention and change
  • share knowledge and skills with public and peers according to the standards of professional scientific communication, including the current APA standards
  • justify his/her professional behavior with reference to relevant professional and ethical guidelines, general ethical considerations, and assessment of the situation.

Additional learning outcomes for specialisation in Concepts and Applications (BSCA)

The following additional learning outcomes apply to candidates taking the specialisation in Concepts and Applications:


The graduate can

  • conduct and report a supervised research project with a behavioral perspective in accordance with research ethical guidelines and regulations

Innhold og oppbygging

Program Structure

The program constitutes a scientifically and pedagogically integrated whole; with compulsory and elective components (all comprising 10 ECTS), in addition to master’s theses of 30 ECTS (BSCA) and 60 ECTS (BSII).

Content of common compulsory courses

These courses provide basic insight and some 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 science 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.

Compulsory courses

These courses are compulsory for all students:

  • MALK4000-401 Complexity, Science and Society

  • MALK4000-403 Behavior Analysis and Radical Behaviorism

  • MALKA211 Introduction to Behavior Analysis

  • MALKA214 Experimental Design and Functional Analysis

For students in the Concepts and applications specialisation, these courses are also compulsory:

  • MALK4000-402 Relational Skills

  • MALKA212 Refinement of Behavior Analytic Terms

  • MALKA213 Laboratory Exercises – Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Content of 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.

Elective courses (a total of 20 ECTS)

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

  • MALKA215 Complex Human Behavior

  • MALKA217 Early Intervention for Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders

  • MALKA218 Ethical Considerations in Applied Behavior Analysis

  • MALKA219 Organizational Behavior Management (OBM)

  • MALKA220 Behavioral Economics

  • MALKA221 Complex Systems and Risk Management (Not offered in 2024)

  • MALKA222 Clinical Behavior Analysis

Elective courses are normally offered every Fall term. Students enrol 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.

Master’s theses – 30 and 60 ECTS credits

Students admitted to specialisation in Concepts and Applications write an individual master’s thesis worth 30 ECTS (MALK5000). The thesis is usually a work in progress during the elective courses, when students participate in research projects with faculty.

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. See the course descriptions for MALK5000 for a more detailed description of the master’s thesis worth 30 ECTS.

Students admitted to specialisation in Innovation and Implementation write an individual master’s thesis worth 60 ECTS (MALK5900). Students’ theses will be written with a basis in innovation projects designed and implemented by the candidates in the program. The program appoints a thesis advisor, and the candidate works with a dedicated field supervisor trained by the Department of Behavioral Science. The thesis reports the planning, design and implementation of the innovation project, and includes an executive summary that will be made publicly available through a Project Bank. See the course descriptions for MALK5900 for a more detailed description of the master’s thesis worth 60 ECTS.

Two compulsory 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. The seminars are taken place digitally and are open for students from all stages of the program. One seminar is held every semester, and both seminars must be completed before the proposal for the thesis is submitted.

The master’s thesis can be written in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

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

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:

  • MALK4000-403: MALK4000-401, or equivalent

  • MALKA211: MALK4000-401, MALK4000-403, or equivalent

  • MALKA212: MALK4000-401, MALK4000-403, MALKA211, or equivalent

  • MALKA213: MALK4000-401, MALK4000-403, MALKA211, MALKA212, or equivalent

  • MALKA214: MALK4000-401, MALK4000-403, MALKA211, or equivalent

  • MALKA215: MALK4000-401, MALK4000-403, MALKA211, MALKA212, MALKA214, or equivalent

  • MALK5000: All courses in the specialisation must be completed with pass grades and the coursework requirements, including seminars in research ethics, must be approved before the candidate may submit the master’s thesis.

  • MALK5900: All courses in the specialisation must be completed with pass grades and the coursework requirements, including seminars in research ethics, and thesis seminars must be approved before the candidate may submit the master’s thesis.

Courses in the BSII-specialisation are digitalised and to some degree self-paced.  They are designed according to the principles of Personalized System of Instruction (PSI), which require that students master the content of a specific learning unit before they are allowed to proceed with the next unit in the course sequence.

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

Valgfritt emne Løper over flere semestre

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

Varied and student-active teaching methods are used in the program. The languages of instruction are Norwegian and English. Textbooks, reading packages and digital course sequences are in English.

Good learning outcomes primarily depend on the students’ own efforts. Student effort includes benefiting from teaching and academic supervision; following this up with independent work in the form of theoretical studies, and, when relevant, practical skills training. The program is demanding, and requires consistent effort during the whole semester. The most important work and teaching forms used in each course in the program are described below. Individual course descriptions state which work methods each course employs.

Web-based work and teaching methods

Several forms of digital learning resources are used in the program, such as digital textbooks, digital lectures, video clips, tests, and assignments. These resources can be used to prepare for teaching sessions, during seminars using Interteaching, and as part of self-study. This form of teaching requires the students to meet prepared for the scheduled teaching sessions. Interaction can also take place digitally. Students from both specialisations will have access to digitalised versions of the course content. For the digital course sequences, feedback on details of course content, and supervised discussion groups will be available during pre-determined time periods.

Personalized System of Instruction (PSI)  

The Innovation and Implementation specialisation provides students with digital course sequences constructed from the principles of Personalized System of Instruction, PSI. This is a teaching program that builds verbal/conceptual repertoires by going from basic to advanced concepts with no gaps in between, and where student progress is contingent on mastering previous learning units at a certain level before the next unit is made available. This will, with required readings matched to the course content and dedicated sessions for teacher’s response to student questions, allow for a certain degree of self-pacing, making this suited for part-time students with different demands on their time than full-time students. The complete content of each course will be broken down into course sequences that build upon the previous one, with a mastery test at the end of each sequence. A success rate of 80% allows the student to continue to the next sequence.

The course sequences replace lectures and workshops for those who are in the Innovation and Implementation specialisation, but students are welcome to participate in all teaching and learning activities, irrespective of their specialisation.


Lectures are primarily used to introduce new subject matter, provide an overview and highlight main elements and links within different topics, and also to communicate relevant issues.


Seminars emphasize dialogue and discussion between the subject teacher(s) and students in order to stimulate the student's academic development. Verbal presentations by students and discussions are emphazised.  In connection with MALK5900: Master's thesis (60 ECTS), seminars are held where scientific and methodological aspects of the master's theses are presented and discussed. The students receive feedback from their fellow students and teachers, which enables them to learn from each other. Research-related issues, methods and academic supervision are among the topics discussed in the seminars. Seminars for MALK5900 will be conducted on digital collaboration platforms. 


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

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.

Simulation/laboratory exercises/skills training

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

Self-study and student cooperation/group work

Learning requires a high degree of self-paced activity and self-study, including both individual work and cooperation with fellow students. Through activities such as exchanging ideas, presentations, discussions, writing assignments and problem-based assignments, students will be stimulated to learn by communicating knowledge and experience, expressing their own opinions and, together, reflecting on their own attitudes, actions and understanding of the field. Students are encouraged to take initiative to schedule and actively participate in study groups to promote learning. Information about the activities in the institute’s research groups is presented at the start the program, and students are encouraged to take part in the lab activities in the research groups. For each course, the students are responsible for readings.


The increasing globalization of the labour market makes international experience and knowledge of languages and cultures increasingly important. Internationalization contributes to raising the quality of education and strengthens the academic community relating to the master’s program, at the same time as it strengthens the students as global citizens.

The Program for Behavioral Science has teaching and research collaboration projects and agreements with several foreign institutions of higher education. We encourage students to take a part of their master`s degree at one of our collaborating institutions, subject to the approval of the Head of Studies. A prerequisite for approval of the exchange is that the coursework is interchangeable with courses in our master’s program.

The recommended options for international exchange are the 3rd semester for students at the BSCA-specialisation and 4th semester for students at the BSII-specialisation.

Courses open to exchange students

The following courses are open to exchange students:

  • MALKA211 Introduction to Behavior Analysis, 10 ECTS

  • MALKA212 Refinement of Behavior Analytic Terms, 10 ECTS

  • MALKA213 Laboratory Exercises – Experimental Analysis of Behavior,10 ECTS

  • MALKA215 Complex Human Behavior, 10 ECTS

  • MALKA217 Early Intervention for Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders, 10 ECTS

  • MALKA218 Ethical  Considerations in Applied Behavior Analysis, 10 ECTS

  • MALKA219 Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), 10 ECTS

  • MALKA220 Behavioral Economics, 10 ECTS

  • MALKA221 Complex Systems and Risk Management,10 ECTS (Not offered in 2024)

  • MALKA222 Clinical Behavior Analysis

Exchange students should have basic competence or a strong interest in behavior analysis.

Of these courses, MALKA213 is always taught in English. The others are taught in English when international students attend the course, otherwise they are mainly taught in Norwegian.   

Required reading is primarily in English.  

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

All courses except MALKA213, MALKA214 and MALKA218 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.

Written assignments

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. Assignments not submitted within the set deadline will be considered failed. 

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 study administration in cooperation with the person responsible for the course.

All coursework in writing, including master’s theses, undergoes automatic plagiarism control on submission.

Attendance requirements

While there is no attendance required for lectures, this is a demanding program, and steady work is required throughout the courses.

Two research ethics seminars are 100 % attendance required before the thesis outline can be submitted. The seminars are taken place digitally and held annually, one each semester. It is recommended to complete the seminars during the first year of studies.

Students in the Innovation and Implementation specialisation must attend thesis seminars, for a total of six over the whole program. The seminars are wholly digital over two days each, and will include time to work on required submissions and student presentations of various aspects of thesis projects.

Vurdering og sensur

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 the pass grades, and F is a fail grade.

All courses included in the specialisation 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.  

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.

Øvrig informasjon

Approved by NOKUT on April 15th, 2004

Approved by the Board of Akershus University College on September 7th, 2004

Last amendments approved by the Educational Board of the Faculty of Health Sciences on December 6th 2023