MSc Applied Behaviour Analysis

In the Master's programme in Applied Behaviour Analysis, students learn how to apply the general principles of learning and behaviour to improve problems for individuals and society. Evidence based methods, derived from behaviour analysis, are relevant in every community as these methods touch upon common challenges that arise in everyday life.


Students walk across a corridor in RU Credits

120 ECTS


The language of instruction is English.

Length of study

Two years, full time.


The aim of the program is to disseminate understanding of the science of applied behaviour analysis to practitioners. The programme furthermore contributes to evidence-based practice in the field of applied behaviour analysis by conducting research and consultancy services to practitioners and consumers.



The main content of the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis are courses that are verified by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The program incorporates strong ties with industry, the service community, and society. 

As an American living in Iceland, I was so thrilled to see that RU was offering the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis program taught in English! Currently working as a preschool teacher, and coming from a psychology background, I found that this program perfectly complimented my past experiences with my future goal of becoming a BCBA. The small class sizes and in-depth teaching are great ways to fully immerse yourself in the program and be able to connect with your fellow classmates and teachers on a personal and profession level.

Mary Catherine Olafsdóttir

Tuition fees

Please follow the link below to see tuition fees at RU, per term.

Reykjavik University



Reykjavik University is ranked in 301-350th place in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking published in September 2020, making RU the highest ranked university in Iceland. For the second consecutive year, RU ranks highest of all universities in citations, which is an estimate of universities' research influence. 


The number of students at RU is approximately 3500 and all teaching takes place under one roof, creating a friendly sense of community. The campus is easily accessible from the centre of the city.


In Iceland, English is spoken by nearly everyone. International students should not have any problems communicating with Icelanders.

Read more:

About Reykjavik University


Professionals who are certified as BCBAs are independent practitioners who provide behavior analytic services.

The MSc programme at RU provides a foundation to practice behaviour analysis in accordance with regulations specified by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board in USA, which ensures international "best practice" and the highest ethical standards in the practice of behaviour analysis worldwide. No other program in Iceland offers such

James Frederick Davis, Student


"It's a pleasure to learn from such consummate professionals and I look forward to making my contribution to an exciting and expanding field, both in Iceland and abroad."

Herdís Ingibjörg A. Svansdóttir // Student in Applied Behavior Analysis

Herdís Ingibjörg A. Svansdóttir, Student:

"The MSc program in applied behaviour analysis at RU provides me with essential knowledge and skills to provide early intervention for children with developmental disabilities as well as the skills to effectively provide consultation to other professionals who work with young children. I feel this is a practical graduate program and a great addition to my current education as a developmental therapist."

Steinunn Hafsteinsdóttir // MSc & BCBA from Western New England University

Steinunn Hafsteinsdóttir, MSc & BCBA from Western New England University
Behaviour Analyst and Professional Director at Arnarskóli elementary school:

"The degree in applied behavior analysis provided me with the necessary skills and specilization to help children with and without developmental disorders and their families and to assess and treat challenging behavior. After my studies I have been working at the State Diagnostic and Counselling Centre, councelling at elementary schools and kindergartens and currently I am a professional director at Arnarskoli elementary school."

Hólmfríður Ósk Arnalds, MSc & BCBA from University of North Texas
Behaviour Analyst at the State Diagnostic and Counselling Centre:

"I work with children with developmental disorders, their families and teachers and other staff at kindergartens and elementary schools. I also provide in-home services for children with autism and their families. One of the great benefits of studying applied behavior analysis at RU, and receiving the BCBA certification, is that it prepared me very well for real-life problems, one faces working in this field."

Ása Rún Ingimarsdóttir, MSc & BCBA from Western New England University
Behaviour Analyst at Klettaskóli elementary school for children with developmental disorders:

"In my graduate program in applied behavior analysis the emphasize was on evidence-based approach to understanding behavior, to teach people new and important skills and to reduce bahavioral problems. It was a great addition to my undergraduate degree as developmental therapist, made me a better equipped professionial and opened up new employment possibilities."

Academic staff

Core faculty


Dr. Berglind Sveinbjörnsdóttir

Assistant Professor & Director of the MSc program in Applied Behavior Analysis

Dr. Sveinbjörnsdóttir received her PhD in behavior analysis from Western New England University. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology at Reykjavik University (RU) and the director of the MSc program in Applied Behavior Analysis at RU. In addition, Berglind has a part-time position at Landspitali-The National University Hospital of Iceland. Her primary research focus is mainly in the area of problem behavior, pre-school life skills, and virtual reality.

She also specializes in consultation regarding assessment and treatment of challenging behavior. Berglind has served as guest reviewer for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Research in Developmental Disabilities and is currently the president of the Icelandic association of Behavior Analysis (ICEABA).

93-pic"Pulling behavior analysis training into the future with virtual reality training technology"

The ABA Inside Track podcast interviews Dr. Sveinbjörnsdóttir.
Listen to episode


Dr. Hanna Steingrímsdóttir

Associate Professor

Dr. Steingrimsdottir is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology at Reykjavik University and a member of the Experimental Studies of Complex Human Behavior Lab at OsloMet in Norway. Her interest are in general issues related to stimulus control, and particularly in stimulus control in older adults and adults with neurocognitive disorders. She has been a member of the Behavioral Gerontology Special Interest Group (BG-SIG) of ABAI, serving as a secretary and now as an international representative. She is on the editorial board for the European Journal of Behaviour Analysis, has served as guest editor for a special issue in the Norwegian Journal of Behavior Analysis and a guest reviewer for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Hanna Steinunn is currently a board member of the European Association for Behavior Analysis.
Simon Dymond

Dr. Simon Dymond

Professor of Psychology and Behaviour Analysis 

Professor Simon Dymond is Visiting Professor at Reykjavik University (since 2015) and Professor of Psychology and Behaviour Analysis at Swansea University. Simon received his undergraduate and PhD degrees from University College Cork, Ireland. He is co-director of the Experimental Psychopathology Lab at Swansea where his group conducts neuro-behavioural research on gambling behaviour, fear and avoidance learning, treatment of gambling disorder, clinical behaviour analysis and relational frame theory, and on the social/epidemiological analysis of gambling related harm in vulnerable populations. He is currently Director of the Gambling Research, Education and Treatment (GREAT) Network Wales and has received funding from the International Center for Responsible Gaming, GambleAware, Forces in Mind Trust, and Health & Care Research Wales.

RU faculty and visiting professors

Students in the Master's programme are taught by scientists and specialists in applied behaviour analysis, both RU faculty and visiting lecturers with professional experience. 

Name*TitleEducationField of expertise
Anna Ingeborg Pétursdóttir

Part-time Lecturer
PhD in Psychology, Western Michigan University.Associate Professor of Psychology, Texas Christian University.
Fields of expertise: Behaviour analysis.
Ása Rún IngimarsdóttirPart-time LecturerMSc in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western New England University. Board Certified Behavior Analyst, BCBA. Behavior analyst at Klettaskóli elementary school.
Field of expertise: Behavior analysis.
Bára Kolbrún GylfadóttirPart-time LecturerEducation: MSc in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Wales, Bangor; cand.psych from the University of Iceland. Behavior analyst/psychologist at The State Diagnostic and Councelling Centre, Iceland.Field of expertise: Behavior analysis.
Emilía GuðmundsdóttirPart-time Lecturer Cand.psych. and BA in Psychology from University of Iceland.
Psychologist at the State Diagnostic and Counselling Centre, Iceland.
Field of expertise: Autism and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Hólmfríður Ósk Arnalds Part-time LecturerMSc in Applied Behavior Analysis from University of North Texas. Board Certified Behavior Analyst, BCBA.Field of expertise: Behavior analysis.
Kristján GuðmundssonPart-time LecturerPhD in Philosophy of Science, University of Western Ontario, Canada.
MA in Philosophy, University of Western Ontario, Canada and MA in Psychology, University of Iceland.
Field of Expertise: Clinical psychology, philosophy of science, philosophical counselling, Skinner, behaviourism.
 Richard MayPart-time LecturerMSc in Behaviour Analysis, Swansea University. PhD in Psychology, Swansea University. Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of South Wales. Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BACB).Field of Expertise: Behavior analysis, Relational frame theory, verbal behavior.
Steinunn HafsteinsdóttirPart-time LecturerMSc in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western New England University, Boston. Board Certified Behavior Analyst, BCBA. BA in Developmental therapy from Iceland's teacher's university. Program Director at Arnarskóli elementary school.Field of expertise: Behavior analysis, autism, problem behavior.
Þorlákur KarlssonAssociate ProfessorPhD in Psychology with a minor in statistics and methodology, West Virginia University.Fields of expertise: Behaviour analysis, research methodology, and statistics.

Please follow the link below to see a complete list of resident professors and part-time lecturers in the Department of Psychology with information about research areas.


Year 1

Fall semester - 30 ECTS

  • Developmental and Intellectual Disorders - 6 ECTS
  • Concepts and Principles - 6 ECTS*
  • Research Methods in Behaviour Analysis - 6 ECTS*
  • Ethics - 6 ECTS
  • Early Intensive Behaviour Intervention - 6 ECTS

Spring semester - 30 ECTS

  • Applied project I - 6 ECTS

  • Behaviour Assessment - 6 ECTS*

  • Behaviour Interventions I - 4 ECTS*

  • Philosophy of Behaviour Analysis - 6 ECTS

  • Research Thesis I - 8 ECTS

Year 2

Fall semester - 30 ECTS

  • Applied Project II  - 6 ECTS

  • Behaviour Analysis in Mainstream Education - 6 ECTS

  • Brain, Aging, and Behaviour Analysis - 6 ECTS

  • Behaviour Interventions II- 4 ECTS*

  • Research Thesis II - 8 ECTS

Spring semester - 30 ECTS

  • Applied Project III - 6 ECTS

  • Clinical Behaviour Analysis - 6 ECTS

  • Personnel Supervision and Management - 4 ECTS*

  • Research Thesis III - 14 ECTS

*BCBA certified courses. Applicants who possess a minimum of graduate degree in acceptable field of study such as behaviour analysis, education, or psychology can apply for the BCBA certified courses (42 ECTS).

The autumn term begins in the middle of August and the spring term begins in January.


"I am a certified teacher and have an education in applied behaviour analysis. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with great children where the goal is to improve their well-being and their performance at school. I knew instantly that this program would suite me. It is demanding and fun, but above all, practical. It opens new doors and helps find solutions to improve the well-being and performance of clients and students."

Rafn Emilsson, student in Applied Behaviour Analysis, Prinicipal of Arnarskóli elementary school and owner of


Reykjavik University Campus

Set in one of the most beautiful areas of Reykjavik right next to Iceland's only geothermal beach, the newly built campus offers students modern first-rate facilities. 

VD-adstadan2019The building has well equipped classrooms and students have 24-hour access to the spacious study facilities.

Reykjavik University at sunset, looking over Nautholsvik bay
  • Reykjavik University is located right next to Iceland's only geothermal beach, Nauthólsvík. Students can enjoy swimming in the geothermally heated sea, or relax in the hot tub on the beach.
  • Right next to the campus is the most environmentally friendly restaurant in Reykjavik, Nauthóll, which has been awarded the Nordic Environmental "Svan Certificate," and was the first restaurant in Reykjavik to receive this certification.
  • Students can enjoy the many foot and bicycle paths in the neighbouring forest.
  • Students can visit the nearby Perlan situated on top of the city's geothermal storage tanks.


Domestic & EU/EEA students

  • Applications open: February 5th
  • Application deadline: April 30th

All applications and documents should have reached Reykjavik University before the application deadline. 

Non-EU/EEA residents

  • Application opens: October 15th
  • Application deadline: January 31st 

Necessary preparation

Admission is limited to those that have completed a BA, BSc or BEd in psychology, educational science, social sciences, or a related degree.

Applicants who have completed a masters degree in psychology, educational science, or related fields (masters studies certified by BCBA) can apply for the BCBA course track (42 ECTS).

Application and accompanying documents

Applicants fill out the application on RU´s application site and the following documents must be attached:

  • Copy of official university transcript/s and overview of studies
  • CV/résumé in English or Icelandic
  • Personal statement as a pdf document, answering the questions: Why am I applying and what are my goals relating to the course? (max length 300 words)
  • At least one reference from an individual that is qualified to assess the capability of an applicant to complete the masters course. The letter can be in Icelandic or English and should be sent directly from the individual giving the reference to the course programme administrator via e-mail:


Proficiency in English is required.

Selection process

Selection is based on a competitive application process. The selection process involves a written application describing the applicant's qualifications and experience, supported by referee reports. Short-listed candidates will be interviewed by a selection panel.

Tuition fees

Please follow the link below to see tuition fees at RU, per term.

Contact us

Got any questions?

If you cannot find the information you are looking for on our website, please do contact us. We are here to help, and we welcome enquiries by e-mail or phone.


Hildur Droplaug Pálsdóttir

Programme Administrator

Berglind Sveinbjörnsdóttir

Programme Director



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