Ethics in Applied Behaviour Analysis

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
DACS 4115
Ethics in Applied Behaviour Analysis
Disability & Community Studies
Applied Community Studies
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

3 hours/week

Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities
  • Lecture, discussion boards, video, guest speakers, group activities, readings, self-directed online learning
  • Online: any combination of online methods such as but not limited to discussion boards, readings, video, video lectures, skype/telephone consultations etc.
Course Description
This course will introduce and thoroughly orient students to the professional and ethical compliance code for behaviour analysts. Students will work through a number of case scenarios identifying various breaches to the ethical code and engage in both individual reflection and group discussion to determine ethical responses and actions in response to difficult situations.
Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • The application of ABA is grounded in the empirical sciences.
  • The overarching goal of ABA is to enrich the quality of people’s lives.
  • Clients have a right to effective treatment.
  • Clients are involved in the planning and designing of behaviour change programs.
  • Behaviour analysts obtain informed consent from clients prior to implementing assessment and/or behaviour change programs.
  • Behaviour analysts rely on scientific knowledge to select and design behavioural interventions
  • Behaviour analysts make decisions regarding the continuation, discontinuation, and modification of behaviour change programs based on objective data and client wellbeing.
  • Behavioural interventions are thoroughly individualized via detailed assessment processes.
  • Behaviour analysts recommend reinforcement procedures over adversive procedures whenever possible.
  • Behaviour analysts provide services, teach, and conduct research only within the boundaries of their competence.
  • Behaviour analysts are truthful and honest.
  • Behaviour analysts avoid multiple relationships and conflicts of interest.
  • Behaviour analysts have a responsibility to the profession of behaviour analysis and colleagues through promoting an ethical culture.
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Distinguish between ethical and unethical behaviour in the practice of applied behaviour analysis.
  2. Identify and describe content from each category in the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board’s Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behaviour Analysts.
  3. Identify specific breaches in ethical codes in a variety of case studies.
  4. Articulate appropriate ethical responses to ethical breaches in the areas of:
  • Responsible conduct
  • Responsibility to clients
  • Behaviour assessment
  • Behaviour-change programming
  • Supervision
  • Responsibility to the profession of behaviour analysis
  • Responsibility to colleagues
  • Public statements
  • Research
  • Responsibility to the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board
  • Describe the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board’s Disciplinary Review and Appeals Process
  • Means of Assessment

    This is a Graded course. Course assessment may include the following: Class participation, class presentation, quizzes, exams, case studies, clinical treatment plans, academic essay.

    Textbook Materials

    Textbooks and materials to be purchased by students. Consult the Douglas College Bookstore for the latest required textbooks and materials. Examples of textbooks and materials include individually assigned readings and/or books.


    Courses listed here must be completed prior to this course:

    • No prerequisite courses

    Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

    • No corequisite courses

    Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

    • No equivalency courses