One of the reasons positive psychology is an appealing field is the variety of settings in which it can be applied, from schools to workplaces and at home.
This adaptability means positive psychology can also be applied in a variety of places around the world, which has lead to various courses that provide positive psychology enthusiasts with ample opportunities to learn about this fast-growing branch of psychology in a variety of places worldwide.
This list of institutions offers a comprehensive but not exhaustive resource for anyone interested in formally studying positive psychology. Surprisingly, there are no BSc courses and regrettably, none of the existing courses are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). However, training programmes leading to post-graduate certificate in psychological well-being offered by many universities lead to accreditation status by BPS. The situation of positive psychology courses, regarding accreditation, type and availability are almost the same in the USA and Europe.
Bucks New University in Buckinghamshire (England) offers a two-year, part-time MAPP course with a somewhat unique curriculum. They also offer stand-alone short courses on positive psychology that lead to a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) which comprises of all MAPP modules except the dissertation.
The MAPP program starts every September and takes two years to complete. Students can either undertake the writing of their dissertation in their second year or in a separate third year. Anyone interested in the program can preview it with a two-day introductory course.
Since Bucks University offers the opportunity to write the dissertation as part of year two learning or during its own year, this makes it the most flexible option time-wise. For anyone who needs an extra year to complete a program or thinks they might, this is the best option.
Bucks has a fairly rigid course schedule which is as follows:
Entry Requirement: 2:1 in a social science degree or relevant work experience. Where: Bucks University. Dates: September. Duration:2 years. Price: £8,750 1 year.
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Anglia Ruskin University is the latest in the UK to offer the MAPP course which can be studied in one to three years depending on the mode of study.
The starting time for their MAPP course is in September or January of each year and can choose to study online, or onsite at either the Cambridge or Paris campus. Anglia Ruskin University’s MAPP program has a flexible curriculum. There are three core classes (including the capstone project) and students can select from a wide range of additional modules. The Core Modules are: Introduction to Positive Psychology, Research Methods for Psychology and Major Psychology Project.
Applicants can have an undergraduate degree in any discipline, though certain grade requirements apply depending on where one got their degree. Anglia Ruskin’s MAPP program is best for people who live in Europe and have no problem traveling between Cambridge and Paris, as well as people who are looking to personalize their learning with a flexible curriculum.
Entry Requirement: undergraduate degree Where: Cambridge and Paris. Dates: September or January. Duration: 1-3 years Price: £10,200 ft and £5,100 pt.
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University of East London (UEL) was the first in the UK to offer a postgraduate programme (MSc) in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP).
The course is taught by pioneers in the field and the department is a leading institution in research on positive psychology.
The UEL used to offer a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology as well as a Masters in Coaching Psychology. They have now combined these two degrees because they feel that coaching psychology is so deeply steeped in positive psychology.
The program offers two intermediate awards:
However, most students in this course aim for the master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). Degree-seekers can begin in either January or September, and anyone interested can apply online.
The requirements to apply are an undergraduate degree in a social science as well as specific grade qualifications depending on the country your undergraduate degree is from.
This program is the best option for anyone who wishes to learn positive psychology as part of a coaching practice, as it explicitly intertwines coaching psychology and positive psychology, unlike many of the other courses. It is also an attractive option because of its flexibility, as it can either be undertaken as a full-time program for people who want to complete it quickly, and a part-time program for people who want to take it alongside other commitments.
Entry Requirement: Minimum 2.1 honours degree, preferably in Social Sciences. Where: University of East London. Dates: September or January. Duration: 1,5 or 2,5 year. Price: £9,660 fulltime.
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The University of Pennsylvania (Dr Martin Seligman) was the first in the world to establish a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP).
Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology began the Positive Psychology Centre at UPenn in hopes of promoting education and research in the field. This is the most famous centre for the training of Positive Psychology and the related research, particularly in education and for the US Army.
The UPenn MAPP program aims to increase the use of positive interventions worldwide and attracts applicants from a variety of professions stimulating a dynamic and diverse learning experience. The MAPP is also a foundational post graduate qualification for those aspiring to pursue a Ph.D. It consists of 3 semesters covering 9 modules:
Each module is presented in one intensive on-site learning weekend a month. In between students apply, practice and engage in a variety of online learning platforms. This structure supports those working full time as lessons can be applied to real life.
In the final semester, students take part in the Capstone Project where they can apply the new knowledge with their particular profession.
Entry Requirement: bachelor degree min 3.0 grade point average. Where: Philadelphia. Dates: September. Duration: 1 year. Price: $60,837.
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Life University is a private university in Atlanta that offers a number of undergraduate and post-graduate programmes including a MAPP.
Life University’s MAPPuniquely offers three different approaches on the way to the degree. These tracks are defined as General, Coaching Psychology, and Secular Ethics and Contemplative Science.
All three tracks teach an:
but then they specialize depending on the focus. The coaching and general tracks are offered online, though there are also a few components which require being physically present on campus, so they cannot be done completely remotely.
The Secular Ethics and Contemplative Science track appears to be offered only on-campus and requires roughly two years of study, while the Coaching and General online tracks require roughly one year of study.
Life University’s MAPP program is best for people who wish to specialize in a certain type of positive psychology rather than learning about the field at large.
The fact that two of its three tracks can be completed in a year may also be attractive to people who wish to complete their degree in a shorter amount of time at a more-intensive rate.
Entry Requirement: / Where: on-campus, online. Dates: several dates. Duration: 1 year or 2 years. Price: different prices.
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The University of Melbourne offers a comprehensive MAPP course, which is well established and offers a multidisciplinary platform for learning. The course focuses on the principles and applications of positive psychology, with a strong research component. It also enhances its learners experience with a specific module on positive leadership and organisations, which makes this MAPP stand out.
Starting in February of each year, this MAPP program, has a flexible time frame ranging from 1 year (full time) to 2 years (part-time). The program includes three 2 day intensive onsite sessions over the whole duration of the course, making it easily accessible from anywhere in the world.
The curriculum consists of 4 core subjects (including a capstone project). Assessment and learning will take place through case studies, role plays, debates, research activities and so on. As a student you will be encouraged to apply the principles of positive psychology to your own life. The themes are:
The University of Melbourne’s is the best option for people who already have extensive experience as it has fairly strict entry requirements. They request not only an undergraduate degree but also either professional experience, postgraduate study, or some combination of the two.
Entry Requirement: Undergraduate degree + relevant prof experience or postgraduate study. Where: University of Melbourne. Dates: February. Duration: 1 year or 2 years. Price: /.
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The North-West University was established in January 2004 through the merger of two other universities, but these days it is considered as one of the best-managed and most innovative universities in South Africa.
This Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at North-West University on the Potchefstroom Campus in South Africa, strives to uphold the conviction that recognizing one’s strengths and potential is essential to facilitating human growth.
The MAPP program at North-West University focuses on assessment methods and data analyses so that graduates of the program are well-equipped to start designing and carrying out their own experiments within the field.
The program is “presented in four weekly sessions per year on campus”, and the website stresses that the degree is “a specialized degree in Positive Psychology and not a clinical qualification”.
The program examines key areas of interest in positive psychology such as positive emotions, the experience of meaning, optimism, and resilience.
The University also offers the first positive psychology conference within the continent of Africa. For this reason, The MAPP at North-West University is the best option for people who wish to extend their learning and apply it within the African continent.
Entry Requirement: / Where: Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa. Dates: / Duration: / Price: /.
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Universitat Jaume I in Castello is the first in Spain to offer a Master in Applied Positive Psychology. This MAPP program is supported by the Spanish Society of Positive Psychology (SEPP).
You can follow this program both on-campus as online. The starting time of the MAPP course is in October and it takes 1 year to complete.
The program is focused on the latest developments in the positive psychology field. It also aims to teach you how to apply positive psychology in your life and work.
The program includes 10 compulsory courses, a seminar on entrepreneurship and creativity, a practice based course and a final project. The 10 compulsory modules are:
Entry Requirement: university graduates. Where: Universitat Jaume I de Castellón. Dates: October. Duration: 1 year. Price: €2200,-.
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MAPP is the best way for positive psychology enthusiasts to explore the theory and practice behind this new field of psychology and study wellbeing, strengths and meaning in life. MAPP graduates gain a respectable qualification in the latest psychological discipline that is dubbed as the science of flourishing, both for individuals and organisations. More and more, we get to see clinical psychologists, nurses, counsellors, psychotherapists, physicians, teachers, youth workers and social workers take MAPP and use positive psychology theories, research and interventions in their practice.
Other MAPP graduates usually develop their careers in coaching or consultancy where they use theories and techniques of positive psychology to help executives, businesses and their employees move to a higher level of productivity and performance. All sorts of other organisations seek to hire a positive psychology practitioner (i.e. a MAPP graduate). They mostly include; colleges, universities, charities and organisations that specialise in healthcare and wellbeing.
For example, I am an experienced performance coach with more than twelve years of experience working with various individuals and organisations. I started reading positive psychology books and using positive psychology theories about six years ago. Fortunately, last year I’ve got the chance to formally study positive psychology (MAPP) and it has already made a big difference in my performance. I believe positive psychology is the closest scientific topic to coaching than any other discipline.
Just think about what a coach would say when asked about his/her work. “I work with people to help them feel better, perform more effectively, and live a better life enhance with purpose and meaning”. It’s as if you ask a positive psychology practitioner to define positive psychology. At the moment, I am thinking about doing a Ph.D. in positive psychology.
MAPP curriculum covers an extensive range of topics consisting of; strengths and virtues (including; courage, wisdom, open-mindedness, curiosity, etc.), positive emotions (including; happiness, hope, serenity, love, etc.), wellbeing (hedonic and eudaimonic), fulfilment, purpose and meaning, positive relationships, resilience, consciousness and spirituality. This list, which is not exhaustive at all, clearly shows how incredibly wide the scope of the course is and hence how wide-ranging the practical applications of it.
Be sure to check out our page of positive psychology degrees as well!