There are various courses that provide positive psychology enthusiasts with ample opportunities to learn about this fast growing branch of psychology. Some of these courses offer a certificate, some a diploma, and a few lead to a master’s degree (MSc) in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). This long list of institutions (not exhaustive) that offer positive psychology courses, is testament to ever growing popularity of the field. But, 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 wellbeing 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.
Where to get a MAPP degree?
UPenn (United States)
The University of Pennsylvania (Dr Martin Seligman) was the first in the world to establish a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). They are the pioneers of MAPP and the most famous centre for the training of Positive Psychology and the related research, particularly in education and for the US Army. Claremont Graduate University is another well-known universities in the US that provide master’s degree (MA) and PhD in positive psychology.
University of East London (UK)
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. They offer both full-time and part-time courses where students learn about the theories and practices of positive psychology. The course also include a comprehensive module on research. This programme offers two intermediate awards, including; a Postgraduate Certificate and a Postgraduate Diploma. However, most students in this course aim for the master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP).
Bucks New University (UK)
The other university in the UK that offers MAPP is Bucks New University in Buckinghamshire (England). At present (winter 2015), they offer a two-year, part-time MSc course with a somewhat unique curriculum. Nevertheless, they cover mostly the same topics as the UEL, in a slightly different academic programme. They also offer a stand-alone short courses on positive psychology that leads to a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) which comprises of all MAPP modules except the dissertation.
Anglia Ruskin University (UK)
Fortunately more and more universities are joining the prevailing trend in offering MAPP courses. Anglia Ruskin University is the latest in the UK to offer this popular course. Their MSc in Applied Positive Psychology can be studied in one to three years depending on the mode of study. The starting time for the new courses are in September or January of each year. Students can select from a wide range of modules and may study the course at the university or online, either in Cambridge or in Paris.
University of Melbourne (Melbourne, Australia)
The University of Melbourne Graduate School 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. It has a flexible time frame ranging from 1 year of full time study to 2 years of part time study and includes three 2 day intensive onsite sessions over the whole duration of the course, making it easily accessible. Visit the website for more information on the Melbourne Graduate School of Education MAPP or write your inquiry here.
North-West University (South Africa)
Our colleague Gary Cuthbert told us about his joy and excitement of starting MAPP in January this year at the North West University (NWU) in South Africa. The NWU 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. The MAPP program is currently offered in South Africa, only through NWU and has been running since 2010. Nevertheless, it has grown steadily, and it is a popular course. Gary pointed out that his MAPP class, consists of a diverse and interesting group of students with backgrounds from economic and consulting to psychology. Congratulations to Gary and his classmates at NWU. You’ll find more information about this particular MAPP course here.
Life University (Atlanta, USA)
Life University is a private university in Atlanta that offers a number of undergraduate and post-graduate programmes. They have recently introduced a Master’s degree in Positive Psychology (MSPP) which has started in September 2014. Please note that this is not MAPP (Master’s in Applied Positive Psychology) and it is oriented more around coaching and consulting professions. We know that other universities (e.g. UEL) are considering to combine MAPP with coaching that offers positive psychology and coaching qualification in one programme.
What is the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology all about?
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.
Topics typically covered during the MAPP
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!