“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela
The interest in positive psychology is rapidly expanding. Progress in scientific research is advancing our understanding of positive human functioning and there are more courses, degrees, workshops, conferences and associations than ever before.
Below is a list of where and how you can get a degree in positive psychology.
Masters Degree in Positive Psychology
1. University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania was home to the first Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). It was the first institution to offer a masters degree and continues to be the most famous centre for positive psychology training.
In this degree, relocation to Philadelphia is not necessary. The program format consists of 10 required on-site visits to the university, where students and faculty get together for intensive weekends of learning and networking.
Who can apply?
There are no requirements of specific previous courses. The program is designed for people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Recommendations for admission include a strong quantitive background and well-articulated objectives for attending the program.
2. Claremont Graduate University
Claremont Graduate University was the first institution to offer a PHD and a MA program in positive psychology.
“The Quality of Life Research” in Claremont University was founded in 1999, providing an opportunity to those interested to conduct research on a large number of themes related to positive psychology, such as creativity, engagement, intrinsic motivation and responsibility.
Graduate programs of positive psychology were launched in 2007 through the School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation.
Ph.D. programs in Positive Organizational Psychology and Positive Developmenal Psychology offer research training in this field.
At the masters level, this university offers an M.A. co-concentration in Evaluation and, either Positive Organizational Psychology or Positive Developmental Psychology.
Both of the programs bring a strong focus to the importance of understanding positive developmental processes and prevention, promotion and optimization.
Who can apply?
Background in Psychology is required.
3. University of East London
The University of East London was also a pioneer in launching MSc courses in coaching psychology and applied positive psychology. This course is offered on campus and by distance learning. It’s the first course in the world to offer a unique combination of coaching and positive psychology.
Who can apply?
Anyone with a minimum 2.1 honours degree, preferably in Social Sciences. Generally a grade C in GCSE English and Maths is expected and all applicants are required to attend an interview.
4. Bucks New University
This positive psychology degree is offered in a part-time format over 2 years of training.
Bucks New University facilitates the exploration of cutting-edge ideas in this field, as well as a chance to further its development. Suited for people active in the field of human resources, organizational development, psychotherapy, counseling or teaching.
This course encourages the application of each student’s skills while studying the knowledge and applications of positive psychology. Evaluation will consist mainly of personally chosen projects.
Faculty from the university’s own psychology department, as well as guest experts ensure this course is taught in an engaging and professional manner.
Who can apply?
This course is open to people with different backgrounds. A degree in psychology isn’t required. The program will offer the knowledge and skills to apply positive psychology in a critically reflective way.
5. University of Lisbon
In March 2012, James Pawelski, from Penn University launched the first edition of this program. Students from very different backgrounds ranging from management, to economy, law, history and many others were given chances to study with international faculty and lecturers like Antonella Delle Fave, Chiara Ruini, Luigino Bruni, Carmelo Vazquez, Ruut Veenhoven, Carol Ryff, Ilona Boniwell and Miriam Akhtar.
Students can attend either 2 or 3 semesters.
Who can apply?
This program is open to anyone with a bachelors degree. No background in psychology is required.
6. Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico)
The Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de Mexico offers a postgraduate course in Positive Psychology. The objective of the course is to get an insight into the latest research findings on psychological wellbeing.
The knowledge obtained in this course can be applied to the students professional fields and should improve their own satisfaction, happiness and quality of life.
The course consists of 105 hours of class and the fee for the course is $32,600. For further information you can contact the instructor Margarita Tarragona via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Who can apply?
Students from different fields are welcome, such as psychology, education, medicine and others. A bachelor’s degree or higher is required.
7. North-West University, South Africa
A Masters in Applied Positive Psychology is presented at the North-West University on the Potchefstroom Campus. It’s a specialized degree in Positive Psychology, not a clinical qualification, and does not provide registration at the HPCSA.
This program consists of four weekly sessions per year on campus where students acquire a thorough knowledge and deep understanding of positive psychology in terms of the theory, research and intellectual background.
Who can apply?
Students from different backgrounds are welcome.
8. University of Melbourne, Australia
The Melbourne Graduate School of Education, from the University of Melbourne offers a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). Students can attend either 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.
This course provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to competently use positive psychology theory and practice.
It has a strong focus on critical thinking and promotes scientific methods. Students will be engaged in a variety of both theoretical and applied tasks.
At the end of the program, students will have a strong understanding of how to successfully apply positive psychology.
For more info on this course, visit the University of Melbourne‘s website.
Who can apply?
- People with an undergraduate degree and at least five years of documented relevant professional experience,
- People with an undergraduate degree and at least one year of relevant postgraduate study, or
- People with an undergraduate degree, at least six months of relevant postgraduate study and at least two years of documented relevant professional experience.
Certificate in Positive Psychology
If you don’t wish to pursue formal postgraduate studies in positive psychology, you might want to consider the following trainings that offer a certificate in positive psychology.
9. The Flourishing Center (USA, Canada & online)
The Flourishing Center offers the course Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP).
This is a 6 month-long course (200 hours) composed of 6 modules: positivity, engagement, relationships, meaning, achievement and vitality.
Cohorts start in Boston, Chicago, Raleigh, Dallas, Philadelphia, Miami, San Francisco, New York, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington, DC.
CAPP is also available in an online format for students outside the US & Canada. This version has a 9 month duration and for each module there is one weekend on site, online classes, webinars and interviews with leading positive psychology experts.
Students are provided with slides, worksheets, audio materials, videos and lots of materials to repurpose in the application of PP.
The cost of the program ranges from $4,200 – $4,800.
10. Kripalu Center (Boston, USA)
Kripalu Center offers a Certificate in Positive Psychology, under the supervision of Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, cofounder and Chief Learning Officer for Wholebeing Institute.
The course is structured in a combination of on-campus and online studies, spread over eleven months.
Students will become familiar with the theory, tools and research in the field of positive psychology, which will impact the quality of their own lives by becoming proficient when it comes to leadership, coaching, parenting, and teaching.
You’ll find more information about this course at the Certificate of Whole Person Positive Psychology.
11. Langley Group Institute
The Langley Group Institute, founded by Sue Langley offers a Diploma of Positive Psychology & Wellbeing in Australia (and New Zealand, UK and Canada with more locations coming soon).
This Diploma (10030NAT) provides training for coaches, psychologists, educators and other busy professionals eager to learn how to apply positive psychology in their own work and lives.
In a flexible approach, yet featuring university-level content, this course is a combination of face-to-face and online learning and work-based activities.
Candidates can gain expertise in positive coaching, leadership, human resources, education, parenting or community.
It is the first government accredited Diploma in positive psychology and is approved by the British Psychological Society (BPS) Learning Centre for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
Positive Psychology MOOC’s (massive online open course)
Edx offers The Science of Happiness, the first MOOC to teach positive psychology. It’s a free (or obtain a verified certificate for 49$) eight week course, created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.
This course will “zero in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social connections and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good”.
Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, the courses’s co-instructors will lead students through practical strategies to nurture their own happiness and invite students to explore how happiness changes along the way.
Guest experts like Barbara Fredrickson, Paul Ekman, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Jon Kabat-Zinn will join to discuss themes like empathy, mindfulness and gratitude.
Created by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and taught by leading positive psychology researcher and author Barbara Fredrickson.
This course discusses research findings in positive psycology and offers practical applications that students can put to use to live full and meaningful lives.
Learn about positive emotions, positivity resonance and loving kindness meditation, the mindscapes and outcomes of positivity and other positive psychology topics.
A new course starts October 24th.
“Every addition to true knowledge, is an addition to human power.”
– Horace Mann
We hope this helps, and we’d love to know what other positive psychology resources would be useful for you, as one of our missions is to provide valuable content for our readers. Leave a comment below.