Positive Psychology Degree: 13 Opportunities For Eager Students

positive psychology degrees and certificates

The science supporting positive psychology has sparked a huge increase in degree programs.

It makes sense: when we understand the “why” of positive human functioning, we can unlock whatever beliefs block us from our greater potential.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” 

– Nelson Mandela 

Today, there are more courses, degrees, conferences, and associations than ever before. Below is a list of where and how you can get a degree in positive psychology.

Do you know of a degree program that is not listed below? If so, let us know in the comments section.


Masters Degree in Positive Psychology

1. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania offered the first Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). It was the first institution to offer a masters degree, and it is still a renowned place for positive psychology training.

Students study with the legendary founder of the field, Dr. Martin Seligman himself. Additionally, a faculty of lecturers and researchers include James Pawelski, Angela Duckworth and Karen Reivich.

In this degree program, there are 10 required on-site visits to the university. The rest of the program does not require being on campus. During the on-site visits, students and faculty meet for intensive weekends of learning and networking.

Who Can Apply?

There are no requirements of previous psychology courses. Why? The program is designed for people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

For admissions, it is recommended that applicants express their objectives for attending the program and offer a background that would enrich the course itself.


2. Claremont Graduate University

Claremont Graduate University was the first institution to offer a Ph.D. and an M.A. program in positive psychology.

“The Quality of Life Research” at Claremont University was founded in 1999. To this day, the program researches themes related to creativity, engagement, intrinsic motivation, and responsibility.

Their Ph.D. programs are based on Positive Organizational Psychology and Positive Developmental Psychology.

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?

Applicants are required to have a background in psychology.


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 part-time program offers on-campus and distance learning, making it ideal for applicants with part-time jobs and other commitments. The program also offers cutting-edge theory and research to topics around wellbeing and long-term change.

Recent research has included studies about listening to children, behavior management, school leadership, systems analysis, management, educational psychology training, and neuropsychology.

If you are interested in opportunities around life-coaching, this may be the perfect fit.

Who can apply?

Anyone with a minimum 2.1 honors degree can apply, preferably with a background in Social Sciences. Generally, a grade C in GCSE English and Maths is expected.

All applicants will need to 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.

If you are interested in topics around human resources, organizational development, psychotherapy, counseling or teaching, then this program has much to offer. 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.

In year two or three, students complete a dissertation in their area of interest. Past students researched methods to improve client wellbeing, resilience, and organizational psychology.

Who can apply?

This course is open to people from different backgrounds and life experiences. A degree in psychology isn’t required.

The program prioritizes critical reflection, the development of skill sets, and strength-based models of student assets and interests.

5. University of Lisbon

The Institute of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Lisbon offers an Executive Masters in Applied Positive Psychology(EMAPP).

In March 2012, James Pawelski, from Penn University launched the first edition of this program. Students’ background experiences included management, economy, law, history and many others.

An impressive international faculty has included recent 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.

Three areas of concentrated research for this program are gender and culture, vulnerable groups and quality of life, and health psychophysiology. 105 hours of class are required, as well as a course fee of $32,600.

For further information, you can contact the instructor Margarita Tarragona via email: margarita@grupocamposeliseos.com

Who can apply?

The Master’s program is directed to graduates with B.A. or B.Sc. in Psychology and related disciplines such as Education, Pedagogy, Social Work, Nutrition or Medicine.

Students from different backgrounds are still encouraged to apply.


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.

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 and encouraged to apply.

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.

Their education mission at their Center is clear: advance the well-being of young people through the application of Positive Psychology in key learning environments.

Streams of research include Well-being Measurement, Well-being Literacy, and Well-being Systems

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?

Many people are encouraged to apply.

People with an undergraduate degree and at least five years of documented relevant professional experience are great candidates, as are people with an undergraduate degree and at least one year of relevant postgraduate study.

Anyone can also apply who has an undergraduate degree, six months of relevant postgraduate study and a minimum of two years of 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 training that offer a certificate in positive psychology.

This is a great option for people who need to combine online learning with on-campus presence and resources.

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 on 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. Certificate in Wholebeing Positive Psychology – Wholebeing Institute (USA and online)

Experience a whole-person approach to positive psychology and optimal well-being in this 9-month online and on-site course.

Students in this program apply the whole-person approach in areas of leadership, counseling, coaching, parenting, or teaching. This method helps to:

  • Bring about lasting change in individuals and organizations;
  • Create healthy personal and professional relationships;
  • Build positive emotions as well as resilience to deal with painful emotions;
  • Develop self-regard and optimism;

Nine modules encompass the course, two of the modules being onsite.

Students are exposed to many voices and perspectives within a consistent and cohesive learning experience, with weekly video lectures with lead faculty and guest lecturers, as well as content from featured experts.

Whether you want to improve your home life, better your workplace, grow personally or professionally, or start a new career, the Certificate in Wholebeing Positive Psychology offers you in-depth study, world-class faculty, and transformative experiences.

You can read more here.

11. Langley Group Institute

langleyThe Langley Group Institute, founded by Sue Langley offers a Diploma of Positive Psychology & Wellbeing in Australia, New Zealand, the 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.

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)

12. EdX

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 revolves around the idea 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 will lead students through practical strategies to nurture their own happiness, and also 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.

13. Coursera

Created by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this course is taught by leading positive psychology researcher and author Barbara Fredrickson.

This course discusses research findings in positive psychology and offers practical applications that students can put to use to live full and meaningful lives.

Learn about positive emotions, gratitude, positivity resonance, and loving-kindness meditation, the mindscapes, and outcomes of positivity and other positive psychology topics.

Given its prominence, a new course starts regularly.


“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.

Have you pursued a degree in positive psychology? Are there additional programs you have been curious about or recommend?

Leave a comment below.

About the Author

Catarina Lino, BSc., MAPP, is a Positive Psychology coach, writer, teacher and life-long student of behavioral sciences as well as a yoga teacher in Lisbon, Portugal.


  1. Ghadah Ibrahim

    Would it be possible to pursue the degree in the University in lisbon for non -Portuguese English speaking students? Am Saudi teacher, I’ve been teaching for 22 years. Born in 1967. I’d love to get the master degree in positive physicology. If it’s possible what’s the procedure and cost pls.

  2. Tania Khalaf

    Thank you for this post! Its so helpful. Would it be possible to pursue the degree in the University in lisbon for non -Portuguese English speaking students?

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