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Applied Positive Psychology

Applied Positive Psychology focuses on questions that enable you, and the people around you, to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives. From discovering strengths and the importance of positive emotion to ways of fostering hope and building resilience, the course offers the chance to develop knowledge and skills for professional and personal development.

Qualification: MSc

Credits: 180

Study mode: Flexible Distributed Learning

Location: High Wycombe Campus and Missenden Abbey

Duration: Two years

Start date: September

Is this course for me?

How does science define happiness? What does it mean to flourish? Would you be able to name your 'strengths' or those of others? These are all questions you will explore and answer while studying Applied Positive Psychology. Whatever work you do, whether you're a teacher, counsellor, coach, or team leader, Applied Positive Psychology can help you find ways to improve your own wellbeing and performance, as well as that of others.

The course encourages you to build on your existing skills and experience while exploring how you can use Positive Psychology in your day-to- day life.

We don't assume our students have a background in Psychology. We'll give you the grounding and skills you need to apply your knowledge in a critically reflective way.

Not sure if Positive Psychology is for you?
Are you interested in studying Positive Psychology at Bucks New University, but haven't quite made up your mind, or you're not quite sure if it's for you? 

Then you may be interested in a two-day Introduction to Positive Psychology course, endorsed by Bucks New University and run by two graduates from our first cohort of the MSc Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) programme. Dan Collinson and Lesley Lyle are Directors of Positive Psychology Learning and also Associate Lecturers on Bucks' MSc Applied Positive Psychology programme.

On the Introduction to Positive Psychology course, you will get an overview of the main subjects covered on the MSc Applied Positive Psychology programme. As former Bucks students, Dan and Lesley are also able to give you an insight into the MSc from a student's perspective and answer any questions you may have regarding work/life balance as a part time student.

Delegates who attend the Introduction to Positive Psychology course and are subsequently accepted onto one of the Positive Psychology courses at Bucks for September 2017 entry, will qualify for a 10 per cent discount off their University course fees.

Positive Psychology Learning also offer a special discount of more than 50 per cent for the first six places booked on the Introduction to Positive Psychology courses during 2017!

What will this course cover?

Applied Positive Psychology focuses on the scientific study of happiness, wellbeing, purpose, and strength. Looking at these areas, we study how different methods, techniques and ways of working improve performance in a range of settings from education to coaching. You'll learn how to analyse and interpret data and understand the application of research to individuals and organisations.

You'll discover how psychological research has explored the uses of Applied Positive Psychology and how theory has developed over time. You'll also look at the realities of the journey of change and positive psychology processes and methods that support and create this.
In year two you'll complete a dissertation in your area of interest. Past students have developed interventions to improve wellbeing, studied aspects of resilience and researched within schools and organisations. It is also possible to undertake the dissertation in a third year.

As one of the few universities that offer this course, Bucks has strong expertise in this area. Taught by lecturers, visiting experts and practitioners, you'll learn about personal strengths, coaching and positive emotions. Their experiences will shape your learning and inspire you to apply the theories of Applied Positive Psychology.

We value your aspirations and goals and seek to work with you as you achieve them. We'll make sure you develop your expertise in your areas of interest and can get the most out of the course.

Interactive learning experience
As well as lectures, you will also have material online on our virtual learning environment. So, no matter where you are, you can access useful materials to help you on the course from podcasts to readings. You are also encouraged to interact with other students and tutors on online discussion forums in between teaching.

Flexible learning
Bucks offers flexible learning, allowing you to study alongside employment and fit your lifestyle whether you are training to build your skills in your current role or change your career path. We offer monthly weekend workshops to support your learning. You may also undertake the course fully via 'distance' learning to suit your needs and preferences.
Personal teaching approach
At Bucks, our teaching approach is centred around you. We want to support you by showing you how to apply Positive Psychology to your life and career. We teach in small groups to make sure you get the support you need on the course.

Bucks offers you the opportunity to gain skills that will make you stand out from the crowd and change your approach to many situations you face. We'll teach you a range of transferable skills and give you an insight to achieving a fulfilling life, whether it's on a personal level or in the workplace.

Expand all module descriptions

Year One

  • Introduction to Positive Psychology: Happiness, Well-being and Flourishing
  • Strengths-based Development and Engagement
  • Positive Subjective Emotion and Experience
  • The Psychology of Hope and Resilience

Year Two


The full MSc Applied Psychology takes two years to complete on a part-time basis, however you can choose to study over three years and dedicate the last year to your dissertation. There is also the choice of completing the Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma that does not involve completing a dissertation project.
Semester one:
7-8 October 2017: Missenden Abbey

4-5 November 2017: High Wycombe

2-3 December 2017: Missenden Abbey

13-14 January 2018: Missenden Abbey

Semester two:
10-11 February 2018: Missenden Abbey

11-11 March 2018: High Wycombe

7-8 April 2018: Missenden Abbey

12-13 May 2018: High Wycombe

What are the entry requirements?

Students on this course typically have achieved a 2:1 in a social science degree. However others have the equivalent professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience.

We encourage anyone interested in the course to contact the University and the course leaders for an informal discussion about the course and your aspirations for undertaking take it.

For further details of our international English entry requirements, please visit our international pages.

How much does it cost?

Fees for September 2017 to August 2018 entry
We are currently reviewing our fees for this course.

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.

You may be eligible for a postgraduate loan. For further information on financial assistance to support your learning, visit our postgraduate funding section.

Fees for September 2016 to August 2017 entry

Home and EU: £8,750

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.
Fees quoted are for the next intake and are subject to change.

Further information
Find out more about our fees and funding.

Questions about fees?
Contact our Student Centre on:
01494 603 020

Fees quoted are for the next intake and are subject to change. Fee costs for subsequent years are subject to rise with inflation or course delivery costs.

How do I apply?

For application details please visit

What are my career prospects?

Applied Positive Psychology can be used in a wide variety of job roles. Many of our students take advantage of flexible learning and stay in their current role. You'll immediately be able to apply what you learn. You'll see how Positive Psychology can make a huge difference, whether you need to boost morale in your workplace or improve productivity.

Some of our graduates choose to continue their education by completing a PhD. Continuing your education gives you the opportunity to develop your skills further and research your area of interest.

Other graduates have used their new skills to set a business. Positive Psychology Learning (PPL) was set up by two graduates and offers positive psychology courses, consultancy and coaching.

How will you help me prepare for my future career?

Positive Psychology will change the way you look at the world. From a personal perspective you'll understand your happiness and strengths in a different way.

This Applied Positive Psychology course will provide you with a confident skill set that will support you in any career. You'll immediately be able to apply your knowledge to day-
to-day life.

As well as learning theory and application, you will also learn to analyse and interpret a range of types of data and develop a critically reflective approach to your learning.

The course enabled me to realise and utilise my full potential in my personal and working life.

Adam Gibson

I found in undertaking this course that not only has it enhanced my knowledge and skills set when working with clients as a coach, but it has really helped me to grow as a person. This course is delivered in such a way that it facilitates growth and wellbeing both from a professional aspect and a personal one due to being an applied subject.  I highly recommend this course, and having studied for both my BSc (Hons) Psychology degree and the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology with Bucks New University, I have found the teaching staff to be both accommodating and supportive, whilst providing a lively and engaging platform for study of an area of psychology which is rapidly taking the stand next to more mainstream psychology.

Caralyn Bains MBPsS

What I liked most was the amazing insights that I learned over the duration of the course. The tutors were continuously looking to expand the boundaries of the field of Positive Psychology and encouraging students to do so too. I've grown so much as a person as well as in my career. If you choose this course, you won't regret it.

Dan Collinson

The course leaders, lectures and visiting speakers bring the course to life with enthusiasm and dedication to their students. I have been given time, direction and support to explore the frontiers of this exciting branch of psychology and to share my experiences with my colleagues. We have developed mastery through experience, research and collaboration. I’ve connected with likeminded people who care deeply about me, my work and my future. I would highly recommend the course to those interested in studying human behaviour and how we might help others strive for a meaningful life.  Without doubt this is the best investment I’ve made in myself.

Dean Weller

A very interesting, thought provoking, stimulating course. Carefully designed and passionately taught.

Deborah Smith

We have all been well supported in all our modules, feedback is personalised and constructive, and support has been offered at every step of the journey. I cannot recommend this course enough. I have enjoyed it enormously and will be sad for it to finish.

Louisa A Bryan

I have found the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology very stimulating, sometimes challenging and always fun. As an executive coach and developer of leaders, it has given me a solid scientific framework in which to put many of my existing tools and techniques. It has also significantly extended my thinking about people and how to coach and support them to be their best. The course has now re-opened my enjoyment of researching new ideas and making those accessible and beneficial to myself and others.

Rosie Miller