• Study mode: Flexible Distributed Learning
  • Location: High Wycombe | Missenden Abbey
  • Duration: Three Years
  • Start Date: September 2020

Course Overview

Studying our MSc Applied Positive Psychology programme can be life-changing. Our course aims to equip you to master positive psychology skills that will help you to flourish. Discover the nature of happiness and what makes people thrive. 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.

We don't assume our students have a background in Psychology but we will ask you what goals you have for undertaking the programme and how you wish to use the subject in your life. If you can answer these questions and also have energy and focus in what you study, we'll then be able to give you the grounding and skills you need to apply your knowledge in a critically reflective way.

Previous students have said what a positive impact the course has had on their lives and described the experience as one of personal growth and transformation that influences personal as well as career opportunities.

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.

This course is approved by the British Psychological Society for the purposes of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

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Course Details

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
Learning materials including online lectures are all uploaded monthly onto our virtual learning environment for you to peruse at your own pace. 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 boards and peer action learning sets (study groups) 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 optional monthly weekend workshops to support your learning. You may also undertake the course fully via distance learning.

The full MSc Applied Psychology takes three years to complete, and can dedicate the last year to your dissertation, however you can choose to study over two years. There is also the choice of completing the Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma that does not involve completing a dissertation project. The Postgraduate Certificate runs from October to May and is a popular option with students who would like to gain the fundamentals of positive psychology and what makes life most worth living, without committing to the full master’s programme.

Workshop dates for 2020-2021:

10-11 Oct 2020 – Missenden Abbey*
7-8 Nov – Missenden Abbey*
5-6 Dec – High Wycombe*
16-17 Jan 2021 – Missenden Abbey*
6-7 Feb – Missenden Abbey
13-14 Mar – High Wycombe
10-11 Apr – Missenden Abbey
8-9 May – Missenden Abbey

*COVID-19 UPDATE: Please note that due to the current Covid-19 pandemic situation, it is highly likely that we will be holding some or all of our weekend workshops for at least the first semester of the year (Oct-Jan) online, rather than in person at Missenden Abbey/the High Wycombe campus. We are closely following government and medical guidelines as we carefully plan how we manage the move back to campus-based learning when we’re sure it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, we’re offering a full range of remote learning, teaching and assessment. In collaboration with Bucks Students’ Union, we’re continuing to work hard to provide an experience that ensures our students reach their full potential.

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. Although the course is popular and numbers have been growing, we continue to value and encourage ways of learning and teaching in small groups where possible to make sure you get the personal support you need on the course.

We invite students to choose assignments on these subjects that reflect their own goals and interests. In this way the course becomes heavily tailored to your specific goals. As a course team our wish is to relate to the goals and aspirations of individuals and to support them in that journey.

Recent feedback from students describe a flexible and supportive learning environment in which you can build bonds with colleagues, and the subjects within positive psychology. They have described the experience as one of personal growth and transformation that influences personal as well as career opportunities.

What are the course entry requirements?

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

We encourage anyone interested in the course to come to our Postgraduate and Professional Open Day to meet with our specialist course team.

If you’re unable to make it to our High Wycombe Campus, we offer an online session as part of these days. Please contact us and we can arrange for you to have an informal discussion about the course with one of the course leaders.

We are currently accepting applications for September 2020 entry; however spaces are filling up fast and we may need to move to a waitlist once the course reaches capacity, so early application is encouraged. The deadline for applying for the course is end of day July 31st . We may consider late applications for waitlisting. Contact us on 0330 123 2023 or email advice@bucks.ac.uk to find out more.

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

Students who have completed the ‘Post Graduate Diploma in Positive Psychology’ from the University of Iceland will automatically qualify to enter with advanced standing and must complete the following modules: (PS738) Applied Research Skills, (PS739) Data Analysis and Interpretation, and (PS740) Postgraduate Dissertation.

Not sure if Positive Psychology is for you?

If you are interested in studying Positive Psychology at Bucks New University, but haven't quite made up your mind, or want to know more about the subject first, then you may be interested in an online Introduction to Positive Psychology course, endorsed by Bucks New University and delivered by Positive Psychology Learning.

The Introduction to Positive Psychology online course, presents an overview of the main subjects covered on the MSc Applied Positive Psychology programme. Topics include a definition of positive psychology, happiness, emotions, gratitude, flourishing, strengths, resilience, growth mindset and hope theory.

The course is presented by Lesley Lyle (MAPP), who was on the first cohort of the MAPP course at Bucks, and Dr Piers Worth, the creator and leader of the MAPP course, now retired. They will be able to give you an insight into how the MAPP course is run and Lesley will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding work/life balance as a part-time student.

On completion of the Introduction to Positive Psychology short course, applicants for the Bucks MAPP course will qualify for a 10% discount on their university course tuition fees; they must have completed the course prior to enrolment on the Bucks MAPP course.

Are you looking for a shorter course that can teach you to apply principles of positive psychology to coaching practice?

If so, you might want to consider another short course offered by the university: Positive Psychology in Coaching.

Course Modules

Year 1 Modules

  • 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 2 Modules

  • The Journey of Change
  • Applied Research Skills
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Positive Psychology in Practice

Year 3 Modules

  • Postgraduate Dissertation


How much does it cost

Flexible Distributed Learning Home and EU, Academic Year 2020-2021: £3,350 per year

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

You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

Contact our Enquiries Team:
0330 123 2023

How do I apply?

For application details please visit bucks.ac.uk/applying-to-bucks

Student Testimonials

Our students are our best ambassadors and their voices here will provide you with a clear sense of their Bucks experience.

Image of Siobhan Connolly-Hogan

Siobhan Connolly-Hogan

  • Year studied at Bucks: 2020 Graduate

It is difficult to put into words how wonderful the MAPP journey has been for me.  It has quite honestly been one of the best life-decisions I have made. That is not to say, it was not without its challenges but I can honestly say I have thrown my everything into it. The first time I went to university, nearly thirty years previously, let’s just say the learning was not high on my priority list.

Where to begin to explain how amazing it studying a MAPP at Bucks was the fellow students I shared the journey with, now life-long friends and the wonderful inspiring lecturers each a testimony to real-life positive psychology.

Positive Psychology, itself the science of happiness and wellbeing, now in its second wave, so exciting to be part of something amazing, fresh and above all; current and needed. I have also gained new perspectives I have gained on my own life as well as the valuable learning rubbing-off on my family and friends. The strength, courage and confidence I have gained to deal with my own and others pain, weaknesses and suffering.

MAPP has also taught me the enhanced cognitive ability that comes from studying a masters. Joining the network of amazing pp people all over the world. As well as giving me the personal development, confidence and growth as a direct result from all the interventions.

Before I began my MAPP I met with a pp coach and she said I almost envy you starting out…I get why she said that now! Do yourself a massive favour, do the MAPP and enjoy every step of it.

Image of Ingrid Kuhlman

Ingrid Kuhlman

In 2016 I completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Positive Psychology from the University of Iceland. One of the reasons why I chose Buckinghamshire New University to obtain my MSc Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP), apart from its excellent reputation, is that it allowed me to enter with advanced standing.

I work as a management consultant and trainer for my own company in Iceland, and after I finished the MAPP in 2018, I have been giving training courses and applied positive psychology principles to increase individual, business and collective well-being. I find that organisations increasingly realise the value of positive psychology to exceptional workplace performance. Apart from my work, I have also applied positive psychology principles in my personal life to increase my well-being.

The MAPP was very beneficial for me, both personally and professionally, and delivered comprehensive, university-level content in practical and applied contexts. It equipped me with a wealth of knowledge, skills and competence as well as practical tools. The supervisors were inspiring and offered positive guidance, useful feedback and encouragement throughout the course. They also provided a safe and human learning environment and were extremely open to any questions we had. Looking back, finishing the MAPP at Bucks was an extraordinarily engaging and fulfilling experience.


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. (See Ingrid’s story below). 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 Big Deal

At Bucks, we believe in putting our students first. That’s why our Students’ Union have developed our exclusive ‘Big Deal’ package. We’re the only university in the UK to offer free access to such a diverse and exciting range of activities – all to enrich the university experience.

We offer FREE events and entertainment, additional skills workshops, sports, recreational activities, societies and paid student rep schemes. All at one of the top 10 Students’ Unions in the UK.  It’s a big deal!

We are proud that our exciting and dynamic students’ union is ranked in the top three in the UK for representing student’s academic interests (NSS 2020). It’s a big deal!

Want to find out more? Visit our Students’ Union page or watch our video.