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MSc Applied Positive Psychology

  • Study Mode: Blended Learning
  • Location: High Wycombe / Distance Learning
  • Duration: Two or Three Years
  • Start Date: September 2024

Positive psychology takes a step away from the traditional aspects of behavioural studies and seeks to explore what makes humans flourish and excel within our complex societies.

If you’re fascinated by human behaviour and want to explore exactly what it takes to fulfil our greatest potential in all areas of life, then our Applied Positive Psychology masters is for you. Not only will this course have an incredible impact on your career, you might experience a personal journey and help others do the same.

Prepare to be stretched, challenged, enthralled, to experience growth, and make new, life-long connections.
Reece Coker

Why study this subject?

Positive Psychology can be used in a wide variety of beneficial ways and is arguably one of the most widely applicable subjects out there - everyone and everything wants to be the best they can be and happy, after all.

Applied Positive Psychology focuses on the scientific study of happiness, wellbeing, purpose and strengths. Looking at these areas, we explore how different methods, techniques and ways of working improve performance in a range of settings, from education to organisations and private coaching.  

Positive psychology focuses on distinct research and scientific methodology which is aimed at understanding, developing and influencing your health and well-being, and has been dubbed the psychology of “what makes life worth living”. In contrast to ‘deficit’-focused mainstream psychology, positive psychology explores what is already working and aims to build on the good in people.

You’ll immediately be able to apply what you learn and see how it can make a huge difference both in your professional performance, development and productivity as well as the pursuit of goals and fulfilment in your personal life. Whatever your profession or stage in life, our Applied Positive Psychology programme will help you find ways to improve your own wellbeing and performance, as well as that of others. You’ll discover the nature of happiness and what makes people thrive.

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University

As one of only a few universities worldwide that offer this course, we have strong expertise in Applied Positive Psychology. Taught by lecturers, visiting experts and practitioners from our Centre for Positive Psychology, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about a number of topics relating to Positive Psychology, such as happiness, wellbeing and flourishing, the power of emotions, personal strengths, resilience and hope, prosociality and responsibilities to greater society and nature, coaching, creativity and growth.

We value your aspirations and goals and seek to work with you as you achieve them. Our previous students have told us what a positive impact this course has had on their lives and described the experience as one of personal growth and transformation. Sometimes life can get busy and overwhelming, especially when you’re going through a period of transformation and growth.

We’ll always work with you to make sure you’re comfortable and confident in your studies and our expert teaching team of Positive Psychologists will be there to support you every step of the way. At BNU, 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 to make the world a little better.

As our course gains popularity in a time when wellbeing is thankfully being prioritised more than ever, we continue to value and encourage different ways of learning and teaching to make sure you get the personal support you need.

We are ever-expanding internationally. For example, we have a transfer programme arrangement with the University of Iceland, enabling graduates of their PG Diploma course in Positive Psychology to complete their MSc at BNU. We have also recently opened a new MAPP Canada hub, to enable easier participation of our North American students.

In addition to the unique nature of this course there are some additional benefits to choosing BNU; for a start, our main campus is only 35 minutes from London. We offer the big deal which gives you access to hundreds of free societies, events, trips and talks at no cost. We have one of the best student unions in the UK.

What facilities can I use?

Learning materials are uploaded onto our virtual learning environment for you to go through at your own pace. No matter where you are, you can access useful resources like podcasts, academic journals, presentations and online lectures. Our library is packed with all the information you need for your assignments – you’ll have access to hundreds of specialist books, articles, industry publications and specialist online resources.

Not to mention there’s plenty of room to knuckle down for some quiet study time. We also have a psychology lab and specialist equipment for you to use, should you wish to conduct research for your dissertation, including virtual reality and eye-tracking equipment, an observation suite, Biopac physiological measurement equipment and private experiment facilities.

Hybrid workshops are often held at our beautiful Missenden Abbey conference centre campus in the picturesque town of Great Missenden, which is an idyllic, relaxing, and atmospheric retreat for learning together, should you wish to join these sessions in person.

What will I study?

We don’t assume you have a background in psychology, but we’ll ask you what goals you have for studying the programme and how you wish to apply the subject in your life. If you can answer these questions and have energy and focus in your studies, we can give you the grounding and skills you need to apply your knowledge in a critically reflective way.

Applied Positive Psychology focuses on the scientific study of happiness, wellbeing, purpose and your strengths, amongst other factors in ‘the good life’. Looking at these areas, we explore how different methods, techniques and ways of working improve performance and subjective experience in a range of settings, from education to organisational development to private coaching or just daily personal life. You’ll learn how to analyse and interpret data and understand the factors that need to be considered in the application of research to different situations, including an opportunity to take part in a placement so that you can apply your learning in a real world setting.

You’ll discover how psychological research has explored the uses of Applied Positive Psychology and how theory has developed over time to maximise happiness and wellbeing, emotional regulation, and to help people live their most engaged lives and to flourish.

You will also be given a choice of optional modules so that you can pursue your own particular areas of interest in more depth, which include: how to identify and harness your strengths and those in others; a deeper exploration of systemic, cultural and environmental 'third wave' positive psychology; the realities of the journey of change and Positive Psychology processes and methods that impact development over someone’s lifespan; positive education; understanding and fostering hope & resilience in the face of adversity; the role of creativity and the arts in Positive Psychology; and applying Positive psychology in coaching.

Within most of the assignments on the course, and the final dissertation, we invite you to choose subjects that reflect your own goals, interests and creativity. In this way, the course becomes heavily tailored to your specific goals. As a course team, our wish is to relate to your personal goals and aspirations and to support you in that journey.

How will I be taught and assessed?

We run this course predominantly online, with periodic virtual lunchtime webinars, where together we explore the important concepts in Positive Psychology, giving you a chance to listen and discuss in a formal teaching environment. All course materials, resources and reading lists are posted on our virtual learning environment meaning you can work at your own pace across the course of each module.

We also offer optional weekend workshops (run either in hybrid fashion – i.e., face-to-face and online simultaneously, or online)  to support your learning. These weekends are a great way to interact with your tutors and coursemates to solidify your learning, get involved in fascinating discussions and build an invaluable network with other like-minded Positive Psychologists that will last well beyond the end of the course.

Throughout the course, you’ll be assessed in several ways including reflective assignments, poster and oral presentations, case study reports and research proposals and analysis.

In your final year, you’ll complete a dissertation in an area you feel particularly passionate about. Previous students have developed interventions to improve wellbeing, studied aspects of resilience, happiness and positive emotions, challenged current concepts within Positive Psychology and conducted important research within schools and organisations.

The full MSc takes two years, but you can also take a third year just for your dissertation project. You can also choose to complete just year one and receive a PGCert or two years without dissertation and receive a PGDip.

MSc Applied Positive Psychology Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

If you want to enter this course you will typically have achieved a 2:1 degree or have evidence of the equivalent professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience. We encourage anyone interested in the course to come to our Postgraduate Open Day to meet with our specialist course team.

If you are interested in studying Positive Psychology at Buckinghamshire 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 a short online courseIntroduction to Positive Psychology endorsed by Buckinghamshire New University and delivered via the website Positive Psychology Online Courses. Completion of this short course also entitles you to a 10% discount on subsequent MAPP tuition fees.


This provides a guide of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

Applied Positive Psychology

What are the tuition fees

If you are interested in studying Positive Psychology at Buckinghamshire 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 a short online course, Introduction to Positive Psychology endorsed by Buckinghamshire New University and delivered via the website Positive Psychology Online Courses. Completion of this short course also entitles you to a 10% discount on subsequent MAPP tuition fees.

Home and International fees for students starting Year 1 in Academic Year 2023-2024.

Part time 2 years:

  • Year 1 fees: £3,550
  • Year 2 fees: £7,120

Part time 3 years:

  • Year 1 fees: £3,640
  • Year 2 fees: £3,640
  • Year 3 fees: £3,640

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

What are my career prospects?

Positive Psychology will change the way you look at the world. Our course can provide you with a set of skills that will support you in any career. You’ll immediately be able to apply what you learn in your daily life as well as your professional environment. Some of our graduates choose to continue their education by completing a PhD which would give you the opportunity to develop your skills further whilst researching your area of interest to an even greater depth.

Other graduates have used their degree to start a business, progress further in their current organisation, coach and train others and move into consulting. Our alumni include authors, teachers, entrepreneurs, coaches, academics, HR advisors and therapists. There will also be opportunities within the course to take part in a placement, which will give you valuable contacts and relevant real-world skills to practice what you learn.

Course leader

A head and shoulders shot of a smiling Genevieve Cseh wearing glasses
Dr Genevieve Cseh
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Course Co-Leader for MSc Applied Positive Psychology
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Dr Ceri Sims
  • Associate Professor
  • Course Co-Leader for MSc Applied Positive Psychology
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Dr Matthew Smith
  • Associate Professor
  • Course Leader for MSc Mental Health and Wellbeing in Education
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Dr Piers Worth
  • Visiting Professor
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Kimberley Wakefield
  • Associate Lecturer
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Hannah Dunn
  • Associate Lecturer
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Kate McAllister
  • Associate Lecturer
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Sarah Monk
  • Associate Lecturer
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