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Master of Applied Positive Psychology Courses and Curriculum 
Online MAPP Degree Program

The Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at PCOM is a 30-credit, entirely online program. The MAPP program is designed to be completed on a full time basis in one year.

Core Concepts in Positive Psychology

Courses in the MAPP program explore positive experiences and well-being at individual, social, and institutional levels. Key areas of focus include positive emotions, enjoyable and meaningful activities, supportive relationships, meaning in life, accomplishments, and physical wellness. Students learn about research and applied practices within each of these areas.

Students will learn from a didactic and experiential perspective, applying their course knowledge to help participants in the Health Support and A Happier You programs incorporate positive psychology approaches into their daily lives.

Motivational Interviewing

The Master of Applied Positive Psychology online program curriculum includes a strong emphasis on motivational interviewing—a person-centered, evidence-based style of communication that guides people toward making positive changes consistent with their personal values. At its core, motivational interviewing encompasses a positive view of human nature directly aligned with the tenets of positive psychology: namely, that everyone comes to the table of change with everything they already need within them to grow in positive, healthy directions.

The motivational interviewing spirit includes viewing people as experts in themselves and partners in the change process, rather than as passive recipients. Motivational interviewing is also a skill set in which the interviewer emphasizes affirmation, empathy, character strengths, past successes, empowerment and hope.

MAPP Program Capstone Project

During the Spring term of the program, each student will complete a capstone project consisting of the development, implementation, and evaluation of a positive psychology intervention at a systems, group, or individual level.

Master of Applied Positive Psychology Courses

Terms, sequences, courses and credit hours listed below are subject to change at any time without notice.

TERM 1: FALL
Total = 10 credits
TERM 2: WINTER
Total = 10 credits
TERM 3: SPRING
Total = 10 credits
Introduction to Positive Psychology
(3 credits)
Research Methods and Evaluation in Positive Psychology
(3 credits)
Building Positive Institutions and Systems
(3 credits)
Motivational Interviewing and Health Behavior Change
(3 credits)
Mindfulness, Positive Emotions and Well-Being
(3 credits)
The Intersection of CBT and Positive Psychology
(3 credits)
Biopsychosocial Basis of Health and Wellness
(3 credits)
Positive Psychology Approaches Across the Lifespan
(3 credits)
Capstone Project: Positive Psychology and Healthcare
(3 credits)
Practicum in A Happier You and Health Support Program
(1 credit)
Practicum in A Happier You and Health Support Program
(1 credit)
Practicum in A Happier You and Health Support Program
(1 credit)

Positive Psychology Courses

Introduction to Positive Psychology

This introductory course introduces the basic themes central to the study and application of positive psychology, including the nature of well-being, happiness, peak performance, personality characteristics, positive health, creativity, and spirituality. Students will be introduced to key research in the field, models of flourishing, and specific applications at individual, family, community, and organizational levels.

Motivational Interviewing and Health Behavior Change

With its person-centered style and humanistic roots, Motivational Interviewing is a natural complement to positive psychology applications. In this introductory course, students will learn the spirit, method, and research around MI that makes it a powerful conversational approach to enhance readiness for positive change. The course will focus in particular on applications to healthy lifestyle motivation, including the areas of diet and exercise. Taught by a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, this is a skill-centered course that will give students experiential exercises to learn core MI skills and the necessary attitudinal stance.

Biopsychosocial Basis of Health and Wellness

What are the mind-body connections which contribute to physical, social, and emotional health and happiness? This course answers that question by examining key correlates of holistic well-being. This includes understanding preventive health, the body’s stress response, psychoneuroimmunology, neurotransmission, pain and pleasure experiences, wellness during the pandemic, longevity, disease management, cardiac health, physical activity, nutrition, biofeedback processes, and meditation.

Practicum I in the Health Support Program and A Happier You

Students will have two structured programmatic opportunities to experience applied positive psychology virtual interventions in community settings: 1) by observing and participating in A Happier You session, which is a 7-week multi-component positive psychology group program, and 2) observing and participating in the Health Support Program, a community-based motivational interviewing intervention focused on healthy lifestyles and stress management. Students can expect to spend about 50 hours of time completing Practicum I.

Research Methods and Evaluation in Positive Psychology

This course will introduce students to a wide range of qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of well-being at the intraindividual and interindividual levels. Students will gain familiarity with basic statistical and assessment concepts. These include reliability, validity, factor analysis, ANOVA, and regression. Concepts will be presented through the lens of specific studies conducted in positive psychology, which serve as models of sound psychometric and methodological design.

Mindfulness, Positive Emotions, and Well-Being

Mindfulness practice has a growing empirical connection to well-being and has often been incorporated into positive psychology interventions. This course will introduce students to the foundation and practice of mindfulness, as well as its connection to positive physical, social, and emotional states and overall life satisfaction. Students will learn how to guide a variety of core mindfulness practices, including mindfulness of breath, body scans, and compassion practices. Additionally, the neurobiological basis of positive emotional experience, central to positive psychology and well-being models (e.g., Broaden-and-Build), will be explored.

Positive Psychology Approaches Across the Lifespan

This course explores how people grow and develop over time in healthy ways. It covers stage models of development, positive youth development, thriving in early and middle adulthood, and successful aging. Particular attention is paid to cultural differences in healthy development as well as practices that nurture resilience across the lifespan. Emphasis is placed on existential and values-based applications in positive psychology.

Practicum II in the Health Support Program and A Happier You

During this term, students continue to develop their group psychoeducation and facilitation skills in A Happier You, transitioning from the role of participant to facilitator—while also demonstrating mastery over the content. They also become more active in applying motivational interviewing skills in the Health Support Program, co-facilitating these sessions. Students can expect to spend about 50 hours of time completing Practicum II.

Building Positive Institutions and Systems

This course focuses on the culturally informed application of positive psychological approaches within organizations and systems, including schools, businesses, and healthcare. Positive leadership models will be examined, along with practical ways of creating optimal workplace cultures, fostering positive engagement and performance, enhancing decision-making and communication, and designing transformative collaborations. The interconnection of advocacy, altruism, and positive psychology will be discussed as well.

The Intersection of CBT and Positive Psychology

Cognitive-behavioral models of change, although traditionally focused on correcting maladaptive thinking-feeling-doing patterns, can also serve as an effective framework for understanding how positive psychology applications lead to sustainable well-being. The relationship between positive and negative life experiences will be explored, along with the role of acceptance-based approaches. While students are not expected to become CBT clinicians after this course, they will be able to more accurately identify core mechanisms of adaptive, maladaptive, and optimal functioning that can help in designing effective positive psychology interventions.

Capstone Project: Positive Psychology and Healthcare

Students will use their knowledge and skills gained in the program to design a culturally informed positive psychology intervention with an outcomes assessment, present its research base, and a plan to implement it in some form in the community. Some aspect of the project must address the biopsychosocial basis of well-being.

Practicum III in the Health Support Program and A Happier You

In this final practicum term, students are expected to demonstrate greater autonomy and mastery in group psychoeducation and facilitation, proficient use of motivational interviewing as indicated through an MI rating scale, and the application of basic stress management approaches that include guided mindfulness exercises. They will also have an opportunity to take the certification exam for A Happier You, which has knowledge-based and skills-based observation components.

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