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Faculty Bios

Each year, we invite world-class researchers and practitioners from around the world to provide instruction for the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program. Together, faculty from the University of Pennsylvania and other preeminent leaders in positive psychology gather to offer students the very best education in the field.

Principal faculty members from the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania

  • Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania; Founding Director, Positive Psychology Center

    A past president of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Seligman is the author of many books, including Learned Optimism, Authentic Happiness and (with Christopher Peterson) Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification.

  • Director of Education and Senior Scholar, Positive Psychology Center

    Dr. Pawelski is the founding director of Penn’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program and an adjunct associate professor of religious studies in the School of Arts and Sciences. He teaches courses on positive interventions and the humanities and human flourishing and is the author of The Dynamic Individualism of William James and articles on the history of philosophy and its application to human development. Dr. Pawelski holds a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust to further his studies into “The Humanities and the Science of Well-Being: Toward a Strategic Collaboration for Understanding, Measuring, and Cultivating Human Flourishing.” He has served as editor of the philosophy section of the Oxford Handbook of Happiness, co-editor of The Eudaimonic Turn: Well-Being in Literary Studies, and co-editor of On Human Flourishing: An Anthology of Poems. An international keynote speaker who regularly makes presentations in Spanish as well as English, he has given talks in more than 20 countries on six continents. He holds a number of key leadership positions, including founding Executive Director of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA), President of the William James Society, and Member of the Steering Committee of the International Positive Education Network (IPEN). Dr. Pawelski is the recipient of a Practice Excellence Award from the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, as well as the Humanitarian Innovation Award for the Humanities, Arts, and Culture from the Humanities Innovation Forum at the United Nations. He has been featured in major U.S. and international media, including the New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Chronicle of Higher Education, El Norte (Mexico), and Perfil (Argentina), and he has appeared on various television networks such as NBC (The Today Show), Globo, Univisión, and Toronto Public Television.

  • Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

    Dr. Duckworth studies noncognitive predictors of achievement. In recent studies, she has demonstrated the dramatic impact of self-control on academic achievement and the benefits of direct interventions designed to increase self-control competence in children. Another area of research interest is grit, defined as passionate perseverance in the pursuit of a long-term goal. Grit has been shown to be a strong predictor of performance in especially challenging situations, such as the United States Military Academy at West Point and the National Spelling Bee. Dr. Duckworth received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2013.

  • Research Associate, Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania

    Dr. Reivich codirects the Penn Resiliency Program, is an investigator on a grant from the Department of Education to teach positive psychology to ninth grade students, and lectures extensively to educators, parents and business leaders on the topics of resilience, depression prevention and positive psychology. She is the coauthor of The Resilience Factor and is the master trainer for the Positive Psychology Center's educational projects in the UK and Australia.

Current and former instructors

  • Professor of Psychology, Yale University

    Dr. Bloom's research interests include the development and nature of our common-sense understanding of ourselves and other people. His current research explores the following areas: bodies and souls, art and fiction, and moral reasoning.

  • Associate Professor of Psychology, Swarthmore College; Codirector of the Penn Resiliency Project, University of Pennsylvania

    Dr. Gillham is a clinical psychologist, researcher and educator. Much of her work focuses on developing and evaluating programs that promote resilience and well-being in children and adolescents. She has coauthored several well-being programs, including the Penn Resiliency Program for Children and Adolescents, the Penn Resiliency Program for parents, the APEX program and (recently) a high school positive psychology program.

  • Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

    Dr. Grant is an organizational psychologist specializing in work motivation, job design, prosocial helping and giving behaviors, and employee initiative and proactivity. He is also the author of Give and Take. He earned his PhD from the University of Michigan and his BA from Harvard University, and he has more than 40 publications in leading management and psychology journals, earning research awards from the NSF, APA, SIOP and AAPSS. He has won Wharton's Excellence in Teaching Award at both the MBA and undergraduate levels, and has consulted for and taught executives at organizations such as Google, Borders Group, Yahoo!, Medco, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Time-Warner Cable, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy.

  • Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia

    Dr. Haidt studies morality and emotion, and how they vary across cultures. He is also active in positive psychology and studies positive emotions such as moral elevation, admiration and awe. Among the psychology courses he teaches is a course on the concept of flourishing. Flourishing is also the title of his first book on positive psychology. His next book, The Happiness Hypothesis, was published in January 2006 and his third book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, was published in 2012.

  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist, private practice

    A Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, Judy supervises therapists in training, teaches seminars in the Penn Resiliency program and trains trainers for the Positive Psychology Center's educational projects in the UK and Australia. She is also interested in the application of positive psychology to clinical interventions.

  • Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action, Swarthmore College

    Dr. Schwartz is the author of The Battle for Human Nature, The Costs of Living and, most recently, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. His research centers on the relation between choice and well-being.

Capstone Projects


The capstone project is a culminating experience, allowing you to integrate and apply what you've learned during the program.

Read about Capstone Projects >

Am I Eligible to Apply?

Admissions and Eligibility

Admission to the master's program is highly selective. Learn more about applicant qualifications.

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Courses & Curriculum

Courses and Curriculum

History, theory, research and professional application — completed in one year of full-time study.

See Courses & Curriculum >

Penn LPS

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Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326
(215) 573-2053

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