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Courses and Curriculum

The Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) curriculum is designed to train you in the history, theory and research methods of positive psychology, as well as its application in professional settings.

The program consists of nine courses, completed during one year of full-time study during consecutive fall, spring and summer semesters.

  • During the fall semester, you will begin the program with courses that focus on the science, research and theoretical underpinnings of positive psychology, giving students a strong foundation to build on throughout the remainder of the program.
  • The spring semester courses offer content to help you learn how to apply positive psychology in various professional settings, including creating a plan for positive interventions in a real organization.
  • The capstone project, which is completed during the summer semester, allows you to integrate what you’ve learned throughout the program, and apply it in the professional or research domain most significant to you. It often serves as a stepping stone to the application of positive psychology in a particular professional domain or to further research in a specific area. 

The curriculum includes the following eight classes, in addition to the capstone project:

Course Description
Introduction to Positive Psychology An introduction to the research, theory and intellectual history of positive psychology
Research Methods and Evaluation A methodology course exploring the valid and reliable assessment of positive emotions, character strengths and meaning in life
Foundations of Positive Interventions An investigation into the theoretical, empirical and experiential nature of positive interventions
Perspectives on Well-being An exploration of facets of the human experience that contribute to well-being among individuals and within communities
Positive Psychology and Individuals An exploration of positive psychology applications in coaching, clinical and other relational settings
Humanities and Human Flourishing An exploration of integrating culture and science to support the deeper understanding and more effective cultivation of human flourishing
Positive Education An investigation of positive approaches to building cognitive, emotional and character strengths across the lifespan
Applying Positive Interventions in Institutions

An exploration of positive organizational scholarship interventions, including an application “lab” that enables students to design research-informed interventions as service learning projects for non-profit organizations

Learn more about real-world positive psychology applications and read abstracts and reports from past service learning projects on the Service Learning Projects page.


The capstone project is a distinguishing feature of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program, blending academic and professional experiences and serving as the culmination of your work in the program. Through the capstone project, you will explore, in depth, the theories and practical applications you’ve learned in the program, to advance the field of positive psychology itself. If you are interested in exploring more capstones, you can visit Penn's Scholarly Commons website to browse project abstracts or download full projects.

The capstone is completed during the summer semester and has no on-site course requirements. You will conduct this project work independently, with your advisor’s ongoing guidance, in a setting that is significant to you and most relevant to your future professional goals.

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 >

Student & alumni stories

Student & Alumni Stories

“Coming to Penn was one of the best decisions I ever made because it shaped the trajectory of my life.”

-- Eunbit Hwang, MAPP '14

Read about Eunbit >

Am I eligible to apply?

Admissions and Eligibility

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

See Admissions and Eligibility >

Penn LPS

The lifelong learning division of Penn Arts & Sciences

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326

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