Master of Applied Positive Psychology

Course MC-APP (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Year and Campus: 2014 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 079279E
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 100 credit points taken over 12 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Dr Dianne Vella-Brodrick


Education Student Centre
234 Queensberry Street
Call: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Course Overview:

The Master of Applied Positive Psychology aims to equip graduate students with the skills, knowledge and ability to apply positive psychology principles with competence, to a range of contexts and across the lifespan. This course advocates scientific methods and promotes critical thinking and analysis. Theoretical perspectives and conceptual frameworks underpinning positive psychology will be presented and analysed. Empirical research will be examined and critiqued to identify best practice standards and effective real world translation methods.

The Master of Applied Positive Psychology also addresses issues related to ethical and professional practice and will examine multi-disciplinary perspectives including public health, economics, policy, education and occupational health. There is a special focus on promoting optimal functioning and leadership within organisations at a systems level and this will complement skills acquired for individual work. Careful consideration will also be ascribed to individual difference factors such as gender, age, culture and personality in the development and evaluation of positive interventions.

As part of the learning and assessment processes, students are expected to engage in a range of conceptual, applied and research tasks. Numerous and varied learning approaches such as debates, case studies, role plays, videos, journal entries and research activities will be undertaken. In addition, students will be encouraged to apply positive psychology principles to their own lives and to critically reflect on these experiences.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete the Master of Applied Positive Psychology should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the conceptual and theoretical foundations of positive psychology.
  • Identify previous works, scholars and developments that have influenced the field of positive psychology.
  • Synthesise different well-being frameworks from various disciplines (e.g., psychology, philosophy, sociology, medicine, occupational health)
  • Critically review current research in the area of positive psychology.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the scientist-practitioner model and its relevance in positive psychology.
  • Develop strategies for working with individuals, groups and systems on enhancing optimal functioning and health promotion.
  • Identify and critically evaluate assessment methods currently employed in positive psychology.
  • Identify common positive interventions used in a wide range of contexts (e.g., education, workplaces, community settings).
  • Critically reflect on professional strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies for addressing these.
  • Adopt an innovative approach to knowledge acquisition and application.
  • Demonstrate a professional and ethical approach to the practice of positive psychology.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the important factors that are conducive to sustained behaviour change.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of effective approaches to engaging and working with diverse groups and complex systems.
  • Apply foundational research skills to complete a research project
  • Demonstrate a capacity to communicate research results clearly, comprehensively and persuasively.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

There are 4 core subjects.

Subject Options:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Entry Requirements:

1. The Selection Committee will evaluate the applicant’s ability to pursue the course successfully using the following criteria:

  • an undergraduate degree and at least 5 years of documented relevant professional experience; or
  • an undergraduate degree and at least 100 points of relevant postgraduate study; or
  • an undergraduate degree, at least 50 points of relevant postgraduate study and at least 2 years of documented relevant professional experience.

2. The Selection Committee may conduct interviews and tests and may call for referee reports or employer references to elucidate any of the matters referred to above.

Applicants are required to submit:

  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • A two-page Statement of Intent
  • A copy of previous academic transcripts

Please visit for more information

Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Graduate School of Education welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is University and Graduate School policy to take reasonable steps to enable the participation of students with disabilities, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the Graduate School’s programs.

The core participation requirements for study in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education are:

In all courses

1. The ability to comprehend complex information related to education and the disciplines in which the student is teaching.
2. The ability to communicate clearly and independently in assessment tasks a knowledge of the content, principles and practices relating to education and other relevant disciplines.
3. Behavioural and social attributes that enable a student to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

Students who feel a disability will prevent them from meeting the above academic requirements are encouraged to contact Disability Liaison.

Further Study:

Master of Applied Positive Psychology graduates who already possess a relevant bachelor honours or masters honours degree with a H2A average or above can proceed directly to a doctoral or PhD program. Other Master of Applied Positive Psychology graduates can undertake the 50 point Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Research can then proceed to the DEd/PhD courses with a H2A average.

Graduate Attributes:

The Master of Applied Positive Psychology will enable graduates to achieve the following University of Melbourne Graduate Attributes:

  • Academically excellent: graduates will develop in-depth research and evidence-based knowledge of positive psychology. They will demonstrate a high level of achievement in writing, research methods and analysis, problem-solving and communication. Graduates will be critical and creative thinkers, with an aptitude for continued self-directed learning and be adept at learning in a range of ways such as through experiential methods, group work, independent activities and information and communication technologies.
  • Knowledgeable across disciplines: graduates will critically examine, synthesise and evaluate knowledge across a broad range of disciplines, particularly those with relevance to mental health such as psychology, sociology, public health, occupational health and education. They will expand their analytical and cognitive skills through a variety of learning experiences and collaborative learning processes. As a result of completing the Master of Positive Psychology, graduates will acquire a set of flexible and transferable skills relevant to a diverse range of employment opportunities.
  • Leaders in communities: Graduates of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology will be prepared for leadership roles in a vast range of settings and will be well resourced to initiate and implement constructive change with individuals, organisations and community groups. Theywill also demonstrate excellent interpersonal and decision-making skills, including an awareness of their personal strengths and areas of professional competence, as well as their limitations and competency boundaries. Graduates will demonstrate professional integrity and sound ethical practices. They will provide mentorship to ensure best practice standards are sustained for the profession at large. Graduates will be aware of community needs and will actively engage in public discourse with the goal of achieving improved mental health services that focus on early intervention and prevention.
  • Attuned to cultural diversity: Graduates of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology will be working with a variety of individuals and groups from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Graduates will value different perspectives and lifestyle choices and will be well-informed and resourceful citizens who strive to meet the needs of a wide range of client groups.
  • Active global citizens: Graduates of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology will accept social and civic responsibilities and will be strong advocates of community and voluntary work. They will value pro-social activities and will demonstrate a high regard for human rights, equity and ethics. They will recognise that health and education are important mechanisms for empowering people and mitigating the adverse effects of inequity and disadvantage.
Generic Skills:

In addition to learning specific skills associated with the Master of Applied Positive Psychology, graduates will develop the following generic skills which will be valuable throughout life:

  • Problem solving skills which are innovative and solution focused.
  • Analytical skills and the ability to construct and articulate logical arguments.
  • Collaborative and teamwork skills through working with fellow students.
  • Ability to critically investigate, revise and review new ideas and approaches.
  • Effective organisational and planning skills.
  • Effective communication (oral and written) skills.
  • A sound knowledge of behaviour change methods.
  • The gathering and use of supporting evidence and data.
Links to further information:

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