Psychology - Applied Psychology - Positive Coaching Psychology

Course Outline

Coaching Psychologists are specialists in behaviour change who utilise systematic methodologies drawn from the psychological evidence base to bring about positive change. People who want professional support, in order to maximise their performance and potential, work with coaching professions.

This course brings together the fields of Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology. Setting goals is an important life skill and one of the key components of success in any chosen area. Most individuals are able to select goals appropriate to their needs with relative ease. What is much more difficult is adhering to the steps necessary for goal achievement, often due to our fluctuating levels of will power, and difficulties in applying constant will-power. Evidence-based coaching psychology is the science of forming appropriate goals in line with our values, increasing motivation towards goal attainment, and then bringing to bear methodologies to achieve these goals.

Positive Psychology is the science of well-being, strengths and the achievement of our potential, and all that is good in us. As a person's level of well-being increases, their goal attainment also increases. Consequently, the synergies between Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology make for a very powerful approach in helping people realise their potential, and approach becoming their best possible selves.

The approach of this masters can be utilised across a wide range of areas:

Those working in human services who have the desire to incorporate a coaching approach to behaviour change in their professional work. This could include teachers, social workers, social care workers, youth and community workers, probation officers, nurses, medical specialists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists etc.

Graduates who have the ambition to work as freelance coaches, or internal coaches in business organisations.

Human resource professionals.

Managers and leaders who wish to develop the ability to maximise the potential of their teams.

Those who want to maximise performance by adding a psychological approach to skill attainment. This could include sports and exercise professionals, those who work with singers, actors, and other talented individuals.

Graduates of psychology who wish to acquire a set of professional skills as part of their route towards professional training in another area of psychology, or to undertake doctoral studies.

Why Choose This Course

This is the first course of its kind to be offered at MA level in the Republic of Ireland. The programme equips students with advanced training in coaching skills that will prepare them for a career as a professional coach. This includes the principles of Evidence-Based Coaching: specifically Positive Psychology and Coaching, Skills, Business, Ethics and Supervision in Coaching, Coaching Skills in Group/Team and Organisational Settings. Training is also provided in research skills, including reviewing literature, developing hypotheses, writing research proposals, designing and carrying out empirical studies, conducting advanced statistical analyses, and presenting results. Skills in research methodology are a prerequisite for all psychology professions, and they constitute a key set of skills that set psychologists apart in the wider workplace.

Entry requirements


1. Academic Record

i) An undergraduate honours degree (Level 8), in which at least a 2H2 (or equivalent) was awarded.

2. Personal Statement: Each candidate will supply a personal statement conveying:

i) An interest in the appropriate application of psychological theory and methods to coaching practice.

ii) Reasons for applying to the course, including a written statement about career objectives.

iii) All applicants must arrange for one Referee's Report form to be posted directly to the School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork. The reference must be a professional reference from someone who has experience of the applicant in a professional capacity, whether in paid or voluntary work.

Eligible candidates will be interviewed.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here.

International/non-EU applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Assessment Info


Modules are assessed through a variety of methods including continuous assessment, coaching practice, essays, portfolios, and some end of year examinations (for some elective modules). Students are also required to complete a Research Dissertation which comprises a report to professional standards of 15,000 words (not including technical appendices, if any). A fully documented presentation to an audience of peers and experts lasting approximately 30 minutes will also take place. For a full description of the assessment for each module please refer to the Book of Modules.

Subjects taught


In Part I students take 60 credits consisting of core and elective modules.

In Part II students complete a Research Dissertation (30 Credits). Although students must complete Part I before progressing to Part II, work on the research dissertation commences at the start of your course under the supervision of a member of staff.


Core modules include:
Positive Psychology and Coaching
Wellness Coaching
Ethics and Supervision
Positive Organisational Psychology
Private Practice
Coaching Skills
Evidence-Based Coaching
Positive Psychology in Group Settings
Research Methods
Data Analysis for Coaching Psychology

Students who successfully complete 60 credits in Part I, who do not wish to progress to Part II may exit with a PG Diploma in Applied Psychology (Positive and Coaching Psychology)

Research Dissertation (30 Credits).

Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology (Positive and Coaching Psychology) (NFQ Level 9, Major Award)
Students who do not proceed to the full award may graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma subject to their passing 60 Credits at the end of Year 1 (full-time) or Year 2 for the part-time option

Please click HERE for further details of the programme content

Additional Teaching Mode Information

The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over 2 years.

Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.


Full-time 1 year
Part-time option over 2 years (open to EU students only).
CKD02 Full-time; CKD08 Part-time

This is a course running over one year full-time or two years part-time, and requires a commitment of 40-50 hours of total student effort throughout all the weeks of the semester.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 7 September 2020

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information

Masters training is an integral part of any human services profession. We envisage our graduates will have three career routes opened to them by completing this course.

1.Directly into the private sector, either as a consultant practitioner or through the development of private practice.

2.Further training in a psychology profession such as Clinical, Educational or Health.

3.A Research/Academic career in Psychology or related area perhaps by moving into a Ph.D. programme.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

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