Psychology - Applied Psychology - Positive Coaching Psychology

Course Outline
This is an innovative MA programme that brings together the fields of Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology.

Coaching Psychologists specialise in behaviour change and use systematic methodologies drawn from the psychological evidence base to bring about positive change. This form of coaching is valued by people who want professional support from their coaches in order to maximise their performance and potential. In this programme we provide you with the tools and skills to provide such support and you will gain theoretical and practical knowledge of Positive Psychology & Coaching competencies.

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 & Coaching Psychology make for a very powerful approach in helping people realise their potential.

The MA Applied Psychology (Positive & Coaching Psychology) degree can be utilised across a wide range of areas:

Those working in human services with 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 who want to specialise in employee well-being and development;

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

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 becoming a chartered coaching psychologist, or to undertake doctoral studies;

Coaches who wish to study to master's level and incorporate a positive psychology dimension to their work.

Who you are ...
Coaches come from different backgrounds, countries, and cultures. They have different experiences and have different personalities from each other. We welcome diversity and believe that inclusion in the classroom is important. However, there are some commonalities. You will be a graduate who values evidence-based practice. You will know your own strengths and abilities to reflect on their use in your life. You will understand the scope of coaching as an approach to learning and be able to distinguish it from teaching, mentoring, guidance, and other approaches to learning. You will be secure in yourself. And you will be committed to personal development, evidence of this is that you work with a coach yourself.

Programme Details
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.

Part-time: The part-time option is taught during weekday working hours over 2 years. Modules are broadly similar for the part-time option but are taken over two years with students completing 20 credits in Year 2 for Part I.

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 positive psychology coaching skills that will prepare them for a career as a professional coach. 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.

Subjects taught

Part I
Students complete Core Modules to the value of 50 credits, and select 10 credits from Elective Modules.

Core Modules (50 credits)
AP6016 Research Methods and Data Analysis (10 credits)
AP6181 Practice of Evidence-Based Coaching (10 credits)
AP6182 Positive Psychology and Human Flourishing (10 credits)
AP6183 Positive Psychology Coaching Practice (10 credits)
AP6184 Cognitive enhancement and motivational interviewing as strategies for change (10 credits)

Elective Modules (10 credits)
AP6129 Health Psychology (5 credits)
AP6159 Positive Organisational Psychology (5 credits)
AP6160 Private Practice (5 credits)
AP6164 Positive Psychology in Group Settings (5 credits)
AP6169 Learning, Well-Being, & Participation at Work (10 credits)

Part II
AP6171 Research Dissertation in Work, Organisational & Coaching Psychology (30 credits)

Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology (Positive & Coaching Psychology)

Students who successfully complete and pass taught modules to the value of 60 credits in Part I and opt not to complete Part II may exit the programme and be conferred with a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology (Positive and Coaching Psychology). A student who subsequently applies to undertake the Master's programme must do so within 5 years of successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology (Positive & Coaching Psychology) subject to the programme being on offer.

Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Psychology (Positive & Coaching Psychology)

Students who successfully complete and pass taught modules to the value of at least 30 credits in Part I may exit the programme and be conferred with a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Psychology (Positive and Coaching Psychology). A student who subsequently applies to complete the Master's programme must do so within 5 years of successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Psychology (Positive & Coaching Psychology) subject to the programme being on offer.

Please see the University Calendar (Applied Psychology-Positive & Coaching Psychology) for further details on programme content.

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.

University Calendar
You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

Entry requirements

Academic Record
- A minimum of an awarded Second Class Honours Grade II in an undergraduate (honours) degree (NFQ Level 8).

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

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

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

- All applicants must arrange for one Referee's Report form to completed and uploaded to their application. You need to provide evidence of at least two hour of work with a professional coach. They need to be a member of one of the professional bodies cited above under Skills and Careers Information.
MAAPPP Reference Form: After submitting the online application, the Reference form must be downloaded and emailed to your Referee to complete. The Referee must return the completed form to you and you must then upload to your application.

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

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.

Application dates

Closing Date: 13 March 2022.

How Do I Apply

1. Choose Course
Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to two courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online
Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a non-refundable €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

Applicants for the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Nursing must apply on the PAC website when the programme opens for applications.

3. Gather Supporting Documents
Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to the online application portal in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

- Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC

- Any supplementary items requested for your course.

Please log into the online application portal for more details.

4. Application processing timeline
Our online application portal opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details.

5. Rounds
For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates.

Questions on how to apply?
Please use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

- Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme. (Please read the Course Handbook). It is important that your motivation is grounded within positive psychology.

- In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning, and professional training relevant to this programme.

- You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

- Briefly describe a research proposal that may form the basis of your dissertation. It is important that your research idea is within the area of positive psychology and/or coaching psychology.

- Academic Question: Please outline a brief statement conveying your understanding of the contribution positive psychology can make to coaching psychology.(500 words max.)

- Eligible candidates may be interviewed. Applicants will be shortlisted after each round closing date and interviews will be arranged after each round closing date.

- MAAPPP Reference Form: After submitting the online application, the Reference form must be downloaded and emailed to your Referee to complete. The completed Referee Form must be returned to you by your Referee, and you must then upload the completed Referee Form to your application. If you have any questions about the Referee process, please email the programme director, Dr David O'Sullivan, at

Applicants are advised to discuss the practicalities of the programme with Dr David O'Sullivan, School of Applied Psychology, UCC.

The closing date for non-EU applications is 11 March 2022.


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time.

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

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
Coaching Psychology is a developing profession within the wider field of Psychology; In the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI), it is considered a Special Interest Group. This is a step on the way to becoming a full Division, where practitioners will be able to term themselves Chartered Coaching Psychologists. The British Psychological Society has established a Division of Coaching Psychology, so this programme is truly for the trailblazers – some of you might shape this profession in years to come.

Of course, you do not need to be a psychologist to be a great coach. If you decide not to follow the PSI route you would most likely want to join one of the coaching professional bodies and start following their accreditation routes such as the Association for Coaching, European Mentoring and Coaching Council or the International Coach Federation.

Master's training is an integral part of any human services profession. Ultimately we envisage our graduates will have three career routes opened to them by completing this course.

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

2. As part of a route to becoming a chartered coaching psychologist or an accredited coach.

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

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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