Can I study the MAPP entirely at a distance/online? Or is some attendance required?
There is no mandatory attendance on campus; the course can be done entirely online. Pre-COVID, we ran one attendance workshop a month over a full weekend, but it was never mandatory to attend, and the workshops were audio-recorded so that you could listen in afterwards. We also run a monthly evening webinar for further interaction – but again, this too is recorded. There are also online materials and discussion boards and peer action learning set groups so that you can study entirely at a distance if that is most convenient for you.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our weekend workshops were held entirely online. Now that we have returned to in-person teaching, we have introduced a new form of blended/hybrid learning, where we continue to hold the weekend workshops online, but also provide a classroom and a facilitator for those wishing to study together, so that we can maximise ‘live’ attendance for all our students, even if geographically far away, but also giving people who want to/can attend in person the opportunity to do so alongside those online. There will be a lecturer online and another in the classroom so that there is faculty available for all. The weekends will still be recorded, for anyone unable to ‘attend live’ either online or in person.
What is the difference between the 2 and 3 year track?
You have a choice of completing the course over 2 years (part-time) or 3 years (part-time). There is no full time option. The difference between the 2 and 3 year ‘tracks’ has to do with the MSc dissertation project. There are 8 ‘taught’ modules – 2 modules each of the 4 semesters of the 2 year course (4 in Year 1, 4 in Year 2). Alongside the 4 x Year-2 taught modules, there is a year-long Dissertation module. If you choose to complete the MAPP over 2 years, you will be doing your 4 taught modules at the same time as your dissertation research project module in Year 2. This means that Year 2 can be quite a busy year. If this is a concern to you, you have the option to spread out the MAPP over three years instead by doing the dissertation module separately, in a third year, after you have completed all the taught modules. Please be aware that the 3 year track is slightly more expensive – for 2022-23 it is £250 more expensive. Please contact SUadvice@bucks.ac.uk for more information on fees.
I don’t have a first degree (or it’s been a long time since I’ve been in education); am I still eligible to apply?
Generally, we would like applicants to either have at least a 2.1 (B-average) previous undergraduate degree (in any discipline), or show evidence of roughly equivalent professional experience. This is to ensure writing and studying standards likely to succeed at Masters level. Many of our students do not have psychology or previous degree experience, but bring rich professional and personal backgrounds with them that have prepared them for the diligence and professionalism of a postgraduate course. Many have also been out of education for a while and have felt a bit insecure at the beginning. Rest assured, you will be given academic guidance to help refresh your study skills memory, learn how to write for an academic audience/standard, and use critical thinking skills. The university also provides guidance through our Student Learning & Achievement uni, should you need additional support. We also aim to support special needs through working closely with our Disability Service. If you have a disability and are concerned about studying on the MAPP, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire further about what support structures are in place to ensure you have a good experience on the course. As with many postgraduate courses, we tend to have a more mature age-range, with a varied background, so if you haven’t been in education for a while or maybe don’t even have a degree, don’t let that put you off applying.
Will this course entitle me to Chartered Psychologist status with the British Psychological Society (BPS)? Is it accredited by the BPS?
The BNU MAPP programme is BPS-approved. This means that the course has been reviewed by the BPS and found to fulfill its standards for CPD (continuing professional development) education. However, please note that this is different to BPS-accreditation, which is what is required to be eligible for Graduate Chartered Psychologist status (aka GCP). Currently, the BPS does not accredit any Positive Psychology courses; they only accredit traditional areas of psychology which does not yet include Positive Psychology, sadly. It’s something we hope will one day change.
We are currently working with the Positive Psychology Network/Guild, who are working to set up professional accreditation for positive psychologists. Please see their website for more information.
What do graduates of this programme go on to do professionally?
Our alumni go on to do a vast variety of different things with their MAPP degree. Some take what they’ve learned and have developed workshops and intervention programmes, integrated it into existing or new coaching and counseling careers, developed products and apps, created new businesses and yoga studios, written books, and/or gone on to do a PhD. The learning from Positive Psychology is applicable to all spheres of life and all disciplines, and therefore our alumni have gone on to use it in a vast array of areas as well. The sky’s the limit!
What is the difference in fees if I am an international student vs. a UK-based student?
Currently, because the course is considered an FDL (flexible & distributed learning) course, and there are no mandatory attendance components, the course fees are the same for domestic and international students. Current fees can be seen on our course website here: https://www.bucks.ac.uk/mapp (2 year track – please see this page for the 3 year track fees)
Will this course entitle me to a Tier 4 student visa so that I can live in the UK?
As there are no mandatory attendance components, and the course can be done completely at a distance, this course will not entitle you to a residential student visa. If you are international and would like to attend the weekend workshops in-person once they resume, you may need to look into the appropriate travel visa required for a study trip, as opposed to a tourist visa. If you have questions about this, please contact email@example.com, who can answer these kinds of questions.
What is the time commitment?
The estimated time commitment is 10 hours of study time per credit (including both independent study and structured, formal teaching time like the workshops and evening webinars) . Each semester-long module (with the exception of the dissertation module, which is worth 60 credits and runs for a whole year) is worth 15 credits, and you would be taking 2 modules per semester, meaning 30 credits each semester in year 1, and, depending on if you are on the 2 or 3 year track, 60 credits per semester in Year 2 (or 30 credits each semester in both Year 2 and 3). Each semester runs for approximately 4 months. This means that each 30-credit semester would require approximately 300 hours of study time. Split over 4 months, that means about 75 hours/month, or about 18-19 hours a week. If you are doing the 2 year track, the second semester of Year 2 is likely to be your busiest as that is usually when dissertation work is at its heaviest alongside the taught modules. This is only an estimate, however, and it is up to you how you work best. Times right before assignments are due are likely to be busiest, and it is up to you how you manage your time around your other commitments, and your preferences. Some people prefer to devote large chunks of time to do all their studying, while others like to do a little each day – this is up to you and the flexibility of the course allows you to study in the way that works best for you.
How much of the course is face-to-face vs. online?
The course is designed as a ‘flexible and distributed learning’ (FDL) course, which means that much of the content is asynchronous (not on a schedule) and self-guided, so that you can engage with the course in the way and at the times that suit you best. The majority of the course is designed to be online/distance; however, we do have one (partly) in-person component, a once-monthly full-weekend workshop, usually held at either our Missenden Abbey or High Wycombe campuses. This means there are 8 weekends a year in which we offer a face-to-face way to meet and learn together. However, this is not mandatory to attend, and you can come to all of them, none of them, or only to those that suit your schedule – this is entirely up to you.
The pandemic and a growing and increasingly international cohort means the course has had to adapt in recent years, and we are now offering the weekend workshops as ‘hybrid’ workshops, meaning that the face-to-face component is integrated with live online collaboration for those who cannot or do not wish to physically attend. A member of teaching staff will be in the room with those in the classroom, and another member of staff will be online. Tuition will be a mixture of online (broadcast into the room) and in-room lectures, and in-class group work, activities and discussion/online breakout sessions.
In addition to this once-a-month workshop, we also hold a one-evening-monthly 1.5 hour webinar (on a Tues or Thurs about 1.5 weeks after the weekend workshop), which offers an additional way to interact live with your fellow students and lecturers. Both the weekend workshops and the evening webinar are recorded, so that you can listen to them later if you can’t attend ‘live’ either in person or online at the allocated times.
We have also introduced peer ‘action learning sets’ recently, which are allocated peer study groups, which act as a small support group for those times in between when you wish to discuss things or need help. Although these are mainly student-run, each group will have a staff member allocated as a point of contact for group questions. It is up to each group whether they wish to meet in person or not. We try to allocate these groups based on time zones/geography as much as possible to help enable meet-ups if desired.
Much of the course content is delivered in monthly released folders of pre-recorded video lectures, readings, and other supplementary information. You’ll also have access to a Discussion Forum for each module so that you can post and discuss the content and questions to each other in that way as well.
Lecturers are also available for ad hoc personal meetings either online or in person, and via email, for anything that arises outside of these other venues.
Do we have to ‘attend’ every workshop or webinar?
No. We know most of our students are likely to have many other commitments – e.g. full time work and families – and the course is designed to be customizable to your own schedule. You are offered a variety of ‘route’ options into your learning – including the monthly weekend workshop, the monthly evening webinar, discussion boards online, peer action learning set study groups, online materials (e.g. pre-recorded ‘lectures’, readings) you can dip in and out of at your own pace, ad hoc one-to-one meetings/email support, and many other more informal routes students often set up amongst themselves. All the ‘live’ events like the workshops and webinars are recorded and the recording uploaded afterwards so that you can listen to the recordings later if you are unable to be there at a specified time. You can join one workshop or all, or none – it’s all up to you according to what you need at any given time. If something unexpected comes up, we offer fairly (within reason) generous extensions, so that you can fit studying around the unplanned things that come up in life – just talk to your module leaders if you are struggling, we’re here to help.
I’m not very good with technology; how much do I need to know for this course, and who can help me?
As this is a flexible & distributed learning programme, we rely heavily on technology and this is only increasing in the current climate. The course is run via a virtual learning environment (VLE) called Blackboard. At induction, you will be given an overview of how to navigate this system. We mostly use a video platform through Blackboard called Collaborate Ultra for our workshops and webinars. Occasionally we use Microsoft Teams. We are investigating other platforms but currently these are the two the university endorses. We try to offer reminders and tutorials on how to use new technology useful as part of the course. However, if you require further assistance beyond this, you can contact the IT helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Student Learning & Achievement unit at email@example.com.
If I would like to attend an in-person weekend workshop, are things like my travel, accommodation and meals covered by the course fees?
You will need to arrange and pay for your own travel, accommodation and most meals. The exception is that a nice three-course buffet lunch is provided at the weekend workshop when we are running it at Missenden Abbey in Great Missenden. Occasionally we run the workshops from other campuses, such as High Wycombe or Aylesbury, where unfortunately we do not have as extensive catering, although we are sometimes able to provide teas/coffees and a basic sandwich lunch, and the campuses are close and convenient to high street cafes and restaurants. Missenden Abbey is also a hotel, and we often have some rooms blocked off to protect them from other events that may be going on at the same time there, such as weddings. When booking a room at the Abbey, it is best to email them and please mention you are a MAPP student to ensure that you have access to these rooms if they are available. Booking is first come, first served, so book early to avoid disappointment. There are nearby chain hotels and B&Bs available at our High Wycombe and Aylesbury campuses, such as Premier Inn and Travelodge. Great Missenden, High Wycombe and Aylesbury are all reachable via train. The closest airports are Luton or Heathrow, which are approximately 40 mins-1 hour away from the venues.
What are the scheduled dates/locations for weekend workshops and evening webinars?
The following are the planned dates and venues for the weekend workshops in 2022-23:
8-9 Oct 2022 (Missenden Abbey & Online – Blended)
12-13 Nov (Missenden Abbey & Online – Blended)
3-4 Dec (Missenden Abbey & Online – Blended)
14-15 Jan 2023 (Missenden Abbey & Online – Blended)
11-12 Feb (Missenden Abbey & Online – Blended)
11-12 March (High Wycombe campus & Online – Blended)
15-16 April (Missenden Abbey & Online – Blended)
13-14 May (Missenden Abbey & Online – Blended)
We usually choose dates around the same time each year (venue availability dependent). The weekend workshops run Saturday and Sunday from 9:30-4:30pm (UK time), with each day devoted to one of the two modules you are studying that semester.
The evening webinars are held about a week and a half after a weekend workshop, on either a Tues or Thurs evening, from 7-8.30pm (UK time). For the cohort starting in Sept 2022 this will be a Thursday evening.
What if I don’t want to/can’t continue after the first year? Do I get any kind of qualification?
Yes, there are three ‘step-off’ points on the course: PgCert, PgDip and the MSc. Completing and passing all 4 modules in Year 1 will earn you a PgCert. If you continue and do the next 4 taught modules in Year 2, but not the dissertation module, you can earn a PgDip. However, if you do both years of taught modules and the dissertation module (either across 2 or 3 years) this will earn you a full Masters degree. You also have the option to interrupt your studies and defer your place so that you can continue with the course at a later time, up to 2 years.
I’m really interested but need financial assistance. What scholarships, bursaries or student loans are available to me?
We as the course team don’t generally deal with the financial side of the programme – please contact SUadvice@bucks.ac.uk to ask finance-related questions. You might also be interested in this government site on postgraduate loans: Master’s Loan: What you’ll get – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) See also: Short Intro to PP Course discount. Undergraduate alumni of BNU are also entitled to a discount on their MAPP tuition fees – please contact the SUadvice@bucks.ac.uk for more information about this.
What is/are the start date(s) for the course?
There is only one entry-point onto the course currently, which is in late September/early October each year (for this year 2022-23 the term starts Mon 26th Sept, when the first materials will be released on Blackboard for students to start perusing). It begins with an induction (this year this will be held on Fri, 23rd Sept – it is usually around that time of the month), which will introduce you to the course team and the pattern of delivery, and the technology platforms we use. Our first weekend workshop is usually one of the first weekends in October – this year it will be 8-9 October.
Who are the lecturers/tutors?
You can find out more information about us on the About Us page.
I’m not sure yet if Positive Psychology is for me. Can I take some kind of a taster session course to find out?
We have an arrangement with Positive Psychology Online Courses, run by one of our first MAPP alumni, Lesley Lyle, who offer a short Introduction to Positive Psychology (with or without a certificate) course online. You have 4 months to complete the certified course which consists of 8 online modules that can be completed at your own pace. Completion of the short course then would entitle you to a 10% discount on your MAPP tuition fees if you subsequently enroll in the BNU MAPP. If you have questions about this short course, please contact Lesley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I still have questions – where can I get more information?
Please have a look at this past year’s (2021-22) Programme Handbook (opens PDF) and our university course pages (2 year track or 3 year track) to get a better idea of the detailed way the course is run. If afterwards you still have questions, please contact us via email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.