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Applied Positive Psychology Graduate Certificate

Credits to Earn Your Certificate
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Certificate Overview Open Accordion
Online Graduate Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology

Transform your community and workplace

Put positive psychology into action. Learn to apply its principles in leadership and life. Make an impact in organizations, schools, coaching, and counseling.

Discover evidence-based strategies and tools to enable individuals and organizations to thrive.

Learn to use the science of psychology and understand the moving pieces of well-being and flourishing. Use positive experiences, traits and characteristics, and organizational development to help people grow.

“Positive psychology is the scientific study of human strengths and virtues. It involves an attempt to move toward a more balanced perspective on human functioning that considers motives, capacities, and human potentials.”

The American Psychological Association

Designed for students and working professionals, learn to:

  • Define key concepts and methods in positive psychology, positive organizational scholarship, positive education, and human development.
  • Apply research in positive psychology through practices that influence well-being.
  • Adopt a strength-based approach to personal and professional development.
  • Improve relationships through better communication.
  • Optimize peak performance and focus on positive outcomes for athletes or employees.
  • Help communities recover in times of hardship.

Apply what you learn at work:

  • Craft a blueprint for creating a meaningful, connected, positive, and psychologically safe work culture.
  • Conduct a PPI (Positive Psychology Intervention).
  • Layer applications of positive psychology from the community to individuals.
  • Develop a career intervention program that builds on a foundation of strengths.

One of a kind

Learn from expert faculty in one of the only accredited applied positive psychology certificate programs in the U.S. Customize the program to fit your career path whether it be counselor, coach, education, or business and organizational leader. Study online on your time and apply what you learn immediately to your current position.

Advance with career opportunities

Gain essential skills for careers in schools, government, healthcare, consulting, or human resource departments that include job titles such as:

  • School counselor
  • Positive education consultant
  • Retreat coordinator
  • Meditation teacher
  • Chief People Officer
  • Chief Happiness Officer
  • Corporate Wellness Program coordinator
  • Life Coach
  • Human Resource generalist
  • Health psychologist
  • Behavioral Analyst
  • Change Agent

Create a meaningful life as you help individuals, communities, and workplaces thrive.

Learn more on the Applied Podcast

In this episode, we speak with Dr. Zach Mercurio, a keynote speaker, researcher, and author specializing in leadership, purpose, meaningful work, and mattering. Zach also helps instruct the Applied Positive Psychology Graduate Certificate program.

Faculty Open Accordion
Bryan Dik

Bryan Dik

(970) 491-3235 |

Bryan J. Dik is Professor and Associate Chair of Psychology at Colorado State University and co-founder and Chief Science Officer of jobZology, a CSU Ventures company that matches job seekers to employers using psychological assessment. His research interests focus on work as a calling or vocation; purpose, meaning, religion and spirituality in career development; vocational interests; and career development interventions. He teaches courses in vocational psychology, personality psychology, and the psychology of religion

Zach Mercurio

Zach Mercurio, Ph.D.

(970) 491-6011 |

Zach holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change from CSU's School of Education and is an organization and leadership development consultant who works with a wide variety of organizations.

His research interests include the lived experience of meaningful work, purposeful leadership, purposeful organizations, purpose in work, positive leadership, positive organizational behavior and development, fulfillment in work, organizational commitment, and organizational culture.

Michael Steger

Michael F. Steger

(970) 491-7324 |

Michael Steger is an Associate Professor in the Counseling Psychology and Applied Social Psychology programs at Colorado State University. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Macalester College and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and Personality Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

His research has focused on what makes life meaningful for people, and on understanding the foundations and benefits of living a meaningful life and achieving happiness. He also studies how people adjust to traumatic life events, and social influences on depression. His most recent book was “Designing Positive Psychology.” He is currently writing a textbook for Abnormal Psychology, due to be published by McGraw-Hill.

Sam Davis

Samuel Davis, PhD

Sam is a recent graduate of the Colorado State University’s Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program, and current post-doctoral sport psychology fellow at the Ohio State University. Sam received his BA in psychology at Goucher College, where he also spent three years competing on the varsity men’s swimming team. Through his experiences as and work with student-athletes, he developed a passion for treatment and research in the field of sport psychology. Sam is broadly interested in mental health and wellbeing in sport. Additionally, he is interested in research on identity formation, injury, and suicidality among athletes.

Frequently Asked Questions Open Accordion

I have not been admitted to the Applied Positive Psychology (APP) Certificate program. Is it possible for me to enroll in courses anyway?

Yes. You may take any of the individual courses you would like. If you later were accepted and enrolled in the APP Certificate program, you may count those courses toward the certificate according to the University transfer policy. Please note that successful performance in your course(s) does not guarantee admission to the program.

Is it possible to transfer credit from another institution into the APP Certificate program?

All requests for transfer credit must be submitted to the Department of Psychology and will be reviewed by an academic advisor. A maximum of 3 transfer credits can be applied toward the certificate.

Do I have to write a thesis?

No. A thesis is not required. This is a coursework-only program.

Do I need to take the GRE?


Is the APP certificate program accredited?

Yes. All Colorado State University programs are accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

How will this program help me find a new job?

This program provides a broad but brief overview of positive psychology and its applications. A graduate certificate is not a credential required for entry into a particular job or industry, but you can tout the knowledge you obtain from the certificate as a valuable strength that may differentiate you from other job-seekers.

Why is the program called Applied Positive Psychology and not just Positive Psychology?

The classification of “applied” designates this as a practitioner-oriented program and is meant to distinguish it from other more research-intensive programs.

Where can I learn more about the field of positive psychology?

There are numerous resources for learning more about this field, beginning with the International Positive Psychology Association ( which is the leading professional association for those interested in positive psychology. You also can explore more at the special interest group that is part of the Society for Counseling Psychology (, as well as the Canadian Positive Psychology Association (

Curriculum Open Accordion

This graduate certificate requires four courses total and they may be taken in any order. Additional coursework may be required due to prerequisites.

Required Course

Select three courses (nine credits) from the following:

How to Apply Open Accordion

Application Deadlines

Fall semester July 15
Spring semester December 15
Summer semester April 15

Start your application online and upload materials directly into the online system. You can save your progress and return any time.

Apply Now

1Review Admission Requirements

The online certificate requires that students have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

2Prepare Application Materials

Submit a brief (2-page) statement of purpose:

The statement of purpose serves as an academic writing sample for the faculty to determine your readiness for graduate level writing, learn more about you, and ascertain how your goals align with the program. Please address all of the following in your statement:

  • Reasons for seeking the Applied Positive Psychology Graduate Certificate
  • What you bring to our community of learners
  • Your vision for how learning through and completing this program will contribute to your life, and how it will support your personal, professional, or educational goals

3 Complete Online Application

Complete the online graduate application and pay the nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online). As soon as you have completed the required information, please submit your application. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete, and all required materials have been received.

  • Select “Applied Positive Psychology (Certificate) - Distance” when choosing the Program of Study. (Note: You must first select "Certificate" at the top.)

4 Request Transcripts

Request one official transcript from the institution where you earned your bachelor’s degree. Transcripts from Colorado State University are not required. Transcripts must be received directly from the originating institution to be considered official.

Electronic (preferred):
Digital Transcripts must be submitted by the originating institution using a secure service such as parchment, eScrip-Safe, the National Student Clearinghouse, or e-Quals. Transcripts received via emails are considered unofficial.

Use institution code 4075 for Colorado State University or if the secure service requires an email address.

Mail (if necessary)
Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University – Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

Check Your Application Status

View your application status at any time to ensure your application checklist is complete or to check on updates.

Once your complete application, including supporting materials, is received, the department admission committee will review your application and notify you of their decision.

For International Applicants

Proof of English language proficiency is required for applicants from countries or United States territories where there are official languages other than (or in addition to) English. This includes the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about English language proficiency requirements.


We love learning about your goals and answering any questions you have.

Alex Broz
Prospective Student Support Coach
Schedule Time to Talk

Program Details

$770 per credit
Same in-state tuition for all.
Learn more about financial aid and scholarships Tuition/fees are just part of the cost to attend CSU. Learn more about the full Cost of Attendance
Certificate Awarded
Graduate Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology
Admission Reqs.
  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year institution.

Application Dates

Fall semester
July 15
Spring semester
December 15
Summer semester
April 15

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