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Positive Developmental Psychology and Evaluation provides you with knowledge and methods needed for research and to design, implement, and evaluate programs aimed at fostering positive human development throughout the lifespan.

Positive psychology is understood as an approach to human functioning that addresses human flourishing and well-being and the factors that contribute to them. The positive psychology program at CGU was founded by the grandfather of Positive Psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. At Claremont Graduate University, Positive Development is understood as individual growth through the lifespan. You’ll examine the positive developmental trajectories and processes that contribute to positive outcomes at both individual and sociocultural levels, integrating that knowledge with a background in evaluation and applied research methods. Led by expert faculty-scholars from both fields, you will continue the good work began by late Professor Csikszentmihalyi and gain experience applying social science concepts and methods to important social issues through research and practice, preparing you to succeed in an array of organizations and institutions and to make a lasting impact on the lives within them.

Program Highlights

Our programming in Positive Developmental Psychology is built upon the following core principles:

48 units

2 years

*Program completion times may vary depending on course registration, units transferred, and time to complete other degree requirements.

Fall | Spring | Summer

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

MA in Psychology

Featured Courses

PSYCH 350x
Positive Contexts

Explores the relatively understudied “third pillar” of positive psychology, which focuses on the aspects of institutions and settings that promote positive experiences among individuals.

PSYCH 308a
Intermediate Statistics

Studies descriptive techniques, probability theory, basic statistical distributions (binomial, t, z, X2, F), measures of central tendency and variability, sampling distributions, selected nonparametric methods, and hypothesis testing.

Foundations of Positive Psychology

Introduces the history, intellectual sources, and main topics of research and application in the burgeoning field of positive psychology.

Comparative Evaluation Theory

Provides basic understanding of prevalent evaluation theories, systems for categorizing these theories, the process of theory development in evaluation, and more.

Child Development: Traditional & Positive Perspectives

Surveys the theoretical and empirical literature on social and cognitive development in the first decade of life based on discussions of seminal research and theory.

PSYCH 351q
Applied Developmental Psychology

Examines the applications of developmental theory and research to contemporary social issues that impact the healthy development and well-being of children and families.


Core Courses (16 units)
Foundations of Positive Psychology (4 units)
Theories & Concepts in Lifespan Developmental Psychology (4 units)
Applied Developmental Psychology (4 units)
Choose from one of the following:
Child Development: Traditional & Positive Perspectives (4 units)
Adolescent Development: Traditional & Positive Perspectives (4 units)
Adult Development: Traditional & Positive Perspectives (4 units)

Elective Courses (10 units)

Good Work
Positive Contexts
Positive and Inclusive Education
Positive Relationships across the Lifespan
Purpose at Work and in Life
Science of Human Flourishing

Required Applied Methods and Statistics Courses (22 units)
Research Methods (4 units)
Intermediate Statistics (2 units)
Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) (2 units)
Applied Multiple Regression (2 units)
Categorical Data Analysis (2 units)
Foundations of Evaluation (2 units)
Comparative Evaluation Theory (4 units)
Evaluation Procedures (4 units)

In the Field Opportunities
Under the supervision of professionals with expertise in your particular areas of interest, you can participate in fieldwork, research, and paid internships at a range of organizations, including:

  • Claremont Evaluation Center
  • Southern California Edison Company
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Orange County Rapid Transit District
  • Riverside County Department of Mental Health
  • Institute for Research on Social Issues
Faculty & Research
Extended Faculty

Reed Larson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests

Developmental experiences in youth programs

Stacey N. Doan

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

Emotional, sociocultural and developmental influences on physical and psychological health; mind-body interaction; the effect of emotions and stress; social relationships

Rachel Fenning

Claremont McKenna College/Claremont Autism Center

Research Interests

Child and family contributions to social emotional development, biobehavioral regulation, and clinical outcomes in children with autism spectrum disorder and related intellectual and developmental disabilities

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Request information about the Positive Developmental Psychology and Evaluation program

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Regina Burch

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-9421