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. 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’ll 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:

  • The importance of understanding positive developmental processes and primary prevention, promotion, and optimization, rather than remediation.
  • The need to take into account inter-individual differences and intra-individual changes across the lifespan.
  • The centrality of context, especially institutions, settings, and programs that promote positive experiences and characteristics.
  • An appreciation of the bidirectional relationship between knowledge generation and knowledge application.
  • Promotion of applied research and evaluation so that our work has direct implications for the decisions of individuals, families, schools, practitioners, and policymakers.

48 units

2 years

Fall | Spring

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)
PSYCH 329: Foundations of Positive Psychology (4 units)
PSYCH 333: Theories & Concepts in Lifespan Developmental Psychology (4 units)
PSYCH 351q: Applied Developmental Psychology (4 units)
Choose from one of the following:
PSYCH 330a: Child Development: Traditional & Positive Perspectives (4 units)
PSYCH 332: Adolescent Development: Traditional & Positive Perspectives (4 units)
PSYCH 331: Adult Development: Traditional & Positive Perspectives (4 units)

Elective Courses (10 units)
Students are often encouraged to take elective courses in the School of Educational Studies, the Drucker School of Management, the Division of Politics & Economics, the Center for Information Systems & Technology, the School of Arts & Humanities, and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

Required Applied Methods and Statistics Courses (22 units)
PSYCH 302a: Research Methods (4 units)
PSYCH 308a: Intermediate Statistics (2 units)
PSYCH 308b: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) (2 units)
PSYCH 308c: Applied Multiple Regression (2 units)
PSYCH 308d: Categorical Data Analysis (2 units)
PSYCH 326: Foundations of Evaluation (2 units)
PSYCH 315z: Comparative Evaluation Theory (4 units)
PSYCH 315ee: 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:

Faculty & Research

  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi profile image

    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

    Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management
    Founder, Co-Director, Quality of Life Research Center

    Research Interests

    Creativity and innovation, Flow

  • Jeanne Nakamura profile image

    Jeanne Nakamura

    Associate Professor
    Co-director, Quality of Life Research Center

    Research Interests

    Engagement, Mentoring, Positive aging

  • Tiffany Berry profile image

    Tiffany Berry

    Research Associate Professor

    Research Interests

    Educational program evaluation, K–12 educational curricula, After-school programs, Comprehensive school reform

  • Kendall Cotton Bronk profile image

    Kendall Cotton Bronk

    Associate Professor of Psychology

    Research Interests

    Adolescent moral development, Positive youth development

  • Susan J. Paik profile image

    Susan J. Paik

    Associate Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Educational productivity; Learning and achievement; Talent and leadership development; Urban and international studies; Underserved students; Family-school-community partnerships; Research methods and evaluation

  • William Pérez profile image

    William Pérez

    Associate Professor of Education

    Research Interests

    Immigrant youth, Minority access to education, Ethnic identity and development, Academic achievement

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Request information about the Positive Developmental Psychology and Evaluation program

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Nicholas Lopez

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-7151
E: nick.lopez@cgu.edu