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SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION: 

Master of Arts: Positive Psychology 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
90848  Master of Arts: Positive Psychology 
ORIGINATOR
North West University 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
Master's Degree  Field 09 - Health Sciences and Social Services  Rehabilitative Health/Services 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  180  Not Applicable  NQF Level 09  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Reregistered  SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2021-06-30 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2022-06-30   2025-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Purpose:
The purpose of this qualification is to offer learners an advanced knowledge base of and research competence into the nature, development and enhancement of psychosocial well-being and health in various contexts, developmental phases and cultural groups. Phenomena include, amongst others, positive emotions, the experience of meaning, resilience, character strengths, optimism, enabling social contexts and positive institutions. A basic premise of positive psychology is that human flourishing cannot be achieved simply through curing pathology and eliminating behavioural and emotional problems, but requires building and capitalising on strengths and capabilities.

Overall aims of the programme are to enable learners to:
  • Gain specialist knowledge to enable them to engage with, and critique current research and practice in positive psychology as a field, and to manifest the ability to conceptualise new research initiatives and create new knowledge and practices.
  • Develop depth of knowledge and critical understanding of the theory, research and intellectual history of positive psychology.
  • Become proficient in selecting and using positive psychology assessment methods.
  • Study a range of positive psychology interventions, apply them within professional settings and develop innovative approaches for new situations, as well as the competencies to evaluate such interventions.
  • Gain a thorough knowledge of appropriate research methods and data analysis techniques, as well as the skill in application thereof.

    Rationale:
    Positive psychology is a new branch of psychology that emerged in the late 1990s. The qualification was developed because a need was identified to contribute towards shifting the attention from correlation studies towards the development and evaluation of positive interventions for enhancing wellbeing via randomised controlled studies. The qualification focuses on different customs of dealing with psychological problems. Positive psychology interventions are applied to a number of other contexts, such as workplaces, parenting and relationships, the military, communities and health rehabilitation programmes. Positive psychologists now focus on some additional goals, such as identifying interaction effects, individual difference factors and the underlying mechanisms of effective positive interventions to maximise the favourable outcomes of positive interventions with a range of benefactors in mind. This is the first institution to offer formal training in Positive Psychology and it is anticipated that more will soon follow.

    The Master: Positive Psychology is perceived as a new way to meet the demands of the modern world and provide better ways to enhance the wellbeing of a greater number of ordinary (but troubled) people. Through research the whole continuum of mental health, especially at the upper end of normal, and optimal functioning will benefit. The qualification strives to cultivate values and ethics, which include a sense of calling, service to the community, high ethical standards and good stewardship, on top of academic rigour. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    It is expected that learners possess adequate knowledge in Psychology as the focus. Learners are expected to be able to read and critically evaluate academic text in English and communicate information and own ideas orally and in written text that is grammatically correct, well structured, clear and concise, using accepted standards of medical science and academic writing, at NQF Level 8.

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    A portfolio containing evidence of prior learning in academic fields or a brief overview of work experience and context will be considered for granting learners admission. Learners will be expected to motivate how their professional or life experience has prepared them for studying positive psychology. Candidates may apply for exemption from certain modules on grounds of prior relevant studies.

    Access to the qualification:
    Admission requirements for the qualification are:
  • An Honours Degree (or equivalent) in psychology, sociology, health, social welfare or other related discipline, with a minimum of 65%. 

  • RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
    The qualification consists of six compulsory modules at NQF Level 9 worth a total of 180 credits.

    Modules:
  • Introduction to Positive Psychology, 20 credits.
  • Assessment and Basics of Interventions, 20 credits.
  • Applications in Positive Psychology, 20 credits.
  • Advanced Positive Psychology, 20 credits.
  • Research methods in Positive Psychology, 25 credits.
  • Research Dissertation in Positive Psychology, 75 credits. 

  • EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
  • Apply specialist knowledge to engage with and critique current research and practice in positive psychology as a field and to manifest the ability to conceptualise new research initiatives and create new knowledge and practices.
  • Develop depth of knowledge and critical understanding of the theory, research and intellectual history of positive psychology.
  • Develop proficiency in selecting and using positive psychology assessment methods.
  • Apply a range of positive psychology interventions within professional settings and develop innovative approaches to new situations as well as the competencies to evaluate such interventions.
  • Apply thorough knowledge of appropriate research methods and data analysis techniques as well as skill in the application thereof.

    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes:
    All the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes are embedded in the qualification and will be assessed appropriately. 

  • ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    The following Assessment Criteria are applicable in an integrated way across all the Exit Level Outcomes:
  • Current research and literature within the positive psychology discipline are critically evaluated.
  • The ability to creatively select, design and apply appropriate evaluation and interventions methods and techniques, appropriate to the specific context is demonstrated.
  • Creativity and originality in the interpretation, application and development of knowledge and practice are used.
  • Awareness and understanding of ethical constraints associated with the application of positive psychology interventions are expressed.
  • The ability to make autonomous ethical decisions which affect knowledge production and research, as well as individual, group, community or organisational issues is demonstrated.
  • Critical awareness of current issues, debates, new insights and cutting edge issues within positive psychology is developed.
  • The ability to contribute to scholarly debates around theories of knowledge and methods of knowledge production in Positive Psychology is demonstrated.
  • Capacity on analysis and synthesis is developed for evaluation of concepts at a meta-level, capability to identify assumptions, evaluation of statements with regard to evidence, detecting false logic or reasoning, identification of implicit values, appropriate generalisation, meaningful integration of facts and inferences.
  • Advanced competence in using various positive psychology questionnaires and measures is demonstrated.
  • A wide range of positive interventions across personal and professional domains are applied.
  • Knowledge, understanding, skills and experience needed to carry out research into positive psychology areas are developed.
  • Appropriate research methods and data analysis techniques are applied.
  • Strategies to access, process and manage information, and to defend substantial ideas in the field of Positive Psychology are designed and implemented.
  • Ideas from positive psychology are communicated to a wide range of audiences with different levels of knowledge or expertise.
  • Meta-theoretical and philosophical perspectives in positive psychology, the pertinent social, economic, political, historical issues and the wider context of positive psychology and positive social sciences are applied during interventions.
  • A wide range of specialised skills in identifying, conceptualising, designing and implementing methods of enquiry to address challenging problems in the field of positive psychology as a discipline and practice are implemented.

    Integrated Assessment:
    For every module one test, one assignment and one examination will be written. Modules will include practical/group assignments and these will be presented in writing. Assessment of practical modules is by means of a reflective portfolio of experiences that is compiled by every learner. Summative assessment will consist of the final examinations for each module. 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    Formal training in Positive Psychology is still a challenge in some countries but this qualification can be compared to similar qualifications in the United Kingdom and United States of America.

    The School of Behavioural and Organisational Sciences (SBOS) at Claremont Graduate University in the Western United States offers the first PhD and Master of Arts Degrees in the Western United States which are focused on the Science of Positive Psychology. The SBOS qualifications in Positive Psychology aim to provide excellent graduate education and facilitate the production of practical knowledge.

    Modules:
  • Foundations of Positive Psychology.
  • Organisational Behaviour.
  • Doctoral Seminar in Industrial Psychology.
  • Doctoral Seminar in Organisational Theory.
  • Doctoral Seminar in Organisational Development and Change.
  • Advanced Topics in Positive Psychology.
  • Positive Psychology Research Practicum.
  • Flow - The Psychology of Positive Experience.
  • Creativity and Innovation.
  • Good Work.
  • Appreciative Inquiry for Organisational Change.
  • Positive Organisational Scholarship.
  • Organisational Learning - Theory and Practice.
  • Organisational Culture.
  • Leadership.
  • Theory and Practice of Consulting.
  • Adult Development - Classic and Positive Perspectives.
  • The Study of Experience.
  • Advanced Qualitative Research Methods.

    The College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) at The University of Pennsylvania offers a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) qualification. Through this qualification learners are taught how to apply the aspects of positive psychology in a particular professional or organisational setting.

    The following modules are intended to help learners in this regard.
  • Introduction to Positive Psychology.
  • Research Methods and Evaluation.
  • Foundations of Positive Interventions.
  • Approaches to the Good Life.
  • Applied Positive Interventions.
  • Positive Psychology and Individuals.
  • Positive Psychology and Organisations.
  • Humanities and Human Flourishing.
  • Capstone Project.

    The Buckinghamshire New University in the United Kingdom offers a Master of Science in Applied Positive Psychology. The qualification introduces and critically explores primary theories and research in positive psychology and their inter-relationships. It provides a structured opportunity through which learners may explore and apply positive psychology in personally-chosen areas.

    Modules:
    Part one: The Nature of Positive Psychology.
  • Introduction to Positive Psychology.
  • Strengths-based development and Engagement.
  • Positive Subjective emotion.
    Part two: Positive Psychology and Change.
  • The Psychology of Hope and Resilience.
  • Pathway of Change.
  • The journey of Change.

    Conclusion:
    The Master of Arts: Positive Psychology compares favourably with those offered internationally, as all aim to assist the graduate to develop a comprehensive and systematic knowledge of concepts, theories and research in the fields of Positive Psychology and provide a good overview of the efficacy of different positive psychology interventions resulting in overall well-being. The main purpose, common to all these qualifications common to all is that of developing intensive research to develop and create strong data in relation to the field. They also focus in developing a learner who will perceive Positive Psychology as a strong alternative to deal with social challenges for individuals from different backgrounds. 

  • ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    The qualification articulates horizontally with:
  • Master of Science: Counselling Psychology at NQF Level 9.
  • Master of Social Science: Psychology at NQF Level 9.
  • Master of Psychology at NQF Level 9.

    This qualification articulates vertically with:
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): Psychology at NQF Level 10.
  • Doctor of Psychology (D Psy) at NQF Level 10. 

  • MODERATION OPTIONS 
    All summative assessments are externally moderated and external examiners and moderators are furnished with examination papers, memoranda and scripts or answer sheets, as well as dissertations. External examiners and moderators are sourced from other universities. 

    CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ASSESSORS 
    All assessors must:
  • Have a similar qualification at one level higher than the level of the qualification, viz., PhD qualifications.
  • Have at least five years' experience in a relevant field.
  • Be currently registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (Psychology) or the South African Council for Social Service Professions (Social Work). 

  • NOTES 
    N/A 

    LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. North West University 



    All qualifications and part qualifications submitted for public comment, or registered on the National Qualifications Framework, are public property. Thus, the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction: it is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.