The Science of Happiness is a free online course that explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives. The course is divided into eight one-week segments, with an additional week in the middle for a midterm and an extra week at the end for a final exam. For this run of the course, students will have six months to complete the material at their own pace.
Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, the course zeroes in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social ties and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good. Students will learn about the cross-disciplinary research supporting this view, spanning the fields of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and beyond.
What’s more, The Science of Happiness will offer students practical strategies for nurturing their own happiness. Research suggests that up to 40 percent of happiness depends on our habits and activities. So each week, students will learn a new research-tested practice that fosters social and emotional well-being—and the course will help them track their progress along the way.
The course will include:
Short videos featuring the co-instructors and guest lectures from top experts on the science of happiness;
Articles and other readings that make the science accessible and understandable to non-academics;
Weekly “happiness practices”—real-world exercises that students can try on their own, all based on research linking these practices to greater happiness; and
Tests, quizzes, polls, and a weekly “emotion check-in” that help students gauge their happiness and track their progress over time.