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Unit information: Science of Happiness in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Science of Happiness
Unit code PSYC10014
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Hood
Open unit status Open




School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

There are trailers available for this unit here.

The Science of Happiness unit aims to introduce students to scientifically validated strategies for living a more satisfying life. Throughout the unit, students will explore the latest results from research in psychological science about how to be happier, how to feel less stressed and how to flourish, even in a challenging environment. They will be provided with opportunities to put some of these strategies into practice in their own life and to build some of the habits that will allow them to live a more fulfilling life.

As the unit will focus on the challenges of the transition to University, it is only available to first year undergraduate students.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, students should be able to:

•Evaluate critically the evidence that mental health in the student population is deteriorating

•Measure their own happiness levels

•Discover their signature strengths

•Appreciate and explain the balance between genetic disposition and life events in instilling happiness

•Identify and discuss how the human mind distorts happiness

•Recognise challenges to wellbeing in themselves and others

•Recognise that happiness levels can be reset

•Develop and apply successful strategies to improve mental wellbeing

•Recognise and debate the role of culture in developing self esteem

Teaching Information

Lectures, discussion group workshops (Happiness Hubs) with max 10 students per group.

Assessment Information

Students will be expected to engage in lectures and activities, and reflect on their impact and value as part of the weekly discussion group or ‘Happiness Hubs’.

Students will complete a weekly diary that captures their reflections on the material presented and their experience of the effectiveness of the various strategies proposed on their own happiness and that of others.

Note this unit does not carry a formal mark; the diary will be used as evidence to confirm that students have met the intended learning outcomes for the unit, and will be marked on a pass/fail basis.

Each Happiness Hub will also complete a group project, exploring either a particular theme from the course, or researching in greater detail one of the experimental studies mentioned.

For the award of credit students must meaningfully engage with the lectures and Happiness Hubs, the completion of the reflective diary and participation in the group project. Credit will be withheld from students who miss lectures and Happiness Hubs without good reason, or who do not engage with both the individual and group activities.

Reading and References

There will not be any essential or recommended reading, although there will be a comprehensive resource list of further reading.