The Science of Happiness


Transitioning from high school to college is a major developmental task. The challenges include independence from adult supervision, new friendships, exposure to a unique culture of academic pressure, relative freedom with access to leisure time activities that include both positive and negative elements. Anxiety/depression, problems with substance use, and mental illness often make their presence known in this period.

It can be a time of high stress and tension but also a time for unprecedented opportunity to discover strength and resilience that sets us on a positive trajectory on the stage of life.  Both professors and students have discovered that self-doubt, tension, and stress not only impede knowledge acquisition but also our capacity to flourish, i.e. to actualize our innate capacity for resilience and growth.

This course examines the state of college student mental health and wellness on a personal and systems level. This class is an opportunity to re-evaluate your beliefs, values, and assumptions, and to do so in the context of learning about the science behind health and wellness.

In this course we look at how individuals can create positive change by reinterpreting their goals and identifying steps towards having a successful experience in college and beyond. Key findings from the fields of positive psychology and the study of mental illness will inform our understanding of the biopsychosocial underpinnings of well-being.

The class seeks to reunite the current mission to cure mental and emotional distress with the exploration of how to foster more fulfilling and productive lives. We will study the whole mind, in a variety of contexts, adding a greater understanding of health to that of illness.

Learn more about the Science of Happiness on the course website.