Positive Psychology (C8892)

15 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

Positive Psychology examines the psychology of strength and virtue, with a focus on positive subjective experience (such as happiness and optimism), positive individual traits (such as the capacity for love) and positive institutions. The positive psychology movement emerged at the beginning of this century as a deliberate attempt to counterbalance what its protagonists perceived to be a distortion in the field arising from prevailing concerns in psychology with pathology and dysfunction. The goal was to rebalance the field.

In this module we will explore topics within the field of positive psychology, such as happiness, optimism, mindfulness, and love, and do so with a critical eye. The aim will be to examine the evidence for the claims made in each case. It will not be possible to present a comprehensive coverage of the area, but we will cover positive emotions, positive thinking, the positive self, positive relationships, and positive health. Our choice of topics will naturally be selective but students on the course should, through their studies, acquire an informed understanding of the principal strengths and weaknesses of this area of research.

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: