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Unit information: Science of Happiness in 2023/24

Unit name Science of Happiness
Unit code UNIV10010
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Hood
Open unit status Open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)


Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


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

Unit Information

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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.

Your learning on this unit

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

1. Evaluate critically the evidence that mental health in the student population is deteriorating.
2. Measure their own happiness levels.
3. Discover their signature strengths.
4. Appreciate and explain the balance between genetic disposition and life events in instilling happiness.
5. Identify and discuss how the human mind distorts happiness.
6. Recognise challenges to wellbeing in themselves and others.
7. Recognise that happiness levels can be reset.
8. Develop and apply successful strategies to improve mental wellbeing.
9. Recognise and debate the role of culture in developing self esteem.

How you will learn

Live lectures, discussion group workshops (Happiness Hubs) with max 10 students per group and self-reflective journaling.

How you will be assessed

There are no examinations on this course. Instead, credit is awarded on the basis of attendance.

Each week, students are expected to attend live lectures and attend small group meetings ('Happiness Hubs') to earn their credit.

Students will also complete weekly journals that capture their original reflections on the material presented and their experience of the effectiveness of the various strategies proposed on their own happiness and that of others. This is also a required component of the course.

At the end of the course, each Happiness Hub must complete a group project, exploring either a particular theme from the course, or researching in greater detail one of the experimental studies mentioned.

Students satisfying these conditions will be awarded pass/fail credit as there are no grades associated with this course.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. UNIV10010).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the University Workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. For appropriate assessments, if you have self-certificated your absence, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (for assessments at the end of TB1 and TB2 this is usually in the next re-assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any exceptional circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.