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Unit information: Science of Happiness in 2022/23

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 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:

  • 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

How you will learn

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

How you will be assessed

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.


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 Faculty 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. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.