The Science of Well-Being: Take a Free Online Version of Yale University’s Most Popular Course

Don’t lis­ten to peo­ple who tell you they’ve found the one true path to hap­pi­ness — but do lis­ten to peo­ple who seem seri­ous­ly in search of it. One such per­son, Yale psy­chol­o­gy and cog­ni­tive sci­ence pro­fes­sor Lau­rie San­tos, teach­es a whole course on the sub­ject: Psych 157, also known as “Psy­chol­o­gy and the Good Life.” And even though col­lege stu­dents are liv­ing the best time of their lives — or so the cul­ture keeps insist­ing to them — enough of them desire its insights to make it the most pop­u­lar class at the uni­ver­si­ty, with more than 1,180 stu­dents cur­rent­ly enrolled.

“The course focus­es both on pos­i­tive psy­chol­o­gy — the char­ac­ter­is­tics that allow humans to flour­ish, accord­ing to Dr. San­tos — and behav­ioral change, or how to live by those lessons in real life,” writes The New York Times’ David Shimer. “Stu­dents must take quizzes, com­plete a midterm exam and, as their final assess­ment, con­duct what Dr. San­tos calls a ‘Hack Yo’Self Project,’ a per­son­al self-improve­ment project.” The body of knowl­edge under­ly­ing it all is hard­ly obvi­ous: “Sci­en­tists didn’t real­ize this in the same way 10 or so years ago, that our intu­itions about what will make us hap­py, like win­ning the lot­tery and get­ting a good grade — are total­ly wrong,” the arti­cle quotes San­tos as say­ing.

So what, accord­ing to the up-to-date research of San­tos and oth­ers, does make us hap­py? Now, you don’t need to go Yale to find out: you can sim­ply take “The Sci­ence of Well-Being,” the new online ver­sion of San­tos’ course, on Cours­era. “The first half of the course reveals mis­con­cep­tions we have about hap­pi­ness and the annoy­ing fea­tures of the mind that lead us to think the way we do,” says its descrip­tion. “The sec­ond half of the course focus­es on activ­i­ties that have been proven to increase hap­pi­ness along with strate­gies to build bet­ter habits.”

Now open for enroll­ment, “The Sci­ence of Well-Being” can be tak­en any time, and its num­ber of stu­dents cer­tain­ly won’t be lim­it­ed by the capac­i­ty of Woolsey Hall. If you’d like to get a sense of the learn­ing expe­ri­ence on offer, have a look at the course’s trail­er above, in which San­tos explains the ori­gin and devel­op­ment of the course, which began in her own home and now, with a poten­tial­ly world­wide audi­ence, uses not just the lat­est sci­ence but a spe­cial­ly devel­oped app to help its stu­dents devel­op the ele­ments of their own good life. Will you fin­ish the course per­fect­ly hap­py? She does­n’t promise that, but nobody ever lost their way to hap­pi­ness by know­ing a bit about it.

Enroll in “The Sci­ence of Well-Being” here. And if there’s any con­fu­sion, select the “Audit” option to take the course for free.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Online Psy­chol­o­gy & Neu­ro­science Cours­es, a sub­set of our col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties

Albert Camus Explains Why Hap­pi­ness Is Like Com­mit­ting a Crime—”You Should Nev­er Admit to it” (1959)

What Are the Keys to Hap­pi­ness? Lessons from a 75-Year-Long Har­vard Study

A Guide to Hap­pi­ness: Alain de Bot­ton Shows How Six Great Philoso­phers Can Change Your Life

The Keys to Hap­pi­ness: The Emerg­ing Sci­ence and the Upcom­ing MOOC by Raj Raghu­nathan

Har­vard Course on Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­o­gy: Watch 30 Lec­tures from the University’s Extreme­ly Pop­u­lar Course

Albert Einstein’s Ele­gant The­o­ry of Hap­pi­ness: It Just Sold for $1.6 Mil­lion at Auc­tion, But You Can Use It for Free

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (8)
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  • Elvis Saitere says:

    Please Kind­ly enroll me for a free online COMPUTER SCIENCE course, which I real­ly need and my Coun­try and espe­cial­ly my Province (East­ern High­lands Province) and Dis­trict real­ly in need. And if you can kind­ly with will­ing heart may offer this course for free.

    Than in return to give back to the orga­ni­za­tion, we can make a deal that if I suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete the CS course. I will belong and work for the orga­ni­za­tion as your agent to per­form or dis­sem­i­nate what ever tasks, duties, respon­si­bil­i­ties or assign­ments in my coun­try that you may require me to do.

    I await your kind and favourable response in due course at your ear­li­est con­ve­nience.

    Sub­mit­ted with con­fi­dence,

    Elvis Saitere

  • Elvis Saitere says:

    Please Kind­ly reg­is­ter me for that free online course,Science of Well Being.

    Elvis Saitere

  • Carol Lapoff says:

    Would like to reply

  • Carol Lapoff says:

    Kind­ly enroll me in sci­ence of well being course

  • Carol Lapoff says:

    Kind­ly enroll me in free sci­ence of well being course Thank you Car­ol

  • Sasha rolfe says:

    I would like to enrol on the free course of Pro­fes­sor Lau­rie. San­tos

  • Joseph Emile says:

    Please kind­ly would you like enroll me to the course Sci­ence of Well-being? Thank you

    Joseph Emile

  • Ann Edwards says:

    I would like to enroll in the free on-line hap­pi­ness class. How do I enroll?
    Ann Edwards

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