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:

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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 (7)
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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

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