The Science of Happiness

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9/10 stars
based on  113 reviews
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Course Details

Cost

FREE,
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edX online courses
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be tau...
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

Provider Subject Specialization
Sciences & Technology
Business & Management
23496 reviews

Course Description

"A free eight-week Science of Happiness course that will offer practical, research-backed tips on living a happy and meaningful life."  - The Huffington Post

We all want to be happy, and there are countless ideas about what happiness is and how we can get some. But not many of those ideas are based on science. That’s where this course comes in.

“The Science of Happiness” is the first MOOC to teach the ground-breaking science of positive psychology, which explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives. Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, the course will zero in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social connections and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the...

"A free eight-week Science of Happiness course that will offer practical, research-backed tips on living a happy and meaningful life."  - The Huffington Post

We all want to be happy, and there are countless ideas about what happiness is and how we can get some. But not many of those ideas are based on science. That’s where this course comes in.

“The Science of Happiness” is the first MOOC to teach the ground-breaking science of positive psychology, which explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives. Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, the course will zero in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social connections and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good. Students will learn about the cross-disciplinary research supporting this view, spanning the fields of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and beyond.

What’s more, “The Science of Happiness” offers students practical strategies for tapping into and nurturing their own happiness, including trying several research-backed activities that foster social and emotional well-being, and exploring how their own happiness changes along the way.

The course’s co-instructors, Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, are not only leading authorities on positive psychology but also gifted teachers skilled at making science fun and personal. They’ll be joined by world-renowned experts discussing themes like empathy, mindfulness, and gratitude—experts including Barbara Fredrickson, Paul Ekman, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Health professionals who register can earn continuing education units for their participation.

Consider signing up for this course with a friend or group - tweet about your registration, share it on Facebook, and use the buddy system to stay on track. Join the conversation on The Greater Good Science Center Facebook page, or in the BerkeleyX: GG101x The Science of Happiness Facebook group.

Reviews 9/10 stars
113 Reviews for The Science of Happiness

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Louise Hammerl profile image
Louise Hammerl profile image

Louise Hammerl

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 7 months ago
I began this course in the fall of 2015. I am much older (75) and it was a little hard to get into the swing of studying, etc. The course is hard but I learned so much, finished it and got an acceptable grade (85%). I wanted to take it again in January where I would have 6 months to study again (I do better repeating things I am learning) and I felt it would be more time to absorb completely. Too many things came up and I couldn't do the January course. But I would definitely do it again. It was great! The instructors were amazing!
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Eve Howard profile image
Eve Howard profile image

Eve Howard

8/10 starsTaking Now
3 years, 7 months ago
The first half of the course, the first 4 - 5 weeks is tremendously valuable, interesting and well done. The last half, at least for me, is a waste of time, not interesting, not all that valuable, repetitive and not as academic as I would like. Professor Dacher Keltner is a very respected academic, Dr. Simon Thomas is less known but quite good, the EdX platform is basically videos (some with running transcripts, some not), light assessment template questions, a primitive discussion board platform, readings & articles, and links. Customer support for EdX is pretty poor and a couple of emails to the prof were unanswered. But, overall, you just can't beat the first 4 weeks - the content resoundingly important and presented by premier researchers and academics, the course is free, and it may iterate and improve in future semesters.
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Bojana Slijepcevic profile image
Bojana Slijepcevic profile image

Bojana Slijepcevic

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 10 months ago
I have started this course without expectations but with interest and curiosity and successfully completed it at the end of June. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about human evolution, human nature,social connections and self. The complex issues and abundance of material was organized in logical, digestible manner, quizzes were appropriate and the lecturers (that I only later informed myself are renewed authorities in these and a range of other also intriguing subjects) succeed in delivering it with ease and humor. Some of the exercises proposed were very helpful tools to practically test the lessons but also learn something new about myself and better understand people that surround me. I still use them from time to time. Thanks to the Science of Happiness team and I wish you success in the next round of the course.
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Marie M profile image
Marie M profile image

Marie M

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 11 months ago
Excellent course, which manages to cover a number of topics in an accessible and relevant manner. I appreciated the design of the course, and the thoughtful way transitions were made between topics. The opportunity to "dig deeper" is readily available with the provision of references for additional sources. Cannot recommend this course highly enough - it's life enhancing.
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Chad Russell profile image
Chad Russell profile image

Chad Russell

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 11 months ago
In my view, this course is an exceedingly competent overview of current research presented in an accessible format, made all the more concrete by the activities. And at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this topic is very salient with regard to the survival of life on this planet. I regard this material as "must-know."
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Eleftheria Koudigkeli profile image
Eleftheria Koudigkeli profile image

Eleftheria Koudigkeli

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 11 months ago
This course is amazing, loved every week of it. It covers aspects of our thoughts but it is backed up by science while mingling West and Easter cultures and methods. Great variety of materials, sources and content. Loved the HW and the step by step guidance. Thank you for the great content:)
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student

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years ago
A wonderful course.I learned a lot about my own happiness.I discovered the power of the now and the importance of forgiveness for betterr relations.Very good instructors and complete study material.
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Matthew Harrington profile image
Matthew Harrington profile image
4/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
4 years, 1 month ago
The course content seemed overly simple. Not much meat in the course. The instruction did explain the content well. Additionally edX is an amazing learning platform.
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Cristina Consolado profile image
Cristina Consolado profile image

Cristina Consolado

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 2 months ago
This is a great course. I really enjoyed doing it and I learned a lot. The course is based on the latest findings in neuroscience and is explained in an intuitive way that anyone can achieve. There also lectures from well known scientists on the field and practical exercises to train ourselves at acquire a better and happier life. I truly recommend this course to everyone.
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student

6/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 3 months ago
It is making me look at my own Values of happiness and other personal feelings. I never knew how far from happiness I really was in life. I looked at myself as happy until I started this course.
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Angela Avery profile image
Angela Avery profile image

Angela Avery

10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 4 months ago
There is much information in this course that can help shape the world into a better place for all. Individuals taking the course can make as much or as little of it as they wish; but including the happiness practices into your weekly routines will improve your outlook, and will make life easier for those around you.
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Janete Faustino profile image
Janete Faustino profile image

Janete Faustino

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 4 months ago
It was so good, that I wish there was more. :) Maybe a follow up on presents years discoveries and shared experiences/stories.
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Sofia Mitre profile image
Sofia Mitre profile image

Sofia Mitre

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 5 months ago
Its my favorite course so far! Loved the content, esasy to follow, great teachers and very interesting :)
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student

4/10 starsDropped
4 years, 4 months ago
They put science in the title but not so much in the course. Lots of misinformation and bad studies. A lot cheesy exercises. Not a lot of real good science.
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Brendan Patrick profile image
Brendan Patrick profile image

Brendan Patrick

8/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 4 months ago
Very smart topic and must be a priority for everyone. Need to go deeper into the science. Also need to really focus on the details of forming relationships. Yes its obvious we are social creatures however even in big cities, people are ALONE and VERY LONELY. It's "easier said then done" to find friends, yes we can go to coffee and say hi to the person behind the counter, or the person on the wt machine at the Gym, but HOW? for the average introvert, sometimes when we reach out, it comes off CREEPY. How about some real simple cleaver skill sets folks can work on other than, Start a book club.
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Adrienn Daniel profile image
Adrienn Daniel profile image

Adrienn Daniel

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 5 months ago
Positive psychology with the newest scientific research. Definitely a positive life changing experience. Thanks UC Berkeley :)
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Adil A.Assidiq profile image
Adil A.Assidiq profile image

Adil A.Assidiq

7/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 5 months ago
This was the first time I heard about such topic. To link the happiness with scientific research. Definitely an extra positive life changing experience. Thanks for this chance of changing life
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Carol Lyons profile image
Carol Lyons profile image

Carol Lyons

9/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 6 months ago
It was an excellent class with expert instruction and excellent provider. This was my first on line class and I was overwhelmed at the first 2 weeks, I was learning so many good things I decided to keep trying until midterm, then at midterm I finely got the hang of the process, the homework, tests and learning to schedule my time to finish the assignments every week to stay at the pace and not to fall behind. I really learned a lot and enjoyed the instructors very much.
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student

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 6 months ago
I was a bit iffy at first about joining the course and I just wasn't sure if my time would be well-spent. Well, it was. Many of the subjects were just thought-provoking in the sense that it gave me a lot to think about and it gave me different perspectives to self-reflect. I didn't know there was so much science done in a subject that seems difficult to measure, but well, there is.
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Neale Adams profile image
Neale Adams profile image

Neale Adams

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 6 months ago
Very interesting content provided by very clear lectures by two of the professors. I would recommend this course to everyone.
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Katherine Adamenko profile image
Katherine Adamenko profile image

Katherine Adamenko

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 6 months ago
I thought that the content was spot on in its scope of the study of happiness. I particularly liked the structure where the first part of the course focuses on ways to cultivate happiness outside of ourselves and into our relationships and social connections. The second part then took a deeper dive into personal happiness; together they made a great compilation. The instructors had a wonderful way of disseminating the information (esp. the science and research) in a very clear and understandable ways. The video selections from leading pioneers of happiness were a great addition. Thank you for a wonderful experience. I will look out for more courses like this.
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Student

10/10 starsDropped
4 years, 6 months ago
I ENROLLED SEP 2014,I COULDNOT WORKOUT ASSIGNMENTS DO REGULAR STUDY.THEN AND THERE I STUDIED.I JUST FILLED QUESTIONNAIRES AND KNEW ABOUT MY EMOTIONS.SO,I STRONGLY DETERMINED TO TAKE UP THE COURSE AGAIN IN JAN 2016 AND PLANNED TO GET MY VERIFIED CERTIFICATE THIS TIME. I KEEP THINKING WHAT SHOULD I DO TO GET HIGH GRADES IN THE ASSESMENT TESTS..
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student profile image

student

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 6 months ago
I thought this course was excellent, both the theory behind the research and the practical daily suggestions to improve happiness. I took the final a few days ago and am considering signing up again for the January class. I highly recommend this course.
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Louise Hammerl profile image
Louise Hammerl profile image

Louise Hammerl

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 6 months ago
I loved this course; so much, in fact, that I am enrolled for January. I learned so much that I was able to just absorb and use in my life.. I was amazed! I have always been a grateful person but at times not to happy. I think this course made me so aware that I seem to be always pretty happy..at least most of the time I want to absorb more of what I just finished...6 months is a much better time frame for me. It was tough getting in at least 5 hours/week and staying caught up. I seem to do better with repetition. Thanks for offering it again.
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James Fraser profile image
James Fraser profile image

James Fraser

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 7 months ago
Excellent course! It is pretty amazing that content of such high quality has been made available for free! My undergrad degree was in neuroscience, and I found this free course to be of equal or greater quality and value than any of the $500+ psychology/neuroscience courses I have ever taken. The weekly practices were a fantastic way to encourage behavioral change. Many university courses seem to contain fascinating information but no guidance in integrating the information into your daily life. The weekly practices in this course made it possible for me to actually integrate the course material into my life and experience the benefits on a daily basis.
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student

10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 7 months ago
I am enjoying the research and the course but I probably should have taken it when I had more time. Another factor for me in terms of personal impact--and it is a huge factor--is that I lost my mother and two other family members in a ten day period a little over six months ago. I am usually a rather content person but I have been grief-stricken and my "check-in" scores are not going to even be near the average. I am sad despite the quality of the material and my enjoyment of the course.
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Andrea Caprio profile image
Andrea Caprio profile image

Andrea Caprio

10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 7 months ago
Amazing course which helps a lot with self reflection and practical implementation for self or others. Wonderful instructors, very thorough material and good links to more reading. Really enjoying this course and am experience elevated happiness :-)
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Sara Grimes profile image
Sara Grimes profile image

Sara Grimes

10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 7 months ago
It is fabulous. Everyone should watch it and learn how to be happy. There aren't that many more important uses of time!
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Fressia Cerna profile image
Fressia Cerna profile image
1/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
I have been doing this course starting on the week of 5 to 10th of october 2015 and I was already behind. I have not been able to move from the first part, because every time I do the excersices and try to submit them, a message shows saying that I do not have an account. Of course I do have an account, but then I try to open an account and a message says that the email address I am using is already taken. Then I proceed to use my email address with which I open the account and it comes again saying that the email address I am trying to use is already taken. then I try to open an account and it goes on and on and on..... This is absolutely frustrated. It does not work, I have written three times looking for help and nobody has responded me. Is this a joke of some bizzare way of riping me of my money? I have paid already 50 bucks for the certification that I am suposed to receive when finishing the course. But I will never be able to... I have been doing this course starting on the week of 5 to 10th of october 2015 and I was already behind. I have not been able to move from the first part, because every time I do the excersices and try to submit them, a message shows saying that I do not have an account. Of course I do have an account, but then I try to open an account and a message says that the email address I am using is already taken. Then I proceed to use my email address with which I open the account and it comes again saying that the email address I am trying to use is already taken. then I try to open an account and it goes on and on and on..... This is absolutely frustrated. It does not work, I have written three times looking for help and nobody has responded me. Is this a joke of some bizzare way of riping me of my money? I have paid already 50 bucks for the certification that I am suposed to receive when finishing the course. But I will never be able to finish the course given that I need an account that I already have, but the system does not recognize it. It is absolutely creazy. My progress: no progress at all but I have to choose one, isn't it funy????? Can someone of the course providers or the facilitators help me with this, I am not getting happy, I am getting angry! Fressia
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Georgiana Herzberg profile image
Georgiana Herzberg profile image

Georgiana Herzberg

10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 7 months ago
What a great course! I am expanding my thinking through the readings, exercises, and the opportunities - but no pressures - to participate in the discussion forums. Although I have only completed 7 weeks of the course, I am very pleased with the course structure, content, and the ability of these instructors (Emeliana and Dacher) to engage me. At the request of several friends, I am checking for info on when the NEXT course will be offered. Access to the work/newsletter of the Greater Good Science Center - of which I was previously unaware - is a nice bonus.
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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.