The Science of Happiness

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9/10 stars
based on  113 reviews
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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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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 9 months ago
This is the best MOOC I have taken so far. It is easily applicable and helped me in dealing with some difficult situations at the time I was taking it as well as later. I can highly recommend it.
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4/10 starsDropped
  • 7 reviews
  • 6 completed
4 years, 8 months ago
It's week 3 of the course, and my enthusiasm dropped already. I feel like this course is a mishmash of science, magazine articles, blogs, opinions, advice that are a bit cheap. Like what you'd reed in self-help books and that you'd forget an hour later. Like things we already know if we're older than 15. I'm not sure whether I'll manage to stay till the end. The instructors are nice people, don't get me wrong, but as a whole, the course is weird. (update: I finally dropped, a too boring and passive course, that lasts 10 weeks and would waste my time while there are tons of great courses out there)
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Ivan Izquierdo profile image
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Ivan Izquierdo

7/10 starsDropped
4 years, 9 months ago
The source materials were great but there's too much information together; it's ironic how a course can be named "the science of happiness" when it's kinda boring in some point. But overall the course is good. Recommendation: If you take this course, don't apply for other mooc's until you finish it because it absorbs a lot of time
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Akida Mohammed profile image
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Akida Mohammed

8/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 9 months ago
I completed this course last year at a time when I was going through a lot of trials and hardships; the learning from this course helped me with coping and remembering what is important, it is a fantastic course for everyone, it helps with all of life...
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Beverly Rivard profile image
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Beverly Rivard

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 9 months ago
I learned a lot about practical brain science and positive psychology practices from this course. I have successfully incorporated what I learned into my counseling and life coaching work. I highly recommend not only taking the course but putting it into practice in your life. This is the way true social change is created- one person, one step at a time.
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Eve Munster profile image
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Eve Munster

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 9 months ago
I loved it! I think that if a larger proportion of our population were taught these practices from a young age and encouraged to keep up their happiness practices, that we could achieve more happiness individually and within our society. I found some of the case studies to be motivational and inspirational. I thought the instructors did an excellent job. I'm so glad I took the time to complete this course and have recommended it to friends and co-workers.
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10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 9 months ago
I would like to thank deeply the course cast who did exert a great efforts just for the subjective well-being of others I myself feel so happy and lucky person as I previously get in touch with that brilliant materials which helped me and still help me to be a better version of myself especially away of the pseudo-science Thanks is not enough to your deeds. Keep it up
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Moisés Moreno profile image
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Moisés Moreno

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years ago
Best course ever !!!
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 2 months ago
Both the instructor and the content was amazing. Almost everything mentioned in this course was backed up by research. I've put some of the happiness practices in my daily life and they improved my overall life satisfaction. In addition this course provides you with resources that you can read (optionally) in case you want to study one of the topics in further detail. I suggest this course to everyone.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years, 3 months ago
Definitely a great introduction to both positive psychology and edx. Very well presented and designed. The lecturers are not pedantic and made me connect with the topic. I actually like the fact that the course is geared towards trying to make you work towards your own happiness. I am taking this not to get a degree in psychology but to learn more and since the premise is that happiness is good for you, trying to get participants to work on themselves is a great idea.
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10/10 starsDropped
5 years, 3 months ago
I really enjoyed taking part in this class eventhough I couldn't really keep the pace as I was absent almost 2 weeks at the beginning. I did not totally complete the course but almost. I found the information provided very interesting and helpful in finding one's way to a meaningful and much happier life. Great work and nice instructors!!
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 3 months ago
A psych 101 type class, where a large amount of scientifically tested theories are collected in one course; presented to the student for their own benefit and knowledge
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Dilyana Krasimirova profile image
Dilyana Krasimirova profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 4 months ago
This is one of the greatest courses I have taken so far! Although I haven't finished the course yet, I would like to point out that it covers the whole ground of happiness theory. The course is very helpful because it explains in details every aspect of the science of happiness and it is easier to understand when there is so much information so that nothing is left out! I did two of the happiness practices which I felt I would enjoy and I really did! One of them - 3 positive things every day really changed my life! I've been doing it for more than 2 months now, and since the first time I feel happier and more talented. It helps you to focus on the positive things in your life and to understand a lot about yourself! At some point you realize what are the things that you enjoy doing, what your flow is, and that you are, indeed, talented! Another one that I have done and truly enjoyed was the self- compassion letter. It is so easy to al... This is one of the greatest courses I have taken so far! Although I haven't finished the course yet, I would like to point out that it covers the whole ground of happiness theory. The course is very helpful because it explains in details every aspect of the science of happiness and it is easier to understand when there is so much information so that nothing is left out! I did two of the happiness practices which I felt I would enjoy and I really did! One of them - 3 positive things every day really changed my life! I've been doing it for more than 2 months now, and since the first time I feel happier and more talented. It helps you to focus on the positive things in your life and to understand a lot about yourself! At some point you realize what are the things that you enjoy doing, what your flow is, and that you are, indeed, talented! Another one that I have done and truly enjoyed was the self- compassion letter. It is so easy to always criticize yourself but this exercise helps you to be kinder to yourself and while writing this letter I experienced the greatest joy, peace and happiness! I highly recommend this course for everyone who wants to feel happier and to understand what makes them happy! The lectorers are amazing and I am very grateful to them for the hard work they put in order to present this course to so many people around the world and explain to them the science of happiness!
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 4 months ago
Am very happy to join this course! Thankyou EDx!! i am teaching about happiness and i hope i can learn a lot here more about happiness! Ephrem BW
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권 진호 profile image
권 진호 profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
5 years, 5 months ago
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Tamsen Aichinger profile image
Tamsen Aichinger profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
5 years, 7 months ago
I expected more neuroscience. The resources are there but it isn't the primary focus of the course. There is strong emphasis on 'happiness' practices and attitudes and how these can make the individual course participants happier people. The content was interesting but sometimes overstated. The coursework took more than twice as long as was estimated in the course description. On the other hand, the fact that video presentations were often followed by readings stating the same thing does give different learning styles a chance to digest the material thoroughly. I particularly like the opportunity to hear experts beyond the two instructors present their ideas. As we got into the course links to actual research reports about some of the things the instructors were presenting began to be included, something I particularly appreciated. All-in- all, worth taking if one is interested in enhancing their sense personal well- being and how... I expected more neuroscience. The resources are there but it isn't the primary focus of the course. There is strong emphasis on 'happiness' practices and attitudes and how these can make the individual course participants happier people. The content was interesting but sometimes overstated. The coursework took more than twice as long as was estimated in the course description. On the other hand, the fact that video presentations were often followed by readings stating the same thing does give different learning styles a chance to digest the material thoroughly. I particularly like the opportunity to hear experts beyond the two instructors present their ideas. As we got into the course links to actual research reports about some of the things the instructors were presenting began to be included, something I particularly appreciated. All-in- all, worth taking if one is interested in enhancing their sense personal well- being and how your own personal sense of well-being (what they call happiness) can impact those around you. The course could be tightened up without losing content.
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Paul Hundal profile image
Paul Hundal profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 138 reviews
  • 119 completed
5 years, 6 months ago
This course exemplifies what is so great about EDx MOOC's. It provided the very best most reliable information on the Web on this topic in my opinion. I am an information junkie and I love MOOC's like this one because you get the latest and best summary of the science from the best people in the field. This course is well organized but does have a full workload. For me it was worth it but if you fall behind on the weeks I couldn't imagine you catching up easily. There is a fair amount of reading as well as lectures and the tests are challenging so you have to do the work to do well on the tests. However if you don't care about the mark there are excellent life improvement lessons in the lectures themselves and the latest in effective happiness tips based on the best science to increase happiness in your life. So you have a choice of taking what you like from the lectures at your convenience or challenging yourself by learning all the... This course exemplifies what is so great about EDx MOOC's. It provided the very best most reliable information on the Web on this topic in my opinion. I am an information junkie and I love MOOC's like this one because you get the latest and best summary of the science from the best people in the field. This course is well organized but does have a full workload. For me it was worth it but if you fall behind on the weeks I couldn't imagine you catching up easily. There is a fair amount of reading as well as lectures and the tests are challenging so you have to do the work to do well on the tests. However if you don't care about the mark there are excellent life improvement lessons in the lectures themselves and the latest in effective happiness tips based on the best science to increase happiness in your life. So you have a choice of taking what you like from the lectures at your convenience or challenging yourself by learning all the material thoroughly and be tested in a fair but challenging way.
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1/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 6 months ago
A lot of junk science. Claims were often made that the data was either weak or, it appears, made up. Seemed to be more about building an industry in which to sell books, speaking fees etc.
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joe smith profile image
joe smith profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 6 months ago
Some of the content of this course was a little "touchy-feely" for me and some of the research results seemed glaringly obvious. However, I still found the material interesting and I learned a lot. One of the most useful aspects of the class was to see what things other participants were getting hung up on and how their life choices were leading to less happiness. As a generally happy person it gave me a valuable insight into what may be going on in other peoples' minds when they have a hard time getting past things, or letting issues go.
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Student

8/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 7 months ago
The course touches a lot of different subjects, such as social connection, kindness, mindfullness and gratitude. All are very interesting! Also the happiness practises give you the chance to participate and work on you own happiness, alongside learning about it theoretically. Just one slight remark, because the course goes so wide, it doesn't go as deep as I would like in some subjects. There is so much more interesting information that you simply don't get to! I would love extra courses on each of the subjects in this course, to learn much much more.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 5 months ago
This course was very well put together and the professors where super. I learned alot and was inspired by the materials. I actually felt happier after working on the course materials! It was an unexpected benefit!
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 6 months ago
Well I have great problems during the course cause my computer was broke soe when it was in middle one and my evolution no so good and I'd like to know when starting another again if I can try do to again next year? Thanks for everything I liked so much but my improve was no good , but I intend to again if possible. Rosane angélica from Brazil. Thanks.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 6 months ago
I loved this course, it was a weekly interesting, fun and very useful activity. Learned a lot, try to use it most of the time. The pace of it was great, it gave time to really learn the practices. Great Edx MOOC.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 6 months ago
Excellent, life-enhancing course! So well-presented, rooted in science and so valuable with big benefits! Recommend to anyone/everyone! 1 person changing themselves, changing the world for the better. Much gratitude!
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 6 months ago
I came across this course while suffering from clinical depression and recently being started in medication. The course was a life saver. Based on this I identified which thoughts and attitudes were contributing to my negative outlook in life and made a plan,for my life. Took lots of determination but two months later I was taken out of medication I feel recovered, grateful, happy. I'm aware I have to keep working on it, but these guys show me that I highly recommend the course
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 6 months ago
This course was very well organized and the material was engaging, interesting, and, most of all, personally relevant. It was obvious the instructors put a lot of effort into creating the course. I thoroughly enjoyed this class and I will be referring back to the materials as time goes by.
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8/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 6 months ago
The course was wonderful, but I have to express some sadness that I was unable to complete it. Apparently, I misunderstood what UTC meant. Thinking it was the same as PST, when I went to complete the course materials at 10:00pm EST I could not submit..Otherwise the course is 5 for me.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 6 months ago
I finished this course and found it stimulating, challenging and really interesting. I've never done a MOOC before so can't compare but I found this easy to follow, I could go back and the assessments challenged me but allowed me to revisit texts and reinforce my learning. A great course and I am a different person in terms of outlook. Still a way to go for me, lots of tools and food for thought there for me. It's a real treasure chest.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 6 months ago
Great class! Very nice instructors and guest speakers. It also formed a nice community of caring students worldwide.
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 6 months ago
Really fascinating, really accessible, and with really practical tools to apply in your own life or as a teacher. Would highly recommend it.
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