The Psychology Of Happiness

Course summary

  • Wed 18 Apr 2018 to Wed 27 Jun 2018
  • 7:00-9:00pm 10 meetings
  • London Road Campus, University of Reading, RG1 5AQ
  • From £173.00
  • 10 CATS points
  • Course code R17P266PCW
  • +44 (0)1865 280892
  • Applications being accepted

The Psychology Of Happiness


The search for happiness has been a major preoccupation throughout centries. At present, more than ever, we need to answer those simple questions: what is happiness? and how de we get there? Positive psychology offers some interesting answers.

This course aims to explore the concept of happiness from a psychological perspective. You will learn about different routes to happiness presented by the humanistic approach and by positive psychology. No previous experience is required.
We will explore the studies of positive emotion, positive character, positive institutions and flow made by Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi.

You will learn about the art of happiness introduced by the Dalai Lama and Haward C. Cutler, mental health, well-being, self-actualisation and peak experience through studying concepts built on pioneering work by Rogers, Maslow, Jahoda and Erikson. You will learn about the use of psychological interventions to increase individual happiness and also you will find out why we need to smile through studying the facial feedback hypothesis . You will discover why people seek pleasure.

Programme details

Term Starts:   18th April     
Half Term:      30th May

Week 1: The Art of Happiness. Different definitions and components.

Week 2: Ideal Mental Health and Happiness. Stages of Personality Development and Virtues

Week 3: Theories of Happiness and Authentic Happiness

Week 4: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Week 5: On Becoming a Person

Week 6: Maximizers and Satificers

Week 7: Self-Actualisation and Peak Experience. Pleasure Seeking

Week 8: Smiling and Facial Feedback Hypothesis.. Psychological interventions and Happiness.

Week 9: Happiness- Social-Biological Approach

Week 10: Styles of loving and Being Loved in Childhood. What is Happiness? - overview and summary.

Background Reading:
Seligman M.E.P. , Authentic Happiness,
Seligman M.E.P., Learned Optimism,
Csikszentmihalyi M., Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Rogers C.R., On Becoming a Person
HH Dalai Lama & Cutler H.C., The Art of Happiness
Erikson E, Childhood and Society
Maslow A. H. , Toward a Psychology of Being
Frankl V. , Man's Search for Meaning

If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.

If you have enrolled on a course starting in the autumn, you can become a borrowing member of the Rewley House library from 1st September. If you are enrolled on a course starting in other terms, you can become a borrowing member once the previous term has ended.

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Recommended Reading List


Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to do so.


Course Fee: £173.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Mrs Magdalena Olmos

Magdalena Olmos has an MA from the University of Warsaw. She has been a lecturer  in psychology  for twenty years.  She is also a qualified Personal Performance Coach.

Course aims

Course Aim:
To introduce students to positive psychology including happiness, flow, positive thinking and self-actualisation

Course Objectives:
to evaluate the concept of happiness and flow
to recognise the basic principles of positive thinking
to discuss different determinants of self-actualisation,well- being and mental health

Teaching methods

The course will consist of mini lectures, group discussions, brain storming, role play and other exercises , such as relaxation.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students can expect to:
1. recognise the basic components of well-being, mental health and happiness
2. evaluate different concepts of happiness
3. assess the psychological interventions which lead to well -being and happiness

Assessment methods

Essay: What is happiness ? Discuss.
Word limit: 1500

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form with any piece of work that is part of the assessment criteria. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)