Historically, the field of psychology has placed a lot of attention on what’s wrong with people and what we can do to treat disorders of the mind. More recently, however, the field has broadened its scope to give more attention to the positive side of human nature and the most effective ways to pursue the good life. This course focuses on this latter development by examining scientific research centered on the nature of happiness and psychological well-being. Topics include the nature and measurement of happiness, the biological basis of positive emotions, an overview of positive trait theories, self-efficacy, the mind-body connection, gratitude, emotional intelligence, altruism, decision-making, and the characteristics of successful relationships. (3 credits)
- ENG 101: English Composition 1
- ENG 102: English Composition 2
- PSY 101: Psychology
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Upon completion of the course, the students will be able to:
- Identify positive emotions, their conceptualization and measurement.
- Measure your Values in Action (VIA) Classification of Strengths and Virtues and discuss findings based on this classification.
- Examine the assessment of trait-related strengths and the genetic and environmental basis for them.
- Analyze current knowledge concerning the neurobiological basis for hope theory and optimism.
- Explain the implications of research on intrinsic motivation, reversal theory, and flow for enhancing subjective well-being.
- Recognize the implications of research on emotional intelligence for enhancing subjective well-being.
- Examine the sources and outcomes of self-efficacy and how to evaluate it.
- Analyze the family life cycle, attachment styles, and the developmental tasks to be completed by families at each stage of development to create positive relationships.
- Apply the features of positive psychotherapy, well-being therapy, quality-of-life therapy, person-centered approaches, and positive family therapy.
General Education Outcomes (GEOs)
Course Activities and Grading
Discussions (Weeks 1-8)
Active Learning Assignment (Weeks 1-8)
Annotated Bibliography (Week 2)
Final Paper Outline (Week 3)
Final Paper (Week 7)
This accelerated 8-week course will cover 8 chapters of the textbook; therefore, this course will be very demanding at times. Each week, students will need to contribute to the discussion board and post a minimum of 3 substantive posts for each discussion board forum/chapter.
For each chapter:
- The first post to all questions is due by Wednesday, 11:59pm
- The second post to one peer is due by Friday, 11:59pm
- The third post to a second peer is due by Sunday, 11:59pm.
In addition, for each chapter students will also complete an active learning assignment. Active learning assignments for each week to be completed by Sunday, 11:59pm.
Available through Charter Oak's online bookstore
- Carr, Alan. Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Human Strengths. 2nd ed. Routledge, 2011. ISBN-13: 9780415602365
Readings and Exercises
Topics: Happiness and Positive Emotions
Topics: Positive Traits: Trait Theories of Personality and Personal Strength
Topics: Hope and Optimism
Topics: Flow and Intrinsic Motivation
Topic: Emotional Intelligence
Topic: Positive Self: Self as an Object and Agent
Topic: Positive Relationships
Topics: Positive Psychological Therapy
COSC Accessibility Statement
Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.
COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources
Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.