Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 201900028
Science of Happiness
Course infoSchedule
Course code201900028
ECTS Credits7.5
Category / Level3 (Bachelor Advanced)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Social Sciences; Undergraduate School Sociale Wetenschappen; Psychology;
Contact personprof. dr. D.T.D. de Ridder
Telephone+31 30 2531546
dr. F.M. Kroese
Other courses by this lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. D.T.D. de Ridder
Other courses by this lecturer
prof. dr. D.T.D. de Ridder
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
2  (09/11/2020 to 05/02/2021)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slotC: MON-afternoon, TUE-afternoon,THU-morning
Study mode
Enrolment periodfrom 02/06/2020 up to and including 28/06/2020
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesYes
Waiting listNo
The goal of this course is to get students acquainted with an interdisciplinary view on happiness. This includes different theoretical perspectives (e.g., on micro-, meso- or macrolevel factors) as well as different methodological approaches to understanding well-being of individuals and societies. Students will adopt a broad view on complex societal issues and learn to evaluate scientific evidence from various domains so as to be able to provide appropriate advice to individuals or governments seeking to promote happiness and well-being.

After this course, students will be able to:
  • Participate in academic debate (both orally and in writing) on topical issues related to happiness and wellbeing
  • Critically reflect on public discussions on issues related to happiness and wellbeing
  • Compare, contrast and integrate different disciplinary perspectives on promoting happiness and wellbeing
  • Analyze the scientific basis for interventions (at micro-, meso-, and/or macrolevel) to promote wellbeing
  • Suggest evidence-based interventions (at micro-, meso-, and/or macrolevel) for individuals, organizations, or governments to promote wellbeing
‘What makes people happy’ is probably one of the most fundamental questions that concerns both individuals and societies at large. This interdisciplinary course, with contributions from psychology, public administration and interdisciplinary social science, focuses on happiness in its broadest sense. What factors influence individuals’ subjective wellbeing, why are some societies happier than others (and why are some individuals within these societies affected more by these factors than others?), and what can we do to foster happiness in our future generations?  We consider factors at the micro-, meso-, and macrolevel, and discuss how aspects from within the individual, their social environment, and policy measures may interact. By doing so, there are four specific themes of interest: health, education, finance and sustainability.

This course is part of the minor “well-being by design”, where the four specific themes of interest are recurring. The course comprises an integrative view on topics addressed in the minor but can also be followed independently.

The course heavily relies on students’ active participation in discussions and debate. We will discuss topical issues and societal challenges, where straight-forward answers will often not be available. Next to frequent group discussions, students will work in interdisciplinary groups to apply their theoretical knowledge to actual cases. In this way, the course has a primary focus on the development of academic skills, in particular analyzing scientific evidence and translating it to practical applications.

Entry requirements
Required materials
TBA (see course manual)
Recommended materials
This book is particularly relevant for students following the minor 'well-being by design'
Title:Behavioral insights for public policy - Concepts and cases
Author:Kai Ruggeri (Ed.)
Instructional formats

Class session preparation
Read course literature (see course manual)

Office hour



General remarks
Active class participation is required

Class session preparation
Prepare group assignments (see course manual)

Final result
Test weight100
Minimum grade5.5

The final result will be based on multiple course assignments.

Kies de Nederlandse taal