Learn the science of happiness for free with Yale University’s most popular course ever


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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – You can take Yale University’s most popular class ever for free—and learn how to be happy.

More than 1,000 students began taking the class this semester—nearly a fourth of the undergraduate student body! The course, “Psyc 157: Psychology and the Good Life,” is the university’s most popular class in its prestigious 316-year history.

The course covers the science behind positive psychology and behavior change, according to Inc.com. Students must take on a self-improvement project while taking it. Instructor Laurie Santos said Yale students want to change and learn to be happier about themselves and their lives.

But now anyone can take a modified version of the course for free, thanks to online learning platform Coursera, where it’s called “The Science of Well-Being.”

Here’s the course description:

“The Science of Well-Being” taught by Professor Laurie Santos overviews what psychological science says about happiness. The purpose of the course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy but also to put those strategies into practice. The first half of the course reveals misconceptions we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do. The second half of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness along with strategies to build better habits.

Santos delivers the recorded lectures from her living room, which allows her to offer a casual, personable approach. She hopes to connect on a deep level with her students and go beyond typical lectures.

But simply learning the science behind happiness isn’t enough: Santos said students need to apply that knowledge. She hopes people will walk away from the course with a better understanding of happiness and practice it every day.

The six-week online version of the class covers several topics, each with multiple videos and readings:

  • Misconceptions about happiness
  • Why our expectations are so bad
  • What stuff really increases happiness
  • Strategies to reset our expectations
  • Putting strategies into practice

The class has 47 total reviews with an average rating of 4.8 on a scale of 5. You can learn more here.

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