UC Berkeley Has a Popular Happiness Class—Here’s How To Take It For Free

updated Jul 30, 2020
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If you look back at your years of school and think some of the classes were not so applicable for your real life (we’re looking at you, advanced calculus), you’re not alone. But on the opposite and more useful end of the spectrum, the University of California at Berkeley now offers “The Science of Happiness,” a free online class that can certainly maintain its relevance in a student’s life beyond simply earning a grade.

And this isn’t some super condensed version of a self-help book. A pair of UC Berkeley’s leading experts on positive psychology teach the eight-week program, which delves deep into the “roots of a happy and meaningful life,” complete with scientific support and lessons in practical application.

The Science of Happiness” is built around the positive psychology take on happiness, which declares that “happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social connections and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good.”

According to the course description, four main topics will be covered:

What happiness really means and why it matters to you; how to increase your own happiness and foster happiness in others; why social connections, kindness, and community are key to happiness; which mental habits are most conducive to happiness and how mindfulness can help.

The self-paced course will include videos, exams and ironically something that generally makes folks unhappy: homework. Health professionals can apply the course to continuing education credits—and while it’s free on edX, students also have the option of purchasing a verified certificate for $49.

Though UC Berkeley doesn’t have the exclusive on happiness courses—Yale offers “The Science of Well-Being” free through Coursera.