The Science of Happiness Starts Today!

The Science of Happiness

The day has finally come: “The Science of Happiness” is now live! We are thrilled to be joined by 100,000(!) students from around the world who are deeply passionate about the science and practice of happiness.

You can now find all of Week 1’s content–videos, readings, discussion questions, our first “happiness practice,” and more–on our Courseware page on edX. You can also find course news and updates on the Course Info page. You must be logged into to access these and any other pages in the course.

Some highlights from Week 1:

  • A short introductory video featuring some of the hundreds of videos our students have shared explaining what makes them happy–it’s sure to make you happy;
  • A welcome from course co-instructors Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas;
  • Our first “check-in” to help you track your happiness during the course;
  • Our short “happiness survey,” which measures your current level of happiness and will help us gauge the impact of the course;
  • Professor Keltner explains how scientists define and measure happiness–see if you agree with their take on happiness;
  • Professor Simon-Thomas explains what doesn’t make us happy and debunks some myths about happiness;
  • Guest lectures by happiness experts Drs. Sonja Lyubomirsky and Barbara Fredrickson;
  • A course-wide poll asking, Would you push the happiness button?;
  • Our first “happiness practice”–homework to boost your happiness!

The course syllabus is now posted on edX; you can also download a PDF of it from the course info page. Again, all the other main course materials can be found on the Courseware page on edX.

Dacher and Em laughing
Co-instructors Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas filming a course video.

A reminder about the course’s timeline: Now that we have posted the first week’s videos and other content on edX, we’ll post more material to the Courseware page every Tuesday at 09:00 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) for the subsequent three weeks, each week covering a different theme. During the week of October 7, we’ll break for a week so you can catch up and take the midterm exam. Then we’ll start rolling out new material again every Tuesday for four more weeks. The last week’s content, and the final exam, will be posted on November 4. Then you’ll have two weeks to catch up and complete the final by November 18.

If you have any questions about the timeline or other aspects of the course, you can probably find an answer on the course FAQ page.

Here are some other important announcements:

Live video chat with instructors. Save the date: On September 15 at 16:00 UTC(Coordinated Universal Time), “Science of Happiness” co-instructor Emiliana Simon-Thomas will be joined by special guest lecturer Sonja Lyubomirsky for the first of our live Q&A video chats with students. You can submit questions to Drs. Simon-Thomas and Lyubomirsky on this page, and they’ll answer some of them in a streaming, real-time video that you’ll be able to watch on edX. Click here for more details!

Introduce yourself on the course discussion boards. We have been thrilled to see so much activity on the “Science of Happiness” discussion boards even before the launch of the course. Visit them in order to introduce yourself and explain (in writing or a video) whatmakes you happy. You may also want to check–and add to–this map of where our “Happiness” students reside.

Connect more deeply with the “Science of Happiness” community. We are pleased to announce the launch of an online community on a separate, third-party website related to the course, developed by Sennseis, a Silicon Valley start-up with researchers based at Stanford. It is intended to help students find and connect with one another, and share what they know in their specific areas of expertise. It has more than 170 moderators from around the world to guide the conversations and explore other ways to connect, online and off. This community is hosted on a separate website but builds on the course’s content. To join the community, please go to

Earn continuing education credit hours. If you’re a psychologist, nurse, social worker, MFT, or other mental health professional in the United States, you can earn up to 16 CE credit hours for participating in “The Science of Happiness.” Visit our continuing education page for more details.

Receive a Verified Certificate of Achievement. With its Verified Certificates, edX now enables you to provide employers or schools with a higher level of proof that you have completed “The Science of Happiness.” edX designed this option for those who want to use the course for job applications, promotions, or school applications. While the course is still free to anyone, you must pay a fee for a Verified Certificate.

We are very excited to be getting started with you. You can email any questions or problems to us at, though you may also find an answer on our FAQ page.

With Gratitude,
The Science of Happiness (GG101x) Team


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