Science of Happiness Course


“Thank you for a truly amazing class. I have learned so much about myself and others. This is my last semester at VCU and this has been my most favorite” (Anonymous student, Spring ‘16)

Transitioning from high school to college is a major developmental task. The challenges include independence from adult supervision, new friendships, and exposure to a unique culture of academic pressure, relative freedom with access to leisure time activities that include both positive and negative elements. Anxiety/depression, problems with substance use, and mental illness often make their presence known in this period. It can be a time of high stress and tension but also a time for unprecedented opportunity to discover strength and resilience that sets us on a positive trajectory on the stage of life.

This course, created by COBE and taught by Spit for Science collaborators, examines the state of college student mental health and wellness on a personal and systems level. It is an opportunity to re-evaluate your beliefs, values, and assumptions, and to do so in the context of learning about the science behind health and wellness. In this course we look at how individuals can create positive change by reinterpreting their goals and identifying steps towards having a successful experience in college and beyond. Key findings from the fields of positive psychology and the study of mental illness will inform our understanding of the biopsychosocial underpinnings of well-being.

This 3-credit course is listed through The University College (UNIV 391). Fall semesters are reserved primarily for students in the Thrive Community, but if slots are available we will allow others to join the fall sections. Spring enrollment is open to all; we welcome students from all majors and at all undergraduate levels. Simply go to eServices to sign-up. But, do it soon! Spaces fill up quickly.

For more information watch a video about the classread the syllabus and a story about the class from VCU News.