The Science of Happiness

A free online course exploring the roots of a happy, meaningful life.


  • Venue: Online
  • Date: Session began Sept. 4, 2017 - Registration is still open!
  • Price: Free (except to earn Continuing Education units)

Since the Greater Good Science Center's FREE Science of Happiness online course first launched in September of 2014, more than 450,000 students have registered for it. Here is what some of them have to say:

"This is the most useful course I have ever taken. The materials that were offered in this course completely changed my perspective towards life."

"Excellent life-improvement lessons."

"The weekly practices in this course made it possible for me to actually integrate the course material into my life and experience the benefits on a daily basis."

The free eight-week course explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life through science and practice. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from the latest research, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives. The course is divided into eight one-week segments, with an additional week in the middle for a midterm and an extra week at the end for a final exam, though students have six months to complete the material at their own pace if they wish.

Taught by the GGSC's Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, The Science of Happiness zeroes in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social ties and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good. 

Students will learn about the most recent and relevant happiness research through compelling videos featuring Dacher and Emiliana as well as expert guest instructors; actionable happiness exercises; accessible reading material; and a weekly "emotion check-in."

And it works: previous participants have reported significant increases in happiness and life satisfaction, with a corresponding decrease in stress.

How to Sign Up

The Science of Happiness is hosted on the edX platform. To sign up, you need to create an edX account and then register for the course on edX. Once you do, you'll receive weekly emails every Tuesday as new content is posted. 

Continuing Education

Six or 16 units of continuing education are available to psychologists, social workers, MFTs, therapist, counselors, and nurses. More info is in the Continuing Education tab above.  

Taking the Course as a Team

Why not take the class with a group? We now offer a facilitator's guide to help you organize in-person meetings to coincide with the run of the course.

The guide provides week-by-week instructions for how to present key topics; addresses the most common questions students have; and helps you try out suggested exercises, activities, and practices from the course in a group setting. 

If you have questions about how your group can take the course or would like further information about the facilitator's guide, contact GGSC Marketing Director Elise Proulx directly at eliseproulx@berkeley.edu.

Verified Track

Please note this course is free; simply choose "Audit This Course" to register at no charge. However, edX (the online education platform which hosts the course) also offers a Verified Track for $49. The course is identical, but you'll receive a certificate of completion when you finish the course. 

If you plan to use your course for job applications, promotions, or school applications, you may prefer to have a verified certificate. It’s also a great way to give yourself an incentive to complete the course and celebrate your success.

 

This online course is approved for 16 CE credit hours for psychologists, therapists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and members of NIRSA. A shorter, introductory version is approved for 6 CE credit hours. Continuing Education for this course is co-sponsored by R. Cassidy Seminars. 

To earn CE credit hours for participating in this online course, you must:

1. Register for CE credit through the course’s continuing education co-sponsor, R. Cassidy Seminars (RCS), paying for either 16 CE credit hours or 6 CE credit hours. When you register for CE credit, you will create a login through the RCS website. 

2. Follow this link to register separately for The Science of Happiness for free on edX, the platform that hosts the course. Choose the "Audit This Course (No Certificate)" registration option. You do not need to register for a Verified Certificate, which does not provide CE credits. edX offers the Verified option to those who want proof that they completed the course (for non-CE purposes).

3. Complete a self-test measuring your understanding of the course material. You can access the self-test through the R. Cassidy Seminars website any time after the course launches. You can answer test questions while you’re still taking the course or after you’ve completed the entire course, and you can stop the test at any time—you’ll just need to click the Submit Answers button before leaving the page. When you next log in, you will return to the page that follows your last submitted answers. A score of 75 percent is required to pass the test. Should you score less than 75 percent, you will have the opportunity to view your incorrect responses and retake the test immediately.

4. Once you pass the test, an evaluation form will come up on your screen. Please fill this out completely, as it is a requirement of each licensing board.

5. A continuing education certificate of completion will appear on your screen after you’ve passed the self-test and filled out the evaluation. We recommend that you print it for your records, though R. Cassidy Seminars does maintain a record of your course completion and your certificate in case you need it in the future.

For any questions related to continuing education credit for this course, email R. Cassidy Seminars staff at staff@rcassidy.com or call them at 888-992-9199.

Click the links below to learn more and register for the 16 or 6 CE version.

16 CE hours, $199 
REGISTER

6 CE hours, $99
REGISTER

Course Approvals

Continuing Education is co-sponsored by R. Cassidy Seminars.

Satisfactory Completion: Participants must have paid course fee, submitted signed verification statement, completed evaluation, and completed post-test with passing grade of 75% in order to receive a certificate. Failure to complete and submit these materials will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire course. No exceptions will be made. Partial credit is not available.

Psychologists: R. Cassidy Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education for psychologists. R. Cassidy Seminars maintains responsibility for this program.

Social Workers: R. Cassidy Seminars, ACE provider #1082, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. Approval Period:  April 15, 2015-April 15, 2018. R. Cassidy Seminars maintains responsibility for the program. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers will receive 6 or 16 continuing education (clinical, social work ethics) clock hours in participating in this course.
CA: (See ASWB above.)
OH: Provider approved by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board for 6 or 16 clock hours, #RCST110701.

Counselors/Marriage and Family Therapists: 
IL: Illinois Dept of Professional Regulation, Approved Continuing Education Sponsor, #168-000141. 6 or 16 hours.
OH: Provider approved by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board for 6 or 16 clock hours, #RCST110701.
TX: Approved CE Sponsor through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists. Provider #151.

Chemical Dependency Counselors: Provider approved by NAADAC Approved Education Provider Program for 6 or 16 contact hours. Approval #000654.
CA: Provider approved by CAADAC, Provider #4N-00-434-0210 for 6 or 16 CEHs. CAADAC is an ICRC member which has reciprocity with most ICRC member states.
TX: Provider approved by the TCBAP Standards Committee, Provider No. 1749-06, 6 or 16 hours, expires 3/31/2017. Complaints about provider or workshop content may be directed to the TCBAP Standards Committee, 1005 Congress Avenue, Ste. 460, Austin, Texas 78701, Fax Number (512) 476-7297.

Nurses: 
CA: Provider approved by the CA Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CeP12224, for 6 or 16 contact hours.

Teachers/Educators: 
IL: Provider approved by the Illinois State Board of Certification #080304164719171.
TX: R. Cassidy Seminars is an approved provider with the Texas Education Agency CPE# 501456. This course is 6 or 16 CEHours.

Please Note: Licensing Boards change regulations often and while we attempt to stay abreast of their most recent changes, if you have questions or concerns about this course meeting your specific board’s approval, we recommend you contact your board directly to obtain a ruling.

  • Dacher Keltner

    Dacher Keltner

    Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., is a pioneering awe researcher, the founding faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center, and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence and Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and a co-editor of The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness.

  • Emiliana Simon-Thomas

    Emiliana Simon-Thomas

    Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., is science director of the Greater Good Science Center, where she oversees the GGSC’s Expanding Gratitude project, The Science of Happiness online class, and more. Emiliana’s work spotlights the science that connects health and happiness to social affiliation, caregiving, and collaborative relationships.