Course Syllabus


Positive Psychology A 

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Semester & Location:

Spring 2022 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:

Western Denmark; Prague

Major Disciplines:

Psychology, Human Development, Education/Educational Studies 


Faculty Members:

Kamilla Lange (contact information for current students)

Program Contact: (current students please contact faculty using the Canvas Inbox)

Time & Place:

Mondays & Thursdays, 08.30 - 09.50

Classroom: N7-C25

Description of Course

This course combines a study of theory, research, and application in the rapidly growing field of positive psychology. We will critically examine the psychology of well-being with both its possibilities and limitations, focusing on topics such as positive emotions, character strengths, flow, mind/body, mindfulness, creativity, and post-traumatic growth within the context of culture and history. We investigate how positive psychology relates to other areas of psychology as well as health care, urban planning and social interactions. We will learn about how the principles of positive psychology can be applied in real-world settings such as education, social work and the clinical context. Through experiential learning and reflection, we will explore gain tools for developing sustainable happiness and increased life satisfaction. 

Learning Objectives

In the field of psychology, we seek to enhance our understanding of human nature through theory building and testing. The overall objective of this course relates to this dual process of creating theories and models and relating them to real world observations on one hand, and on the other hand constantly challenging, questioning and expanding them to avoid them from narrowing our understanding. During this course, we will:

  • Learn about theoretical and empirical foundations of positive psychology within the context of other psychological disciplines and traditions.

  • Examine human flourishing in different contexts.

  • Perform critical examination of theory and research in the field of positive psychology.

  • Explore possibilities for new development in positive psychology. 

  • Relate theoretical perspectives in positive psychology to real world observations.

  • Demonstrate methods of intervention in positive psychology.


Kamilla Lange

Msc. Psychology (2006, University of Copenhagen). BA. Psychology (2003, University of Copenhagen). Works as a clinical psychologist and mindfulness instructor. Teacher and supervisor for both psychologists, medical doctors and other professionals. Author of a book on mindfulness and body acceptance. With DIS since 2015.

(contact information for current students)


Required Textbooks: (selected chapters available online)

You will not receive a physical copy of this book required readings will be online

  • Boniwell, I. & Tunariu, A. D.  (2019). Positive Psychology. Theory, Research, and Applications. UK: McGraw Hill.

Required Articles and Other Media on Canvas:

Core Course week/Short Tour: Well-Being in Denmark

During Core Course Week and our Short Study Tour to Western Denmark, we will be considering Well-Being in Denmark.

We will learn about central concepts of the field such as flow, community, creativity and liveability. Through a variety of workshops and activities, we will examine happiness in Danish life, and the local community and environments' promotion of quality of life. We will also look at positive psychology applications for work life.  

Long Study tour: Well-Being in Prague 

This week-long Study Tour investigates wellbeing in a Czech context. We will lean about applications of positive psychology in Prague. The academic visits give you a forum to discuss and debate cultural differences within ‘best practice,’ and encourage you to explore the historical, economic, and social aspects of positive psychology. We will also explore "the good life" in Prague through cultural activities, appreciation of beauty and enjoyment of food. 

The Study Tour integrates theories presented in the classroom for an extended study of positive psychology practices from many cultural perspectives.

Field Studies

  • The Happiness Museum
    • About: The Happiness Research Institute has opened a museum to share their work and research regarding wellbeing. They describe their mission in this way: "Our hope is that guests will leave a little wiser, a little happier and a little more motivated to make the world a better place. "
    • Objective:  We will learn about the science of happiness and the work to increase wellbeing.  

Guest Lecturers

  • Michael Heine Seest. Security Advisor, Danish Security and Intelligence Service. 
    • Topic: The use of positive psychology in the work of the security and intelligence service. 

Approach to Teaching

In this class, the emphasis is on relating theory with real life in as many ways as possible. The focus is on experiential learning including personal reflections, critical thinking and theory testing. I use examples and experiences from my clinical work to create the link between academia and the lived life, and in class we will draw upon our own observations and experience to understand and question the theories and research in academical literature. 

Expectations of the Students

I expect students to come prepared and to engage with the subject actively. I expect students to participate in class discussion and group work, and in creating a positive environment for learning and reflection. I expect student to respect any personal information shared in class and treat it with confidentiality. We learn from hearing each other's thoughts and ideas and this requires an open and trusting environment.


Students will be evaluated on their participation in class, on individual papers, and on group presentations. Emphasis in evaluation is on active engagement with the subject and with the rest of the class as well as the ability to critically analyze theory and research and relate it to everyday human life.  




Class Participation


Completion of Positive Psychology Exercises


Core Course Week Group Paper


 Long Study Tour Presentation


Final Paper


Class Participation (15%):

Participation in class requires arriving on time and being prepared in relation to readings and other assignments. Your participation grade reflects the importance of being active in this course, which relies in great part on the reflections, discussions, and exercises in class. Active participation is essential in both the classroom, on study tours, and in group work. Furthermore, attendance is mandatory.

Completion of Positive Psychology Exercises (10%)

Practical application of different interventions and exercises from Positive Psychology. You will be required to complete the exercises and submit a short reflection on each of them. The reflections will be graded as complete/incomplete, not for content. This assignment is not about academic achievement, rather, the aim is for you to try some of the actions and exercises that are key to Positive Psychology and to reflect on their usefulness.


CCW Group Paper (25%; max 2000 words, excluding title page and references. Use the APA reference and citation style):

  • The purpose of this project is to reflect on the topics covered during the core course week and connect these with the theory of the field of positive psychology. 
  • The project involves a written report of a maximum of 2000 words. 
  • Based on the experiences and activities from core course week, including the short study tour, the paper should draw upon and critically evaluate theory and research on happiness and well-being whilst relating this to the experiences of the week.
  • For each academic visit/activity, it is suggested that you write down during or after the visit, any reflections or questions that have arisen in your mind and how that relates to positive psychology theory. Then, as a group, you can synthesize your reflections and findings and identify one or more themes from CCW. 
  • You can submit your notes as an appendix to the paper. 
  • Include a critical analysis of the research and theory you find relevant for the chosen theme or themes: 
    • Evaluate the methodology. Is the research internally valid; is it a meaningful way to search for an answer regarding the hypothesis?
    • Discuss the external validity of the studies. Do we learn something about human nature? Is it useful? Can the findings be generalized? To what extent?

Long Study Tour Presentations – Positive Psychology in Prague (20%; Visual product and class presentation)

4 groups will each create a visual product (slideshow, video, collage, photo exhibition) and a 15 minute class presentation based on the long study tour.  The groups all have to cover the following topics, but it is up to you how to approach the topics. 

  • Well-being in the Czech Republic today. What does research show regarding the wellbeing of the population? 
  • Comparison with Denmark and the US. What are some key differences and similarities regarding happiness, flourishing and wellbeing?
  • Community building and social wellbeing. Identify factors in the Czech society that may influence social happiness and community strength. 
  • Observations regarding your experience of wellbeing in Prague. How does the city provide opportunities for wellbeing for its inhabitants and visitors?
  • Reflections on what we learned during the visits. What are some key take-aways from the study tour?  

Final Paper (30%; 6 pages, excluding title page and references. Use the APA reference and citation style):

This paper is a synthesis of the literature and the real life examples of positive psychology that we have explored during the course. Choose a current issue that you think could be improved through positive psychology. 

  • Introduce the field of positive psychology. Relate it to the broader field of psychology and outline the key focus areas and challenges.
  • Present the topic that you have chosen. Describe the situation and the reasons for improving it. How might changing this situation impact the level of wellbeing?
  • Identify the relevant parts of positive psychology. What are some basic constructs of the field related to this question? What research has been done? Discuss the quality and validity of the research and theory. How do they shed light on the issue you have chosen? What does it mean for our understanding if we view the issue this way? Discuss what we see and what we may overlook. 
  • Discuss how positive psychology could be applied regarding the issue. Which interventions might be used? Which challenges may arise? Reflect on possible pros and cons for intervening.
  • Based on the investigation into your chosen issue, discuss the field of positive psychology regarding weaknesses, strengths and possible future. 

Disability and Resource Statement  

Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Academic Support ( to coordinate this.  In order to receive accommodations, students should inform the instructor of approved DIS accommodations within the first two weeks of classes.

Academic Regulations

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations. on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details Due