Course Syllabus

Positive Psychology A

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 Applying Positive Psychology in the Workplace

Semester & Location:

Fall 2023 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Course Study Tours:

Western Denmark, Edinburgh

Major Disciplines:

Education/Educational Studies, Human Development, Psychology


A psychology course at university level.

Faculty Members:

Camilla Søeberg Hale

(current students please contact via the Canvas Inbox)

Program Contact:

Department email address

Time & Place:

Mondays and Thursdays 8:30-9:50

Classroom: V10-D11

Description of Course

This course combines a study of theory, research, and application in the rapidly growing field of positive psychology. You critically examine the psychology of well-being with both its possibilities and limitations, focusing on topics such as positive emotions, character strengths, flow, flourishing, mindfulness, creativity, and post-traumatic growth within the context of culture and history. You investigate how positive psychology complements other areas of psychology, therapy, and communication; and how it can be applied in real-world, professional settings such as the educational setting and the clinical context. Through experiential learning and reflection, you gain the necessary 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.


Camilla Søeberg Hale

Msc. Psychology (2013, University of Copenhagen). BA. Psychology (2010, University of Copenhagen). Works as a clinical psychologist in private practice.  Experience with individuel and family therapy, couples therapy, counselling, and the educational setting (2013-). With DIS since 2022.


Required Textbooks:

  • Boniwell, I. & Tunariu, A.D., (2019). Positive Psychology. Theory,, and Applications Second Edition. 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 well-being and flourishing. Through a variety of workshops and activities, we will examine happiness in Danish life, the national-level influence of the Danish welfare state, and the local community and environments' promotion of quality of life. We will also look at positive psychology applications for children and adolescents in the educational setting.  

Long Study tour:

Well-Being in Edinburgh - Past and Present

In Scotland, the cornerstones of positive psychology are applied in both policy and practice to empower individuals, influence communities, and promote positive mental health and well-being. This week-long Study Tour explores the link between these aspects and analyzes their effectiveness. 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 backgrounds of positive psychology.

During the Study Tour, you discuss public policies, community practices, and individual efforts. You also have the opportunity to gain insight and observe the culture of Edinburgh by attending various activities, and exploring the highland landscape to add to your understanding of well-being.

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

Guest Lecturers

    • Søren Filskov Jakobsen on exploring mindfulness and compassion meditation

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 having read the required readings, 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.

Evaluation & Grading

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


Core Course Week Paper


Completion of positive psychology exercises


 Long Study Tour Group 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.

Core Course Week Paper (25%; 4 pages, excluding title page and references. Use the APA reference and citation style):

Chose an empirical study of well-being published in a peer-reviewed journal and relate it to your observations from the Core Course Week.

  • Describe the theory and hypothesis behind the study.
  • How does the theory correspond with what you have learned about well-being in Denmark?
  • Evaluate the methodology. Is the research internally valid?
  • Discuss the external validity of the studies.
  • Analyze the applicability of the research. Relate the findings to the observations you have made during core course week.

Positive psychology Exercises (10 % - completion of all the practical exercises)

  • Completion of practical applications of different interventions and exercises from the field of positive psychology. You will be required to complete the exercise as described in the assignment, and submit a short written reflection on each of them. The reflections will be graded as complete/incomplete, not for content. This assignment is not about academic achievement, rather it is for you to try some of the exercises that are key to positive psychology, and to reflect on the effect or usefulness of them.

Long Study Tour Group Presentations – Well-being in Edinburgh (20%; Visual product and class presentation)

4-5 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 subject will be:

  • Well-being in Scotland today. 
  • The impact of urban planning, and of nature, on well-being. 

  • Discuss the influence on well-being of Scotland's political systems, organizations, and culture.

  • The role of well-being in education. 
  • Propose possible ways to increase the well-being in Scotland.


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