Course Syllabus


Positive Psychology A

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Semester & Location:

Spring 2024 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:

Western Denmark; London

Major Disciplines:

Psychology, Human Development, Education/Educational Studies 


Faculty Members:

Kamilla Lange 

(current students please contact via the Canvas Inbox)

Program Contact:

Department email address

Time & Place:

Mondays & Thursdays, 8.30-9.50

Classroom: Fi44-Kosmo 405

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 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 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 in real-life settings.  

Long Study tour: Well-Being in London 

This week-long Study Tour investigates wellbeing in a British context. We will lean about applications of positive psychology in London. 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 London 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

  • Cafe Exit. 

    Café Exit is a church-based social project offering opportunities and giving new hope to prisoners and released prisoners. In the community the individual can gain insight and develop abilities that can help him or her to take on the responsibility for his or her own life, break former patterns and become a member of the society.

Guest Lecturers

  • Anna Sircova. Ph.D. (2008, Moscow State University). M.A. in clinical psychology (2000-2004, Moscow State University). Founder of the International Research Network on Time Perspective (2006 - present). Contributor to Time Diagnostics, London, UK (2013 - present). Dr. Sircova works as an independent researcher in Copenhagen, Denmark. Dr. Sircova’s research interests are within psychological time, cultures, design thinking, creativity, complex systems and social simulations. 


  • 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.

Long Study Tour Presentations – Positive Psychology in London (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.  Each group will be given a theme from Positive Psychology through which to approach the following topics. 

  • Well-being in the United Kingdom 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 British society that may influence social happiness and community strength. 
  • Observations regarding your experience of wellbeing in London. 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