PSY133 - Positive Human Development: Achieving Authentic Happiness

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-06-01 14:28:13.664
Last review date 2018-07-16 00:15:01.512

Subject Title
Positive Human Development: Achieving Authentic Happiness

Subject Description

Positive human development is the study of fulfillment and personal growth.  In this course, students discover what distinguishes positive human development from the general study of human behaviour.  
Built on scientific principles, its applied approach uncovers strengths and promotes positive functioning.  Subjective well-being is  investigated resulting in techniques to enhance happiness that can be applied to current and future life circumstances and goals.  

Credit Status

One General Education Credit

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Contrast Positive Psychology to the broader study of Psychology.
2. Identify factors that contributed to the emergence of Positive Psychology.
3. Develop skills to capitalize on strengths and generate positive emotions.
4. Discuss the importance of emotion in meeting goals.
5. Identify the significance of altruism and prosocial behaviour on personal well-being.
6. Analyze societal and environmental contributions to personal growth and contentment.
7. Discuss the basic theories explaining attachment, love, and flourishing relationships.
8. Examine happiness and its connection to physical health and well-being.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline

The topics covered include psychological strength, culture, happiness, coping, emotional intelligence, optimism, courage, spirituality, forgiveness, gratitude, love and balance.
history of positive psychology including Western and Eastern influences;
building human strength and life enhancement strategies;
how to increase your happiness, subjective well-being, and life satisfaction;
role of culture in living well;
resilience, positive youth development, successful aging;
emotion-focused coping, emotional intelligence and emotional storytelling to bring about positive change and healing;
self-efficacy, optimism, hope, wisdom and courage – can courage be learned?;
mindfulness, spirituality, the Flow state, autotelic personality 

Mode of Instruction

In-class: Students attend classes on campus each week. All instruction is delivered in a face to face environment.
Teaching and Learning Methods:
To ensure that students are engaged as much as possible in the learning process, instructors can use such teaching methods as class and small group discussions, essays and research, individual and group presentations, readings, lectures, workshops, in-class exercises, and/or web-based instruction. The mode of delivery will dictate the most appropriate teaching methods available to an instructor.

Prescribed Texts
Required Text (In-Class):
Lopez, S.J., Pedrotti, J.T., & Snyder, C.R. (2015). Positive psychology: The scientific and practical explorations of human strengths (3rd edition). London: Sage Publications. ISBN 9781483322506.
Supplementary Text (optional)
Seligman, M. (1973). Authentic Happiness: New Positive Psychology. ISBN 9780743222983.

Reference Material

Students are referred to the following web site for the Seneca College Library APA Style Guide and Guide to Integrating Quotations (APA Style):

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

To be successful in this course, you must complete all course work as specified and achieve an overall grade of 50% or higher. For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see a copy of the Academic Policy available at Seneca registration offices.

Term Work:
All term work assignments must be completed prior to the time of the final exam or last class.  Students must contact faculty in advance of the assignment due date to discuss the possibility of an extension.  Late assignments may be subject to the awarding of a penalty resulting in a lower grade assigned. 
Make-up opportunities for assignments must also be made in advance of the scheduled due date.  If an assignment is missed due to class absence, official documentation must be submitted to the faculty member on or before the next scheduled class. Make-up opportunities may not apply to all graded assignments.

Modes of Evaluation
Quiz 15%
Research Paper 25%
Presentation 15%
Midterm 20%
Final Examination 25%
Student Success:

Please come prepared to participate in class. Make sure you bring your course text to each class, participate in class discussions, hand in any assigned work on time and attend each and every class. Following these suggestions will increase your chances of success.

Approved by: Fiona Bain-greenwood