The Social Science of Well-Being

Fall 2019
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 25
16 Credits per quarter
Variable credit options, see below
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What tools will help us thrive as individuals, groups, institutions, and communities? Using the lenses of positive psychology, social psychology, and sociology, we will examine the ways in which certain behaviors and social processes -- such as persuasion, prosociality, and environmental design -- can be harnessed to improve well-being, and how these might be contextualized by cultural, social, and economic factors. 

We will use an applied format to explore our themes. We will practice and write about the contemplative techniques, movement practices, and positive psychological interventions that scholars have shown to positively influence well-being. Students will conduct a personal wellness project that is grounded in disciplinary concepts and relevant research. We will apply social scientific concepts such as conformity and persuasion through fieldwork exercises, on-campus research, and film analysis. As part of our examination of individual and community wellness, we will participate in volunteer or internship activities for 7.5 hours each week. Students will have the option of joining internship opportunities established for this program, or they can create their own internship. Through pursuing these activities as a program community, our intention will be to learn how to build the positive qualities that scientists and practitioners have shown are useful for happiness, resilience, equanimity, and enduring well-being.

Students can expect lectures, workshop activities, occasional movement labs, book and internship processing seminars, regular autoethnographic and expository writing, collaborative projects, significant independent work, and community service.


Fall 2019 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 10376
So - Sr (12): 10377

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory For

psychology, sociology, social work, health-related fields

Variable Credit Options

A 12 credit option is available for students who do not wish to participate in internship/volunteer work.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing
Special Expenses

Students will be asked to supply their own yoga mat (approx. $10).

Internship Opportunities



In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

Art Annex 1114 - Visual Arts L
May be offered again in
<p>Fall 2020</p>