Singapore University of Social Sciences

Current Debates and Developments in Positive Psychology and Well-being

Current Debates and Developments in Positive Psychology and Well-being (RSS551)


The RSS551 advanced seminar course will focus on 6 to 8 specialized topics. As the scientific study of well-being started in the discipline of psychology, and a large part of current wellbeing research is still psychology-driven, a strong foundation in psychological theories and research relevant to well-being is essential. The course is designed to impart in-depth knowledge and understanding of the chosen specialized topics, to enable students to proficiently evaluate psychological research, interpret results, and apply relevant research skills to make evidence-based judgments. The course will provide students with the research skills needed to propose interventions for enhancing well-being at multiple sociocultural levels. The course also aims to train students who are able to translate the existing research into applied projects that have impact on people. Topics chosen will vary from year to year, depending on the prevailing expertise of the full-time faculty at SUSS and the availability of guest speakers (who are academic experts or industry practitioners).

Level: 5
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY JULY
E-Learning: BLENDED - Learning is done MAINLY online using interactive study materials in Canvas. Students receive guidance and support from online instructors via discussion forums and emails. This is supplemented with SOME face-to-face sessions. If the course has an exam component, this will be administered on-campus.


  • Introduction to positive psychology
  • Measures and methods of well-being
  • Hedonic versus eudaimonic perspectives
  • Benefits and importance of positive emotions
  • Determinants of well-being
  • Cultural diversity: Similarities and differences in conceptualization, evaluation, and experiences of well-being
  • Positive interventions
  • The dark side of happiness
  • Incorporating the negative into positive psychology
  • Human flourishing
  • Applied positive interventions
  • Traditional psychological disciplines and positive psychology

Learning Outcome

  • Analyze the theories, concepts, and findings of key issues in the field of positive psychology and well-being
  • Critique the current perspectives on positive psychology and the methods used in the study of positive psychology
  • Evaluate the real-life impact and applications of well-being research, and the challenges faced in the science and practice of well-being
  • Improve existing research designs and apply innovative research techniques to solve current issues in positive psychology
  • Propose recommendations to enhance well-being at multiple sociocultural levels
  • Design research projects to examine the impact of individual and sociocultural factors or interventions on well-being
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