Principles of Positive Psychology

Subject EDUC90787 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours
Total Time Commitment:

240 hours

Attendance at all classes (tutorial/seminars/practical classes/lectures/labs/online classes) is obligatory. Failure to attend 80% of classes will normally result in failure in the subject.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison website:


Education Student Centre
234 Queensberry Street
Call: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

The Principles of Positive Psychology subject will explore the impetus behind the development of positive psychology as well as the theories and frameworks underpinning it. Problem-focused and strengths-based approaches to mental health will be distinguished and the merits and limits of each presented for critical evaluation. Some discussion about the various forms of well-being relating to hedonic and eudaimonic happiness will take place and distinctions between cognitive and affective and subjective and objective forms of happiness will also be made. This subject will provide an overview of some of the key factors associated with positive psychology and well-being, including positive emotions, engagement, meaning, accomplishment and relationships and introduce students to the relevance of these in different contexts and life domains. In particular, the available evidence behind each of these factors will be critically examined.


Students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale behind positive psychology.
  • Articulate the fundamental objectives of positive psychology.
  • Identify and analyse the key conceptual and theoretical frameworks underpinning positive psychology.
  • Identify the contributions of other scholars from a range of disciplines and their influence on developing a positive approach to mental health.
  • Differentiate between the various forms of well-being (cognitive and affective, subjective and objective).
  • Distinguish between problem-focused and strengths-based approaches to mental health and well-being.
  • Understand and apply a strengths-based approach to mental health issues.
  • Discuss current issues in positive psychology and identify areas which require further scientific attention.

There are three assessment tasks:

  • 2,000-word critical review of a well-being theory, due 1/3 of the way into semester (20%)
  • 4,000-word essay, due 2/3 of the way into semester (40%)
  • 4,000-word diary, due end of semester (40%)
Prescribed Texts:

Synder, C. R., & Lopez, S. J. & Pedrotti, J. T. (2011). (2 nd Ed.) Positive psychology: The scientific and practical explorations of human strengths. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Analytical and cognitive skills will be developed through critical evaluations of theoretical and empirical contributions.
  • Innovative and creative thinking skills will be promoted by encouraging multidisciplinary perspectives and developments to be taken into account and synthesised.
  • Written communication skills will be developed through the assignment work.
  • Reflective thinking will be developed through diarising learning processes, growth and development experiences.
  • Students will learn to synthesise a large volume of relevant conceptual and empirical works.
Related Course(s): Master of Applied Positive Psychology

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