Principles of Positive Psychology

Subject EDUC90787 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 12-Feb-2016
Teaching Period 26-Feb-2016 to 21-May-2016
Assessment Period End 17-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 15-Feb-2016
Census Date 11-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Pre-teaching period:

During the pre-teaching period students will be required to complete reading that will be provided via LMS.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours
Total Time Commitment:

340 hours.


Admission to the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MC-APP)

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 Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Lindsay Oades


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.

Learning Outcomes:

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 four assessment tasks:

  • 2,500 word critical review of a well-being theory. Due 1/3 of the way into semester, 25%
  • Writing an article on positive psychology for a professional magazine/journal (3,000 words), due mid way through the semester, 30%
  • On-line open book test (approx. 90 minutes). Due mid-late semester, 15%
  • Journal of teaching intensive reflections (3,000 words). Due end of semester, 30%

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 80% attendance at all tutorials, seminars and workshops.

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

Download PDF version.