PY0536 - Positive Psychology

What will I learn on this module?

The module is designed to introduce you to the basic principles regarding the study, investigation and explanation of optimal human functioning and well-being.

On this module you will be introduced to theories and models of well-being within the context of positive psychology. You will learn about the core issues involved in the study of well-being through the understanding of the historical and contemporary development of the concepts and an evaluation of theories.

Methods of measuring well-being and happiness and the challenges associated with this will be explored.

Strategies for increasing positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning in life, and accomplishment will be explored by focusing on empirical validation of interventions and exercises to try out in the context of your day-to-day life.

Through workshop discussions and formative group exercises you will develop communication skills and begin to understand the role of teamwork.

Through your understanding of applications of positive psychology interventions to the real world, such as by clinical psychology professionals, you will begin to be aware of career interests. Similarly, by critically evaluating research in the field of positive psychology you will begin to develop your skills for real world career opportunities.

How will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn through a combination of lectures, in-class activities and tutorials, along with independent study.

You will attend a series of two-hour interactive lectures to learn about the core issues related to positive psychology interventions. The aim of the interactive activities is to encourage deep learning, introduce new material and consolidate information learnt through lectures and independent reading. You will conduct practical tasks and analyse techniques for evaluating positive psychology interventions to illustrate principles and methods. This will give you the opportunity to relate theory to practice and will also provide you with experience of different research techniques and the opportunity for group discussion. Ethical issues will be discussed and you will be expected to communicate your ideas and findings in a group setting, showing sensitivity to the perspectives of others. Effective oral and visual communication skills will be developed through interactive tasks.

Directed study will be encouraged through the provision of reading lists, which will serve as a basis for further, independent study. This will be further encouraged through the provision of study questions and topics. Independent learning skills and reflection on the role and value of those skills will prepare you for career development learning.

Together, the learning strategies of interactive lectures, directed, and independent study aim to develop conceptual knowledge of the topic area and illustrate the range of paradigms and methods that can be used to investigate it. Tutorials will provide an opportunity for you to discuss issues related to the module with a member of staff.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Module tutors will support you by making a variety of resources linked to the lectures series, workshops and assessments available on the e-learning portal (e.g. powerpoint slides, lecture handouts, reading lists), along with links to websites to encourage further exploration of positive psychology. A discussion board on the e-learning portal will be available for students to pose and respond to questions among peers and to module tutors. This enhances collegiality and also means that support is available to all students. Technology enabled learning will be implemented through the use of Panopto lecture recording.

Tutorials can provide an opportunity for students to discuss issues related to the module with a member of staff.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Recognise the applications of positive psychology in the context of clinical psychology (KF1)
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Build employability through the development of skills, that can be applied in a range of enviroments; i) effective communication skills; ii) effective teamwork; iii) wider computer literacy; v) problem solving skills; vi) sourcing and organising information (IP3)
• You will take charge of your own career development learning, through critical self-evaluation and reflection on the relevance of the module for career enhancement and future learning. (MIP2)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• Demonstrate effective written, oral, and visual communication skills, with the ability to adapt style to suit a range of audiences (PV2)

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment:
Self-assessed formative assessment is provided through the use of group presentations in class

Summative assessment:
The first assignment on this module will be one written piece of work (3000 words), in which you will be required to demonstrate your knowledge of research in positive psychology, and your ability to critically evaluate literature. This will be worth 90% of the module mark.

The second assessment is a self-reflective account in which you will be asked to consider how this module has impacted on your employability and future career (MIP2). This will be worth 10% of the module mark (500 words).

Feedback is provided via written comments on assignments and general feedback provided on the e-learning portal. Cohort mean, standard deviation and distribtuions of marks for the assignments are provided so you can compare your performance with that of your cohort. You will be required to arrange a tutorial with your personal guidance tutor for formal feedback on your reflection.





Module abstract

Though lectures and interactive activities, this module examines the field of positive psychology, and explores how experts within the area use scientific methods to investigate and promote individual well-being in a sustainable way. The main emphasis of the module is on how well-being may be increased through positive psychology interventions. You will have the opportunity to examine models within the field, measures of well-being, and try out and discuss some scientifically validated positive psychology interventions, both inside and outside the classroom. Examples of interventions that will be studied include: identifying and using character strengths, expressing gratitude, humour and laughter, mindfulness, and acts of kindness. You will be able to explore how positive psychology is studied and applied by engaging in group discussions and listening to audio/visual materials.. Students who have taken the time to try out the positive psychology interventions for themselves have commented that this module has helped them on a personal as well as an academic level.

Course info

UCAS Code C800

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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