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Positive Psychology

Since World War II, psychology has mainly focused its efforts on psychological problems and how to remedy them. These efforts have reaped large dividends. We now have a much better understanding of psychological disorders and how to treat them. One consequence of this focus on psychological problems, however, is that psychology has little to say about what makes life most worth living. Positive psychology proposes to correct this imbalance.

Discover our Positive Psychology Minor at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

What is positive psychology?

Positive psychology is a recent movement within the wider field of psychology that focuses on the scientific study of human well-being, resulting in an applied approach to enhance flourishing within individuals, organisations and communities. It has also been defined as the study of strengths and virtues associated with happiness and the positive aspects of human experience. The minor Positive Psychology includes lectures, research and training that will be relevant to the personal and professional lives of the students. In addition, the minor is likely to have a truly transformative effect on those who participate.

Course description and goal

The course will focus on the basic areas of research in positive psychology and the methods that researchers use to study aspects of positive psychology. Simultaneously, you will apply this knowledge in the real world of the City of Amsterdam to develop your practical skills. In the first few weeks you will get acquainted with theories of well-being. Later on in the programme, you will apply this knowledge to yourself, other individuals, groups and organisations. The lecturers will support and guide you through this process. You will work both individually as well as in groups.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, you will be able to apply research findings from positive psychology to your own life and within your own professional environment. You will be able to help ‘healthy people’ to enhance their well-being. You will do this by bringing a positive psychological perspective to the table in order to approach situations differently - by looking at situations in terms of opportunities and strengths, rather than in terms of problems and mistakes. You can apply scientific research from the field of positive psychology in a practical way, and will learn to describe the effects of interventions involving positive psychology.

Learning goals

  • Summarize the main scientific research results of positive psychology. This minor will present a wide range of areas in which positive psychology has been researched. You will thus gain a solid base of knowledge that you can use throughout this minor.
  • Apply research results of Positive Psychology in selected settings. You will learn to apply the findings of positive psychological research in personal and professional settings. You are also encouraged to apply positive psychology in daily life, implement your knowledge to increase well-being and monitor the effects.
  • Develop and implement an intervention for a (group of) citizen(s) of Amsterdam. In the second half of the minor, you are asked to develop an intervention based on insights from positive psychology to enhance the lives of citizens of Amsterdam. You will also observe demonstrations of existing positive psychology interventions. The focus is to create an innovative intervention for a chosen target group.

Duration and course days

The programme takes place during the second semester of the 2024-2025 academic year, from February - July. The programme is divided into 2 10-week periods. The course days are a combination of lectures, training courses, workshops, coaching and developing an intervention. The second period will be used to carry out research, create and execute the intervention.


  • The first period of the minor focuses on themes from positive psychology such as Happiness, Meaning, Mindfulness, Strengths, Health, Learned Optimism, Resilience and Subjective Well-being.
  • The second period of the curriculum focuses on creating and implementing an intervention.
How to apply
Download the factsheet of this minor programme for all information