Syllabus for Happiness



  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 5RT806
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: _
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G)
  • Established: 2009-04-09
  • Established by: The Dean of the Faculty of Theology
  • Applies from: week 36, 2009
  • Entry requirements: General entry requirements
  • Responsible department: Department of Theology

Decisions and guidelines

The course is a free-standing course

Learning outcomes

The course aims for students to become better able to (1) reflect upon and analyse ethical, psychological and anthropological questions concerning happiness; (2) research such questions by conducting interviews and seeking out relevant texts; (3) write in English about such questions in an extended essay as well as in short web-based reflections; and (4) speak in English about such questions in class discussions.

The course is part of Uppsala University's emerging core curriculum, a set of cross-disciplinary courses for students from diverse academic fields. A goal of the core curriculum – and thus the course – is to help students develop as compassionate human beings who are engaged with the predicaments of others.


What causes happiness? Can one make oneself happier by conscious effort? Is happiness a worthy goal for one's life? Is it an appropriate goal for public policy? We investigate happiness and its opposites through studies from several disciplines, in-class interviews with invited guests, and student's own fieldwork projects.


The course combines lectures, seminar discussions of classic theorists, examination of present-day case studies, in-class interviews with invited guests, and students' own field-research projects. These research projects, done by teams of two or three students, will be presented to the class.

This course is taught entirely in English.

To enable further discussion between students and the instructor, several course lunches and dinners are organised. These are optional and are open to all members of the course.


The course requirements are:

1) Readings -- consisting of articles and chapters -- in preparation for each week's class.

2) Attendance at the class each week. Missed classes can be made up for by means of additional short writing assignments.

3) Participation in a discussion-launching team for one week. The team prepares questions based on the readings.

4) Posting a brief reflection on the course website each week.

5) A field research project, normally done in a group of two or three students. Each group will present their work to the class.

6) A short take-home essay-exam, due one week after the last class.

The two possible grades in the course are Godkänd (Pass) and Underkänd (Fail).

Transitional provisions

Individuals that reading this course according to older course syllabus has possibility to examine course according to the course syllabus within two years after course date. If there are special reasons, such retake can take place also later. Normally, teaching according to older course syllabus is not given.

Other directives

The course is one of Uppsala University's core curriculum, a number of interdisciplinary courses suited for students from diverse academic fields.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 36, 2009

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.