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Now you can take Yale’s ‘Psychology and the Good Life’ course for free

Yale professor Laurie Santos adapted her popular "Psychology and the Good Life" course for online learners.Steven G. Smith

The most popular course in Yale University’s 319-year history teaches the ins and outs of human happiness. And now, with Americans sorting through coronavirus-induced anxieties, the university has opted to make the course available online for all — and for free.

Professor Laurie Santos first offered her “Psychology and the Good Life” course in spring 2018. It quickly became the class-of-choice for nearly a fourth of the student population.

Then, Santos adapted the class for Coursera, an open online learning platform. The online version of the class, dubbed “The Science of Well-Being,” features recorded versions of Santos’s twice-weekly lectures. The course promises to bust misconceptions about joy and help students boost their mood. Topics on the 10-week syllabus include “Why Our Expectations Are So Bad” and “Stuff That Really Makes Us Happy.” According the course page, students will gain skills like gratitude, savoring, and meditation.


The online version shows similar promise as the in-person class: more than 859,000 people have registered so far and positive reviews abound. Virtual students can access course materials for no charge. But if learners are looking for feedback and grades, they can opt to earn a certificate for $49. (Financial aid is available.) The class takes about 20 hours to complete.

Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_.

Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com.Follow her on Twitter @ditikohli_.