Yale's Massively Popular 'Happiness' Course Is Available Free Online

March 29, 2020

In an effort to help the public find joy in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, Yale is making one of their most popular classes available for free online.

Yale happiness class free online
Laurie Santos / Credit: Yale.edu

In just the past month, more than 600,000 people in an increasingly housebound world have signed up for Yale's "The Science of Well Being," a course originally taught on campus by psychology professor Laurie Santos.

The course highlights research that reveals misconceptions about what makes us happy — and the concrete steps we can take to live a more fulfilling life.

Total enrollment for the class from March 20 of 2018 to March 19, 2019 stood at 539,000, making it the most popular online course in Yale history. By the end of the day on March 24, 2020 enrollment stood at 1,153,744, with 631,980 people enrolling in March alone.

In addition, 10.5 million people have visited the site recently.


"The interest in the class in just the last few days has been incredible and a bit surreal," Santos said. "I think that just as people are focused on evidenced-based ways for staying physically healthy during this COVID-19 crisis, so too people are looking for evidence-based ways of improving their mental health."

The course description states, "In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life."

To sign up for the free online course, visit Coursera.

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