Tuition fee €775 per programme

Reduced tuition fee for the 2021 edition of Maastricht Online Campus due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.


This course will provide you with valuable insights from the field of positive psychology to help you boost your resilience and lead a fulfilling and meaningful life. In three weeks, you will take a scientific and personal deep dive into topics like autonomy, self-compassion, meditation, mindfulness, happiness, character strengths, optimism, post-traumatic growth, and resilience.

According to Positive Psychologists, every individual has the potential to be the “captain of their own sailboat”. Every single individual has unique strengths and an innate ability to face difficult weather circumstances. In this course, we will unlock your character strengths and focus on helpful ways to support yourself in difficult times. We will cover the most important theories in Positive Psychology and you will be encouraged to go search for scientific literature to apply the topics we will cover to your specific areas of interest.
Autonomy is key in this course, so you will be encouraged every step of the way to be your own best guide in exploring the field.

The 3-week online positive psychology course is a combination of lectures, experiential workshops, group meetings and self-study. In terms of assessment, you will be invited to write short blog posts about recent research findings and will develop your own positive psychology intervention which you will report in a final paper. The total duration of the course is 32 class hours (synchronous/asynchronous).

There will be ample room to gain hands-on experience with evidence-based positive psychological techniques ranging from simple journaling exercises to mindfulness meditation.

Positive Psychology was introduced by Martin Seligman around 2000 and can be viewed as a supplementary approach to clinical psychology. The positive psychological movement formulated three aims: (1) to focus on well-being and happiness instead of abnormal behaviour and psychopathology, (2) to be concerned with building positive qualities and strengths instead of repairing damage and (3) to prevent future problems instead of correcting past and present problems.

Course Duration and Dates
This is a 3-week online course running from the 4th of January until the 22nd of January, 2021. The classes will be scheduled in Central European Time [CET] so it is possible that some time slots are not ideal for people in certain time zones. However, when scheduling the courses, we will try to take into account the different time zones as much as we can.

The number of credits earned after successfully concluding this course is the equivalent of 6 ECTS according to Maastricht University CES guidelines. For further information see the terms and conditions.

There is a possibility of earning 1,5 additional ECTS upon completion of a research paper for €200. Please reach out to us via mail if you would like to sign up for an Independent Study Project (ISP). This would bring the total of earned ECTS to 7,5 ECTS.

Course coordinator
Dr. Elke Smeets

Dr. Elke Smeets defended her Phd entitled “Bias for the (un)attractive self: on the role of attention in eating disorders and body dissatisfaction” in 2009. During her post-doc research she became interested in investigating Self-Compassion and Positive Psychology interventions. She developed a three-week Self-Compassion intervention for enhancing well-being and resilience among female college students (Smeets, Neff, Alberts, & Peters, 2014). Together with Kristin Neff, she also developed a 6-week online Self-Compassion intervention for “Psychologie Magazine”, a popular Dutch psychology journal. Elke is also working as a therapist and coach. She trains psychologists and other professionals in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and Positive Psychology. She is one of the first certified Mindful Self-Compassion teachers in the world and has been co-teaching with Kristin Neff and Chris Germer in America and Europe. In June 2017 she published her first book “geluk en optimisme (happiness and optimism)” together with Professor Madelon Peters.

This programme is intended to familiarise students with the concepts and ideas of positive psychology; provide in depth knowledge on selected topics within the field; practice positive psychology techniques, blog about recent research findings and design a positive psychology intervention.

This Positive Psychology course is a unique international study opportunity for psychology students. Maastricht’s psychology faculty is world-renowned, and you will experience not only world-class instruction but get insight into what is internationally a truly ‘hot topic’.

A minimum of 10 students is required for the class to take place.

Recommend literature
Students are strongly encouraged to search for their own literature on the University’s online library platform. If you are interested in buying a textbook, we recommend one of the following (please note that it is not mandatory to buy one of these books. The books below are suggested readings):

Positive Psychology: Theory, Research And Applications by Kate Hefferon & Ilona Boniwell (2011) ISBN-10: 0335241956 | ISBN-13: 978-0335241958

Applied Positive Psychology: Improving Everyday Life, Health, Schools, Work, and Society by Stewart I. Donaldson, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Jeanne Nakamura (2011)
ISBN-10: 0415877822 | ISBN-13: 978-0415877824

Positive Psychology in Practice by P. Alex Linley, Stephen Joseph (2004)
ISBN-10: 0471459062 | ISBN-13: 978-0471459064

Assessment methods
▪ 3 blog posts on recent positive psychology research findings ▪ Final paper in which a positive psychology intervention will be designed and described.

Apply now! J-term 2021
Application period has ended
Studies commence
Jan 4, 2021

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! J-term 2021
Application period has ended
Studies commence
Jan 4, 2021

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States