Achieve Positive Thinking with Harvard Happiness Course Online

According to the study that was performed based on the General Social Survey-National Death Index dataset and Cox proportional hazards models, happy people live longer[1]. There are multiple factors that can affect peoples’ levels of happiness[2], including income, marriage status, education level, job satisfaction, and even gender.  

If you feel like you miss positive energy in your life, there are things that you can work on. Harvard happiness course can help you to achieve this goal as well as bring more positive energy to your life

In this article, I’ll be focusing not only on the Harvard happiness course but also on other courses on positive energy and attitude. They're all offered by prestigious universities and are available on top-rated online learning platforms, either completely or almost free. That being said, if you want to bring more positivity into your life, you should take these online classes into account.

Here’s the list of courses that we’ll be covering today

Without further ado, let’s move further and find out the reasons why studying online is a good idea. 

Harvard Happiness Course: Why Study Online?

Founded back in 1636, Harvard is one of the oldest institutions of higher education. Harvard is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is one of the Ivy League Universities among Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University.

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The majority of young individuals who are thinking about their future are aiming to get into prestigious universities, such as Harvard. However, the problem is that the Harvard acceptance rate is only 5.2%. This means that only a small percentage of students manage to get in

That’s one of the main reasons why choosing Harvard happiness courses online is a great idea - everyone gets an opportunity to enroll in the course and deepen their knowledge. However, the benefits of studying online don’t end here. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of universities transferred classes online and it’s still unclear when everything will get back to how it was before. This means that even if you enroll in university, you won’t be able to have that experience of living on campus, participating in various outdoor activities, and so on. 

Harvard happiness course: Harvard university.

That being the case, it’s even more recommended to choose positive psychology Harvard courses online. You will not only have the same experience but will also get an opportunity to learn completely free. Considering the fact that Harvard costs about $70,000 per year, the difference is significant. That’s not only when it comes to the Harvard happiness course but also other Harvard courses that are available on edX and other online learning platforms.

The final aspect that must be mentioned when it comes to happiness class Harvard online is that it’s completely flexible, meaning that you can learn anywhere and anytime.  That said, if you have a full-time job, there’s no need to make adjustments to your timetable - simply learn whenever you have time and motivation. 

As you can see, there are multiple reasons for choosing Harvard courses online. Even though they will never be the same as traditional education and on-campus experience, it’s definitely a great alternative considering the situation that we have today. 

Now that this part is clear, let’s move further and focus on the Harvard happiness course as well as alternative options that will help you to achieve a positive attitude in life. 

The Path to Happiness: What Chinese Philosophy Teaches Us about the Good Life (Enroll NOW)

Harvard happiness course: The Path to Happiness.

  • University: Harvard
  • Platform: edX
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: $99
  • Level: Introductory
  • Apply HERE

Let’s begin with the Harvard happiness course that you came here for - The Path to Happiness: What Chinese Philosophy Teaches Us about the Good Life. The course focuses on exploring ancient Chinese philosophy, ethics, and political theory to change the way you understand what a meaningful life is

In this course, you will be challenging the modern assumptions on what happiness is based on ancient Chinese philosophy. You will be focusing on the most powerful philosophies in human history that were founded two thousand years ago - from Confucianism to Daoism

You will understand more about different philosophical concepts as well as the tools that will help you to change your life for the better as well as increase your happiness levels by focusing on the power of ritual, your actions, and the importance of understanding the world that surrounds you. 

This Harvard happiness course is available online for the very first time. It’s based on one of the most popular Harvard courses and is widely recognized among people from all over the world. Needless to say, even though you’re not studying at Harvard University, you get to experience how it feels. 

The Path to Happiness course will take you about 13 weeks to complete when learning about 1-2 hours per week. Since the course is flexible, you can learn at your own pace, whenever you find the time. This means that you can complete it much faster. 

What’s truly amazing is that you can enroll in this Harvard happiness course completely free. You don’t get that many opportunities to do that. After the course, you can choose to purchase a certificate for $99. This certificate is shareable, so you can easily add it to your CV or portfolio if you think that it can help your future career. 

The Harvard happiness course certificate on edX is official and verified. It will be signed by the instructor and comes with the institution’s logo to confirm that you completed the course. Also, keep in mind that this course is an introductory level, so anyone can start learning.

Harvard happiness course: certification.

When choosing a course, it’s also crucially important to find out more about the instructor. The instructor of the Harvard happiness course is Michael Puett. He’s a Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History and Anthropology at Harvard University who received Harvard College Professorship for excellent undergraduate teaching. 

The professor specializes in early Chinese history, classical Chinese ritual, social and political theory as well as history, anthropology and philosophy.  He’s also an author of The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates Concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China, and a co-author of a few other books. 

It’s evident that the professor is an expert in his field and can teach you not only valuable knowledge but also show you how to achieve positiveness and happiness in your life. 

After completing this course, you will learn about

  • How to live a better life based on ancient Chinese philosophy.
  • Understand how powerful rituals can be, how to be more self-aware and sense the world that’s surrounding you. 
  • How can personal actions and counteractions change the world that we live in. 
  • Find out more about different philosophical theories: Mencius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, Confucius, Mozi, and Han Feizi.

It’s evident that this course can teach you a lot, so it could be your first step towards a more happy life and positiveness. 

Start the course NOW.

Alternatives to Harvard Happiness Course 

As you already know everything about the Harvard happiness course, I would also like to introduce other popular courses among people that aim to achieve positive psychology. All of the courses provided below are offered by prestigious universities and are available on two different online learning platforms: edX and Coursera. Both of them are highly recognized among those who are looking for professional courses and accredited certifications

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the alternatives for Harvard happiness class that you simply cannot overlook. 

The Science of Well-Being (Enroll NOW)

Harvard happiness course: The Science of Well-Being.

  • University: Yale
  • Platform: Coursera
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: $49
  • Level: Introductory
  • Apply HERE

The Science of Well-Being is one of the most popular online courses that teach how to improve your own happiness as well make changes in your life and start building more productive habits

This course will reveal what kind of habits can lead to the way you think and act. Also, you will learn how to change your attitude and successfully integrate various wellness activities into your life. I intentionally said that this course is one of the most popular ones as more than 3 million people have already enrolled! 

The Science of Well-Being course includes 10 classes and should take about 10 weeks or 19 hours to complete. You will be focusing on different misconceptions about happiness, how people misinterpret what happiness is to them, how you can overcome your biases, understanding things that actually make you happy. What is more, you will focus not only on theoretical material but will also put different strategies into work, and will get a final assignment. 

You can enroll in this course completely free. However, if you decide that you want to get a professional certificate of completion it will cost you $49. So it’s very affordable. The certificate is easily shareable, so you’ll be able to add it to your CV and portfolio

The Science of Well-Being course is offered by Yale University that’s considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in the world and has been operating for more than 300 years

Laurie Santos, the instructor of this course, is a Professor of Psychology and Head of Silliman Residential College at Yale University. She has been hosting a popular podcast - The Happiness Lab, and is the director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory and the Canine Cognition Center at Yale.

In this course you will understand more about

  • Achieving happiness.
  • How to be grateful.
  • Meditation to achieve happiness.
  • Savoring. 

No one’s stopping you from learning, so you can start the course right now! 

Start the course NOW.

Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life: Living for What Matters Most (Enroll NOW)

Harvard happiness course: Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life.

  • University: University of Michigan
  • Platform: Coursera
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: $49
  • Level: Introductory
  • Apply HERE

Another course that’s an amazing alternative to the positive psychology Harvard course is called Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life: Living for What Matters Most. This course focuses on finding a purpose in life. It covers not only the theoretical part but will also provide you with various exercises that will help you to create a purposeful rhythm each day

You can find this course on Coursera and start learning completely free. It should take you about 4 weeks or 9 hours to complete as there are 4 different classes but you can take it at your own pace, however you like. In case you decide to get a certificate of completion after this course, it will cost you $49

Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life course is offered by the University of Michigan that is ranked among the best public universities in the United States. That’s one of the reasons why so many online learners choose this course. 

The instructor of this course is Vic Strecher. He’s a professor at the University of Michigan’s Schools of Public Health and Medicine. Back in 1995, the professor founded the UM Center for Health Communications Research. He’s also a digital health coach and entrepreneur who’s an expert in his field. 

After completing this course, you will learn

  • How to create a purpose in life
  • How to apply different techniques and skills to start changing and stay connected to your purpose every day. 
  • How self-transcending purpose affects your well-being positively.
  • Understand that you need to have a strong purpose in life in order to be happy. 

There’s a lot to learn, so why not do that now? 

Start the course NOW.

The Science of Happiness at Work (Enroll NOW)

Harvard happiness course: The Science of Happiness at Work.

  • University: Berkeley University of California
  • Platform: edX
  • Duration: 3 months
  • Price: $537.30
  • Certificate: YES
  • Level: Introductory
  • Apply HERE

The Science of Happiness at Work is a bit different than previously-discussed courses as it’s a professional certificate. It includes 3 different courses: The Foundation of Happiness at Work, Mindfulness and Resilience to Stress at Work, and Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work. 

In this course you’ll be focusing on happiness at work, understand why it matters to achieve more in your organization. What is more, you will be provided with research-based strategies that will help you to handle stress better, work with your mindfulness, protect yourself against burnout, and even more. The final course in this professional certificate will help you to improve empathy and trust. It will also help you to become more productive and innovative at work. 

The Professional Certificate in The Science of Happiness at Work should take you about 3 months to complete when learning about 1-2 hours per week. Even though it’s an amazing alternative to the Harvard happiness course, it’s not free. It currently costs $537 to get access to these 3 courses

Talking about the instructors of this professional certification course, there will be two of them - Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas. Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. The professor has devoted his career to studying the nature of human happiness. Emiliana Simon-Thomas is the science director of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Both instructors are highly qualified. 

The Science of Happiness at Work will teach you

  • Evaluating the happiness levels of an organization. 
  • Strategies that will help you to achieve happiness at work.
  • Building better and more cooperative relationships at work. 
  • Leading business with social and emotional intelligence. 
  • How to experience happiness at work. 

If you’re looking for a more extensive option than happiness class Harvard, then The Science of Happiness at Work might be just the right fit for you. 

Start the course NOW.

The Science of Happiness (Enroll NOW)

Harvard happiness course: The Science of Happiness.

  • University: Berkeley University of California
  • Platform: edX
  • Duration: 11 weeks
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: $169
  • Level: Introductory 
  • Apply HERE

With more than 400 thousand students enrolled, The Science of Happiness is one of the most popular courses for people who are interested in positive psychology and how to achieve that. 

In this course, you will be exploring the roots of happiness. What is more, you will find out about cross-disciplinary research that explains how happiness is linked to having social connections and contributing to the greater good, and so much more. 

This course lasts about 11 weeks, depending on your pace. You can start learning completely free, however, the certificate of completion costs $169. The instructors of this course are the same as The Science of Happiness at Work course - Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas.

After completing this course, you will learn more about

  • The meaning of happiness and why it truly matters. 
  • How to increase your happiness and nurture happiness in other people. 
  • Why the key to happiness is kindness, community and social connections.
  • How mindfulness can help you to achieve happiness. 

Even though this course is not the same as happiness class Harvard, it will help you to achieve the same goals. 

Start the course NOW.

Psychological First Aid (Enroll NOW)

Harvard happiness course: Psychological First Aid.

  • University: Johns Hopkins University
  • Platform: Coursera
  • Duration: 5 weeks 
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: $49
  • Level: Introductory
  • Apply HERE

The Psychological First Aid course helps people in an emergency. It employs the RAPID model: Reflective listening, Assessment of needs, Prioritization, Intervention, and Disposition. It can teach you skills that are easily-applicable in the workplace, the military, mass disaster venues, faith-based organizations, and other critical events

This one is shorter than the Harvard happiness course and should take you about 5 weeks to complete. You can start learning completely free or get a certificate for $49 to show off your new skills. 

The instructor of the Psychological First Aid course is George S. Everly, Jr. He is a professor in psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, professor of psychology at Loyola University in Maryland, and works in other institutions. He’s also an award-winning author and researcher.

This course focuses on teaching you

  • How to listen actively. 
  • Reflective listening.
  • Prioritizing psychological/ behavioral crisis reactions.
  • Crisis intervention.
  • How to provide psychological help to people in need. 

The course teaches skills that could be helpful in real-life situations and people who are going through a crisis, so it could be very useful to all of us. 

Start the course NOW.

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Positive Psychology (Enroll NOW)

Harvard happiness course: Positive Psychology.

  • University: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Platform: Coursera
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Price: FREE
  • Certificate: $49
  • Level: Introductory
  • Apply HERE

The Positive Psychology course is all about achieving full and meaningful life through various research findings and science. The course consists of 6 classes that focus on positive emotions, the outcomes of positivity, how to pursue happiness, practicing lab-tested meditation, positive psychology, and so much more. It could be a great addition to the Harvard happiness course. 

The course has flexible deadlines, however, it usually takes about 6 weeks to complete when learning 1-2 hours per week. What is more, just like with the majority of courses on Coursera and edX you can enroll completely free, only the certificate of completion is paid - $49

More than 240 thousand have already enrolled in the Positive Psychology course. What is more, it’s rated as one of the best options out there - 4.7 out of 5. 

The instructor of this course is Barbara L. Fredrickson. She’s been working for 25 years on improving the science of positive emotions and has achieved great success in this field. 

This course will help you to improve knowledge in these fields

  • Improving happiness through meditation. 
  • How to be grateful for the things you have. 
  • Positive psychology. 
  • Kindness to yourself and others. 

While these are the key aspects that you’ll be learning in this course, there’s so much more that you’ll cover in all 6 classes. 

Start the course NOW.

Why Choose Harvard Happiness Course on edX?

When picking the Harvard happiness course as well as other classes on positive psychology online, it’s recommended to choose top-rated online learning platforms. That has to do with great user experience and course quality. 

Harvard happiness course: edX.

edX is one of the top-rated platforms when it comes to professional courses, however, why is that the case? 

  • Enroll in courses completely free. 

One of the main reasons why it’s recommended to choose Harvard happiness courses online is because you can take the course completely free. It’s the same with the majority of courses available on edX.

The only thing that you will need to pay is a certificate, however, that’s only if you decide that you need one. Also, if you decide to choose from Professional Certificates that include multiple courses, they’re not available for free

  • Get accredited and verified certificates.

There aren’t that many MOOC providers that offer accredited and verified certificates, however, edX is one of a few available options. To get a certificate you will need to pass all the tests as well as classes in that course. That’s not complicated if you stay focused when learning.

The reason why accredited and verified certificates are so valuable is because they’re widely recognized among employers and can help you to land a better job offer. As they’re easily shareable, you can add them to your CV and portfolio in no time.

  • Study at your own pace. 

One of the better aspects of edX and other similar online learning platforms is that you can learn at your own pace. That said, you don’t need to make any adjustments to your schedule as you can learn whenever and wherever you find the time

  • Learn from the experts. 

Courses available on edX are offered by official institutions and prestigious universities. That said, you’ll be learning from experts in their field. That includes professors from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and other prestigious universities

Even though you won’t be sitting in the class, you will get to experience what it’s like to be learning from the very best in their field.   

  • Choose from a variety of courses offered by prestigious universities. 

It’s not that common to find a variety of courses offered by prestigious universities in one place, either completely or almost free. However, that’s how it is when it comes to edX. You can choose from multiple courses offered not only by Harvard but also leading traditional learning institutions, such as Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California, Boston University, Georgetown University, and so many more. 

Why is Positive Thinking so Important?

Positive thinking can completely change the way you see the world that’s surrounding you. It can help you to believe in yourself and achieve everything you want in life. In fact, there’s science-based research that proves how important it is to maintain positivity in your life.

Based on the study[3], positive psychology can be defined not only as long and disease-free life, but it can also bring additional benefits, such as better recuperative ability, less frequent sickness, better physiological capabilities, faster wound healing

What is more, positive psychological well-being (PPWB) has a lot to do when it comes to cardiovascular disease. The study distinguished these aspects as the most important ones[4]: eudaimonic well-being, hedonic well-being, optimism, and other measures. Optimism was considered to be the most important one

Harvard happiness course: woman enjoying sunset.

Overall, your life quality completely depends on your attitude, positivity and mental health, so it’s crucial to always reach for happiness. 

When it comes to defining what good psychological health is, the study identifies such factors as[3]

  • Life satisfaction
  • Optimism
  • Self-regulation 
  • Having a life meaning and purpose
  • Volunteering and helping others
  • Being able to forgive
  • Vitality and calmness
  • Religiosity and spirituality 

Achieving positive psychology requires constant work with yourself, however, with the help of Harvard happiness courses and other similar programs, you can achieve that. 


The Harvard happiness course can completely change the way you understand the meaning of personal happiness. It focuses on exploring ancient Chinese philosophy, ethics, and political theory to change the way you understand what a meaningful life is. The course is suitable for everyone who wants to improve their lives through happiness and a sense of fulfillment

If you want to continue learning more about positive psychology, you should also consider other top-rated happiness courses. Even though they’re not from Harvard, these courses are offered by leading universities and are widely recognized among people who want to achieve personal happiness: 

These courses are available on either edX or Coursera. Both of them are known as leading MOOC providers that offer accredited certifications


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Scientific References

1. Elizabeth M. Lawrence, Richard G. Rogers, and Tim Wadsworth: 'Happiness and Longevity in the United States'

2. Amir Mehrdadi, Shahnaz Sadeghian, Ashraf Direkvand-Moghadam, and Ataollah Hashemian: 'Factors Affecting Happiness: A Cross-Sectional Study in the Iranian Youth'

3. Nansook Park, Christopher Peterson, Daniel Szvarca, et al.: 'Positive Psychology and Physical Health'

4. Julia K Boehm, Laura D Kubzansky: 'The heart's content: the association between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health'

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Recent User Reviews

Feeling importnt

im volunteering in dog shelters every other weekend and that helps with my mental health. Feeling helpful and doing something that matters is very important to me.


Edx charge you anytim they want.


did many courses on EDX and am quite happy with it, just to mention recently had a technical problem and the support responded with a solution the same evening.

amazing teachers

Credits for teachers for trying to record and explain each lesson, but that's about it, don't really enjoy edx.

robot works for edx

isn't there a robot working for EDX? Cause the feedbask we received after course was the same for everyone.

psychologist mom

my mom is a school psycholigist and I saw her doing this course on positive psychology, she enjoyed it and said that some practices could be applied for students.


Thanks. This world needs more happiness and good vibes.

top teachers

What could be better than learning from top teachers??

harvard amazing

I found I enjoyed the Harvard classes the most on EDX. Appreciate free courses and interactive content (videos) really gives a feeling of a classroom.

Science of happiness

completed "science of happines at work" course with my colleagues, we all reallly loved it!


Is Harvard happiness course worth it?

Yes, Harvard happiness is definitely worth it. It's available on edX completely free. The course explores ancient Chinese philosophy, ethics, and political theory. What is more, it can completely change the way you understand what meaningful life is

What are the alternatives to Harvard happiness course?

The alternatives to the Harvard happiness course include:

It's recommended to check out each of these courses after completing the Harvard happiness course.

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It wouldn’t be right to pick just one aspect out of the selection: priorities depend on each individual person, their values, wishes, and goals. A feature that’s important to one person can be utterly irrelevant to the other. Anyhow, all users would agree that good quality of the learning material is a must for online learning platforms.

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