Universiteit Maastricht

Center for European Studies


What makes life worth living? People have always been driven by the pursuit of happiness and hope for the future. While this may seem at first an idealistic notion, it has found its place in positive psychology. For much of the 20th century, “What is wrong with people” has guided the thinking of many psychologists, dominating countless scientific studies and rooting the field in pathology. Founded over a decade ago by University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman, positive
psychology asks instead ‘what is right with people’. Human strengths, such as courage, future-mindedness, optimism, and interpersonal skills act as buffers against mental illness. Positive psychology, therefore, is devoted to understanding and learning how to build these positive qualities in order to improve people’s well-being and help to promote the “good life”.

On an individual level, positive psychology embraces the capacity for love, courage, interpersonal skills, aesthetic sensibility, perseverance, forgiveness, originality, spirituality, high talent, and wisdom. In our times such virtues are often looked at with scepticism. But those who would dismiss positive psychology as ‘soft’ should realise that it is firmly rooted in hard science, and an evidence-based approach underpins the entire programme. Upon completion students will be able to design and judge a positive psychological research project and have gained first-hand experience with various positive psychology intervention techniques, from simple journaling exercises to mindfulness meditation.

Academic excellence with an International approach

The Positive Psychology programme is a unique experience, following one of the hottest topics in psychology today. As many universities do not yet offer positive psychology courses, this is a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in a cutting edge in the field. Maastricht University is home to an internationally renowned Psychology and Neuroscience faculty and facilities, and is a growing centre of psychology research.