Positive Psychology

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”.

Why this programme?

Experience Europe during your study

Although the Positive Psychology programme focuses on academics first and foremost, experiencing Europe is about more than just studying. The programme includes two cultural weekend trips to the beautiful European capitals; Brussels and Amsterdam.

1st Study Trip to Brussels, which includes for example, historical city tours, as well as architectural and cultural highlights. You will also visit the Abbey of Val-Dieu, famous for it's beautiful architecture and long history of traditional beer brewing and cheese making.

2nd Study Trip to Amsterdam, which includes for example, a historical city tour, visits to the Anne Frank House, various art museums, the Dutch Open Air Museum ‘Zaanse Schans’ and other cultural activities.

Programme Dates:

  • January 2019: 3 – 26 January

What can you expect from CES?

At CES we have a small team of young-hearted, dedicated people ready to help you, so you can focus on the things that really matter during your stay abroad, whether that is selecting the right courses, getting to an airport for your flight to Barcelona, finding a volunteer opportunity, meeting Dutch students, buying a bike or more.

Before you get here...
You will have one person responsible for your programme, who will guide you through the application process and the preparation of your stay abroad. The programme coordinator will sign you up for classes, arrange housing and order insurance (if applicable), as well as organise the airport pick up and the introduction programme. You can contact your coordinator with any question you might have.

After you arrive...
Once you're here, your programme coordinator will guide you through the application of your temporary residence permit (if necessary). Afterwards, we will be here for whatever you need. There are no limited office hours, our doors are always wide open and you can reach each programme coordinator on their cell phone 24/7. Just walk in, we are always happy to see you :o).

General overview of CES services

  • Advice and assistance during application
  • Direct enrolment at Maastricht University
  • Academic guidance
  • Visa and temporary residence permit assistance
  • Housing reservations
  • Tour of Maastricht University
  • Airport pick up & drop off (on the official arrival and departure day of the programme)
  • Extensive introduction programme
  • Integration into Dutch student life
  • On-site support throughout the programme
  • Library and IT services
  • Transcripts
  • Disability Management
  • Insurance
  • Mobile phones
  • 24/7 Emergency assistance

Courses & curriculum

The ‘Maastricht Method’ of education

The Positive Psychology programme uses Problem-Based Learning (PBL), a student-centred teaching method widely used throughout Maastricht University. Small groups of students (12-15) work on academic or practical cases prepared by their teachers, who act as guides to students. Students are in charge of their own learning process and are expected to be committed, active and self-motivated. As part of the programme, students participate in a series of hands-on workshops including a mindfulness meditation and learning about the latest mindfulness research, positive emotions techniques and self-compassion sessions. Students attend interactive lectures, work on specific real-life cases and give presentations. The final project will be a paper on a topic of your choice. On the last day of the course, a student symposium will be held where each student presents a review or research proposal to the rest of the group, either by poster or through an oral presentation.


The total workload for January Programmes is 36 class hours, during which time students earn 7.5 ECTS. How ECTS transfer back depends on your home university or college. Generally a 5-6.5 ECTS course is the equivalent of a full semester course (3 American credit hours).


Maastricht University uses the European-wide ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits to measure academic progress.

Rankings & recognition

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.

High academic standard
CES programmes are designed for enthusiastic and intellectually curious students dedicated to expanding their academic horizons while abroad. To ensure that students do well, CES offers extensive academic advising, workshops and regular monitoring. Maastricht University uses Problem-Based Learning (PBL), a student-centered teaching approach. Small groups of students (12-15) work on academic or practical cases prepared by their professors. Faculty act as guides to students who are in charge of their own learning and are expected to be committed, active and self-motivated.

Admission requirements

Acceptance to the open enrolment programmes is competitive and early application is recommended. While most students participating in our open enrolment programmes are undergraduates at the junior or senior level, applications by motivated students at the sophomore and/or freshman level with a good GPA will be considered too. You should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to apply for a CES Open Enrolment Programme. If you have a lower GPA you can request to be considered if you can show a recommendation from a professor or academic advisor at your home university or college with specific details about your academic development so far.

Applicants must be proficient in English. Non-native speakers are required to demonstrate proof of English language proficiency. Students with an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma are exempted, as are EU-nationals. International students who are enrolled as fulltime students at university or college in a native-speaking country where English is the language of instruction are also exempted.

All other prospective students must present a current TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Testing System), score before they can be admitted.

Your TOEFL test score has to be at least:

  • 575 points (paper-based version)
  • 230 points (computer-based version)
  • 90 (internet-based version)

Your IELTS test score must be at least 6.5.

Admission & registration

Application procedure
Complete and submit the online application form and send all additional information mentioned below via email/regular mail to your coordinator. Your CES coordinators will contact you within a week after receiving your application and additional information to assist you in the registration process and the preparations for your stay in Maastricht.

Additional required information

  • Official transcript
  • Letter of recommendation from teacher or study abroad advisor
  • Motivation letter
  • 1 Colour passport picture (digital, in jpeg format)
  • Scan or a clear copy of your passport (information page with photo and any other pages with stamps etc)

Please note that once your course list is finalised you will receive a course approval form which you will need to fill in with the help of your home institution.

CES Cancellation Policy
The Center for European Studies incurs costs for each student we register. CES applies the following cancellation regulations:

  • If a student withdraws 8 weeks or more before the start of the programme, no costs will be charged with the exception of any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable
  • If a student withdraws between 8 and 4 weeks before the start/arrival day of the programme, CES will charge 5% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable
  • If a student withdraws between 4 weeks and the start/arrival day of the programme, CES will charge 10% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable

Exceptions to the abovementioned cancellation regulations will be reviewed by CES on a case-by-case basis.

Application deadline

15 October


Suzanne van der Laan

International relations officer
Monday - Friday

+ 31 43 388 4838