Self-Directed Online Course

At every moment in our lives we have a choice. Moments add up to a lifetime; choices add up to a life. This 5-week module summarizes the material presented in the previous seven through the choices that we make—whether major choices such as deciding on the kind of work we want to pursue or the kind of person we want to spend our lives with, to minor choices such as the physical posture we choose to assume when walking into a room or the way we respond to a request from a colleague. It is through these choices—major and minor—that we become co-creators of our reality.

Objectives and Outcomes
  • Understand how the choices we make form the building blocks of the path our life takes.
  • Recognize the impact of our choices on the life we live, and how it is through our choices that we create our own and others’ reality.
  • Recognize the impact of our choices on our self-confidence and happiness.
  • Learn how having too much choice can also paralyze us, if our objective is maximizing rather than satisfying.

Program Faculty

Dr. Tal Ben-ShaharTal Ben-Shahar, PhD, is an author and lecturer who is dedicated to helping people be the change they want to see in the world. He taught the largest course at Harvard on “Positive Psychology” and the third largest on “The Psychology of Leadership”—with a total of over 1,400 students. In his mindfulness lectures and workshops, Tal integrates theory and practice, East and West, philosophy and psychology.

Over a five-week period, students participate in a completely online curriculum that features one new class every week. Lessons in each class consist of watching approximately 60-90 minutes of a prerecorded video lecture with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, class assessments and assignments, and practice applications.

The course is completely asynchronous, which means you can start at any time and participate whenever it is convenient for you during the five-week window.

This is a self-directed curriculum. No homework is submitted and no grades are given. You will receive a certificate of completion when all lessons are completed.

The Certificate in Positive Psychology course uses the same video lectures with the added bonus of two onsite immersions, small peer work groups, live conference calls with faculty, and ongoing support for the full 11 months. Please note refunds are not provided if you decide to take the certificate course at a later date.


No prerequisites are required for this course. Technology requirements include an Internet connection.


Class 1: Introduction
People who have an internal locus of control—who believe that their choices rather than luck mostly determine the course of their life—are generally happier, more resilient, and more successful. This class explores the idea that at every moment in our lives we have a choice, and it is the accumulation of these choices that ultimately determine the course our life takes.

Class 2: Big Life Choices
This class looks at major decisions that we make in our life and how these impact our overall levels of physical and mental health. The class focuses on three choices in particular: the choice to pursue our calling, the choice to help and contribute, and the choice to be true to ourselves.

Class 3: Specific Situational Choices
This class looks at choices that we have in response to particular situations. The class focuses on the choices that we have when it comes to our emotional reaction to a situation, the choice we have when facing difficulties and hardships, and finally how we choose to treat other people.

Class 4: Every—Moment Choices
This class looks at choices we have at every moment in our life. The class focuses on three choices in particular: how we carry ourselves physically, whether or not we choose to appreciate what we have, and choosing to bring more humor and play into our life.

Class 5: The Limits of Choice
There can be too much of a good thing; there can be too much choice. Having a great deal of choice can paralyze us, or cause constant dissatisfaction and frustration. When making choices, it is important to shift from maximizing to satisficing—from insisting on a perfect solution to accepting a good enough solution.

Please note refunds are not provided if you decide to take the certificate course at a later date.

Tuition for this course is $295.

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