Beach scene

Explore the concept of happiness and design and test a variety of measures to improve happiness in your own life

Module details

  • Offered to 2nd Years
  • Mondays 16.00-18.00
  • 2-term module worth 5 ECTS
  • Available to eligible students as part of I-Explore
  • Extra Credit or Degree Credit where your department allows
Degree credit module options by departmentHow to enrol

Have you ever thought that you might be happier if only you could... (fill in the blank)? In this module, you have the opportunity to think critically about your own life and consider what happiness means to you. That might be having a purpose in life, spending quality time with friends, taking care of your body or being grateful for what you have. Whatever the answer, it will be different for everyone.

Work alongside other students studying sustainability and smart living, to explore the concept of happiness. What is happiness? What is it for? Does it matter? How can we measure it? Using a variety of ‘theories’ of happiness, think about what happiness means to you in your life and community. Through discussions, research and reflection you will develop your own personal theory of happiness. You will then develop a range of ideas to increase happiness and test your favourite in the real world. This module will provide you with the foundations to evaluate happiness in your life and provide you with the space and time to consider what is important to you.

This module will be delivered online making full use of our virtual classroom. Each session will be highly interactive including activities, discussion and close interaction with your peers and teachers. To understand more about how we teach online interactively, visit the Change Makers Online Learning page.

Information blocks

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module you will be better able to:

  • Examine key theories relating to ‘happiness’ in the world
  • Define how ‘happiness’ can be promoted, supported and measured
  • Create a personal definition or theory of happiness
  • Create a personalized brief – analyzing your own life to identify opportunities to increase happiness
  • Develop a rationale for assessing the needs, benefits and successes of implementing such a change
  • Design and test a targeted happiness initiative in your own life
  • Evaluate the impact of the initiative

Indicative core content

This module will create an overarching critique of the concept of happiness and how it applies to you. You will begin by examining a range of theories of happiness, and develop you own theoretical understanding of the concept.

You will then create your own design briefs using video or photo diaries and rotate through a series of mini design and creativity exercises before picking one idea to develop, test and evaluate.


  • Practical: Personal Happiness Footprint Poster (10%)
  • Coursework: Video/Photo Diary Brief and Analysis (30%)
  • Practical: Design Process Assessment (20%)
  • Practical: Final Design Portfolio (40%)

Key information

  • Requirements: You are expected to attend all classes and undertake approximately 85 hours of independent study in total during the module. Independent study includes reading and preparation for classes, researching and writing coursework assignments and preparing for other assessments.
  • Sufficient time will be set aside for all assessments to be completed in-class.
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 5 course. See Imperial Horizons level descriptors [pdf]

My Journey

You can focus your project on any area of happiness that you want to explore, but to give you some ideas of what students have tackled previously, take a look at these topics:

  • The impact of social interactions on happiness
  • Creating balance between academic success, helping others and doing this just because they are fun
  • Trying to identify the optimistic view of every situation and acting upon that perspective
  • Finding out how many different ways there are to think about happiness

Project submissions can be really creative and can include any component you feel express your experience of completing the project. So far students have submitted:

  • Project reports and narratives
  • Video diaries
  • Short films
  • Podcasts
  • Websites
  • Newsletters
  • Posters
  • Handwritten journals
  • Hand made and digital artwork
  • Apps