Study Abroad in The Science of Wellbeing, Study & Travel Program

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The Science of Wellbeing: Academics

Fairfield University

Academic credit for The Science of Wellbeing program is awarded by Fairfield University. Fairfield University is a private Jesuit university founded in 1942 in Fairfield, Connecticut, well known for their commitment to international education. Fairfield is a fully accredited university and member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In 2020 Fairfield and AIFS partnered to develop a school of record relationship that will allow academic credit to be available for both Fairfield and non-Fairfield students. Faculty credentials are reviewed and approved by Fairfield University.

Academic Overview

Attendance is required to receive full credit. Unexcused absences are not permitted.

Grades No AIFS participant is permitted to take a course without receiving a grade. Pass/Fail grade options are not available.

Transcripts are issued by Fairfield University. One official copy will be sent to the student’s home institution on completion of the program.

Course Description

PSY/SOC 285 (3)
The Science of Wellbeing

The aim of this course is to provide an interdisciplinary overview of wellbeing as a scientific construct, with its underpinning biological, psychological, cultural and social determinants, exploring the factors that contribute to the wellbeing of individuals and populations. Students will develop an understanding of wellbeing as a relatively new concept (WHO, 1948) and its main current and emerging perspectives, rooted in psychology, neuropsychology and social behavior theories. The course will focus on some specific topics that are central to wellbeing, such as quality of life, happiness, resilience and what factors promote them; creativity and the arts and how these are being used in evidence-based ways to improve health and wellbeing, both in everyday life, but also within healthcare systems (i.e. art therapy and music therapy). The course will also introduce students to some of the main wellbeing measures currently utilized in science. Students will be encouraged to use a range of tools proposed during the course and apply them to understand health and wellbeing and their meaning in different individual, group and organizational contexts. The course will encourage a comparative perspective on mental health and wellbeing in the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark and students will examine government policy on mental health and wellbeing in each of these countries.

Students will gain an understanding of the concept of wellbeing and its multiple dimensions and how they relate to one another and develop a critical understanding of the development of the scientific construct of wellbeing, the key current biopsycho- social theories that underpin it and the main paradigms, tools and methods currently applied within the wellbeing domain. They will develop an understanding of factors, including creativity and the arts, that promote wellbeing and more specifically key aspects such as quality of life, happiness, and resilience in a range of different individual, group and organizational contexts. Students will learn how these three different countries have adopted the concept of wellbeing in their government policies.

The course will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, with emphasis on student attendance and participation and students required to lead classroom discussion based on assigned readings and to present in groups on prepared topics. Discussion and debate are viewed as an essential part of the interactive and participatory learning program. TED talks, national wellbeing platforms (i.e. Action for Happiness movement, Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters) will be used and explored in critical ways. Students are expected to apply critical analysis regarding the use of these resources. The course will also include appropriate field trips that are a key component of the experiential learning approach.

By the end of the course, students will demonstrate a sound knowledge of the historical development of wellbeing as a multidimensional construct, current theories and debates and have a critical understanding of how key wellbeing concepts apply to different domains of individuals’ lives and to societies. They will also have an initial understanding of how to apply wellbeing methods in research and a degree of autonomy, clarity, technical competence, capacity for self-evaluation and critical thinking in their assignment and the ability to apply a comparative analysis towards British, German and Danish healthcare policies with regard to wellbeing.


Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS Study & Travel Program programs! Offerings!

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS Study & Travel Program programs!

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS Study & Travel Program, The Science of Wellbeing programs!