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University Courses

The class changed my life for the better.
It was my good fortune to study under the excellent UCLA instructor, Emily vanSonnenberg.
— Cristophe, 75, UCLAx Happiness student, retired patent attorney
I want to start by thanking you immensely for an amazing and life-changing class. I honestly think that this is the most important class I’ve ever taken, and think a Positive Psychology class (especially this one) should be required for everyone. You’ve been a wonderful and inspirational professor and you’ve taught an extraordinary class that I will never forget. Not only did I learn the value of happiness and optimism (a BIG learning for an innate pessimist), this is the first time I’ve been chronically pain free in 3+ years. I intend to take away everything I learned from this class and continue to apply it to my life on a daily basis. Words cannot fully express my gratitude.
— Lisa, 34, UCLAx Happiness student & former music industry executive turned Positive Psychology PhD. student
Professor vanSonnenberg made me think more about knowing my way, what I deeply feel in my heart, and that it is right. I reflect more often and I want to show this ability to my colleagues with staff trainings. Knowing one’s way or mission is the most important thing and reflecting every day helps a lot. I feel more gratitude for all of my abilities, strengths and ways of thinking. I now know my Calling and want to give my best for my team and show them everything I learned about meaningful work.
— Karolina, 28, Manager Tourism industry, student Making Work Meaningful, Munich University of Applied Sciences


Emily created and teaches two university courses: Happiness at UCLAx and Making Work Meaningful at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. She has also served as an Instructor for UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center MOOC course, The Science of Happiness, and led discussions and assisted teaching UCLA's courses Human Motivation and Intimate Relationships.



In 2009, Emily created and taught the first Positive Psychology course for UCLA entitled Happiness. In 2012, she developed and began teaching an expanded version of the course entitled Happiness: Theory, Research and Application in Positive Psychology.

This 4-unit course is now offered online, 1-2 times per year, through the department of Humanities and Social Sciences at UCLAx. Anybody can enroll in this course. Credits are transferable to most accredited colleges and universities around the globe.

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In 2016, Emily created and began teaching the course Making Work Meaningful: Theory, Research and Application in Positive Psychology and Positive Organizational Scholarship for the Munich University of Applied Sciences.

This 2-unit course is taught in English and offered in-person 1-2 times per year through the department of General and Interdisciplinary Studies. Credits are accepted by most accredited colleges and universities around the globe.