• Offered by Research School of Psychology
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Psychology
  • Areas of interest Psychology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Elizabeth Rieger
    • Dr Eryn Newman
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

All activities that form part of this course will be delivered remotely in Sem 2 2020.

The Wellbeing Formula will introduce you to the psychological science and practice of wellbeing. It will draw on psychological theory, research evidence, and practical techniques to help you understand the factors that create flourishing individuals, communities, and societies.

Specifically, this course will provide you with an understanding of current theoretical models and research evidence regarding the factors that promote the capacity for people to thrive. Among these factors are developing the ability to:
• have a deep sense of self-acceptance,
• experience positive emotions,
• be fully engaged in life,
• have positive relationships with others,
• experience a sense of accomplishment,
• have a sense that your life is valuable and meaningful,
• experience personal growth through life’s difficulties,
• have a sense of being in charge of your own life, and
• optimise your physical health.

In addition to its focus on psychological factors, the course will address sociocultural factors in terms of the societal determinants of wellbeing and how to build flourishing communities and societies. More than helping you to gain an intellectual understanding of the science of wellbeing, this course will also provide instruction in key strategies whereby you can understand the processes involved in enhancing your own wellbeing and that of others. This course will move away from a more traditional focus on illness to one on health, from what causes us to experience distress to what protects us against distress, from a focus on eliminating problems to cultivating strengths, and from how our suffering can be minimised to how we can thrive.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Distinguish between common misconceptions versus theoretical models and empirical evidence regarding the contributors to wellbeing.
  2. Understand the key psychological factors contributing to wellbeing including self-acceptance, positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, accomplishment, meaning, personal growth, autonomy, and a healthy lifestyle;
  3. Understand the key sociocultural factors contributing to wellbeing;
  4. Be aware of reliable and valid questionnaires for assessing wellbeing constructs;
  5. Implement strategies to enhance personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of others;
  6. Critique the wellbeing literature in terms of its current limitations so as to understand fruitful directions for future research.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Online Quizzes: there will be 11 quizzes after each of the first 11 lectures, with students able to drop their worst quiz. The remaining 10 quizzes will each contribute 2% to the student's final mark. Quiz content will be based on (1) the lecture's content and (2) the lecture's set reading (a journal article). (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. Written assignment: a 2000-word essay in which students provide a critical evaluation of the literature on applied positive psychology interventions to develop their own personalised wellbeing plan. (30) [LO 2,3,4,5,6]
  3. Final examination (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 1 x 2 hour lecture per week
  • Approximately 106 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Prescribed Texts

There is no prescribed text.

There will be two set readings in the form of journal articles and one online talk for each lecture.

Preliminary Reading

Recommended readings (approximately five journal articles) for each lecture will be provided on Wattle.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8913 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person View

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