BESC2011 Foundations of Positive Psychology

Bachelor Course Unit

BESC2011 Foundations of Positive Psychology

Level: 2nd year

Credit points: 3

Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology

Unit description

This unit introduces students to the principles of positive psychology. Students will learn how positive psychology emerged as a study of what makes people happy and well, rather than diagnosing and treating psychopathologies in traditional psychology. It will cover the concept and measurement of signature strengths as an alternative to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Rev. ed.); and explores determinants of well-being such as optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy. Students will gain an understanding of how positive psychology is implicated beyond the individual to communities and institutions.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to: 

  • understand the underlying principles of positive psychology and future directions
  • explain the characteristics and contributing factors of optimal experience
  • understand and describe the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions
  • explain the importance of hope and optimism in well-being
  • explain the role of emotional intelligence in performance
  • be familiar with the various conceptualisations of resilience
  • explain the impact of self efficacy and self-esteem on performance and well-being
  • explain how physical health impacts relationship health
  • understand the role of positive psychology in organisations
  • understand the impact of religion and spirituality on well-being

Unit content

  • Introduction to Positive Psychology
  • Psychology Flow
  • Positive Emotions
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Optimism and Hope
  • Resilience
  • Self-Efficacy and Self-Esteem: The Power of Self-Belief
  • Positive Relationships
  • Creativity
  • Positive Psychology in the Workplace and Beyond
  • Spirituality, Religion and Well-Being
  • Future of Positive Psychology

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9.75 hours per week.

Assignment summary



Word count


Reflective Essay




Academic Essay




Graduate attributes

The following graduate attributes will be developed in this unit:

  • Knowledge of the framework of counselling theory, and a foundational understanding of the major theories of counselling
  • Understanding of and the appropriate application of counselling skills in a range of contexts and circumstances
  • Understanding what constitutes ethical practice in counselling interactions
  • The ability to effectively and appropriately apply the micro and macro skills of counselling
  • The ability to recognise major transition points in human development and major forms of mental illness and know when and how to appropriately refer clients

Recommended text

Carr, A. (2004). Positive psychology: The science of happiness and human strengths. New York, NY: Routledge.

Relevant journals

American Psychologist
Australian Psychologist
Behaviour Research and Therapy
Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal
Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour
Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy
Journal of Community Psychology
Journal of Psychology and Christianity
Journal of Sports Sciences
Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Psychology Today
Review of General Psychology
The Journal of Happiness Studies 
The Journal of Humanistic Psychology
The Journal of Psychology
The Journal of Positive Psychology 
The Psychologist

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the semester.