Positive Psychology (NS128)

Community Development

Positive Psychology (NS128)

Community Partners

Various – a range of community partners, changes annually and varies among students

Positive Psychology module (first introduced in 2010/2011) is designed to promote an understanding of the basics of positive psychology and of the science and applications related to the study of psychological strengths and subjective wellbeing.

Students are required to complete a minimum of 24 hours of volunteering in the community and compile a reflective learning journal based on their experience as a part of module assessment.

Over the years, students taking the module have engaged with various groups and organisations working in the areas of youth work, education and literacy, international development, homelessness, substance misuse, older persons and many others. Some partners have included the Aisling Project Ballymun, DCU Intergenerational Learning Project, SUAS and St. Vincent de Paul, as well as a range of DCU Clubs and Societies with a social and civic mission.

NS128 module learning outcomes:

  • Discuss the aim, scope, theories and concepts of positive psychology.
  • Contrast the principles of positive psychology principles and other theoretical principles of psychology.
  • Develop an understanding of the dimensions of subjective well-being and the application to their lives and to real world domains.
  • Comprehend research that supports the principles, strategies, and skills of positive psychology.
  • Discuss how they can work to their personal strengths and maximize their well-being.

Positive Psychology module is an innovative programme that adopts a unique pedagogical approach of taking the university learning outside of the classroom to contribute to cultural and social development of the local community.

The emphasis on reflective learning and critically analysing own involvement and personal and professional development contributes to producing a rounded graduate, not only equipped with academic knowledge, skills and competencies, but also conscious of the impact that this knowledge, skills and competencies can have on wider society.

The module challenges student preconceptions about working with marginalized groups and encourages student reflection on their learning and community engagement.

The module aims to bridge the gap between theory learnt in the classroom and being an active practitioner. In large part, the student learning takes place out of the classroom and outside the formal curriculum – in the community and by engaging with diverse groups and responding to the needs of the community.

The volunteer work delivered by Positive Psychology students annually brings a significant benefit to the local services. Areas emerging when the student engagement is examined are age-friendly university, education for all, university’s commitment to benefit socio-economically disadvantaged areas.

The module causes a change in students’ preconceptions and attitudes to volunteering. Even though the volunteering component is compulsory in order to be successful in the module, many students continue their work for longer than the required 24 hours, making their engagement more sustainable.

Further Details & Assessment:

Positive Psychology module is assessed on a continuous basis as follows:

  • Reflective journal 50% (Utilising the experiences and insights gained from volunteering, students are required to compile a reflective journal that explores positive psychology and is evidentiary basis in a specific context)
  • Essay 50%

Significant weight is put on the reflective journal as a part of Positive Psychology assessment. Compilation of the reflective journal encourages students to approach and analyse their community and civic engagement in a critical manner. It therefore introduces and fosters the notion of being a reflective practitioner already as early as in their 1st year at university.

  • BSc in Psychology
  • School of Nursing and Human Sciences
  • Faculty of Science and Health
  • Dublin City University
Credit weighting:

5 credits

Academic Contact:

Dr Liz McLoughlin, liz.mcloughlin@dcu.ie