Positive Psychology

What makes life worth living? People have always been driven by the pursuit of happiness and hope for the future. While this may seem to be an idealistic notion at first, it has found its place in positive psychology.

For much of the 20th century, “What is wrong with people” has guided the thinking of many psychologists, dominating countless scientific studies and rooting the field in pathology. Founded over a decade ago by University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman, positive psychology instead asks “what is right with people”. Human strengths, such as courage, future-mindedness, optimism, and interpersonal skills act as buffers against mental illness. Positive psychology, therefore, is devoted to understanding and learning how to build these positive qualities in order to improve people’s well-being and help to promote the “good life”.

Why this programme?

On an individual level, positive psychology embraces the capacity for love, courage, interpersonal skills, aesthetic sensibility, perseverance, forgiveness, originality, spirituality, high talent, and wisdom. In our times, such virtues are often looked at with scepticism. But before dismissing positive psychology as “soft” one needs to know that it is firmly rooted in hard science, and an evidence-based approach underpins the entire programme. Upon completion, students will be able to design and judge a positive psychological research project and will have gained first-hand experience with various positive psychology intervention techniques.

Hands-on approach
As part of the programme, students participate in a series of hands-on workshops including a mindfulness meditation and learning about the latest mindfulness research, positive emotions techniques and self-compassion sessions. Students also attend interactive lectures, work on specific real-life cases and give presentations. The final project is a paper on a topic chosen by the students. On the last day of the course, a student symposium is held where each student presents a review or research proposal to the rest of the group with a poster or an oral presentation.

Programme Dates

  • January 2024:
    3 - 20 January 2024

What can you expect from CES?

At CES we have a small team of young-hearted, dedicated people ready to help you, before, during and after the programme. Read more

Before you start...
You will have one person responsible for your programme, who will guide you through the application process. The programme coordinator will sign you up for classes. You can contact your coordinator with any questions you might have.

During the programme...
During the programme, your coordinator will be available to assist you with any questions or issues that may arise.

General overview of CES services

  • Advice and assistance during application
  • Direct enrolment at Maastricht University
  • Academic guidance
  • Support throughout the programme
  • Transcripts
  • Disability Management

Courses & curriculum

The ‘Maastricht Method’ of education
The Positive Psychology programme uses Problem-Based Learning (PBL), a student-centred teaching method widely used throughout Maastricht University. Small groups of students (12-15) work on academic or practical cases prepared by their teachers, who act as guides to students. Students are in charge of their own learning process and are expected to be committed, active and self-motivated.

The total workload for January programmes is 36 class hours, during which time students earn 7.5 ECTS credits. How ECTS credits transfer back depends on your home university or college. Generally, a 5 - 6.5 ECTS course is the equivalent of a full semester course (3 American credit hours).

Maastricht University uses the European-wide ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) to measure academic progress.

Rankings & recognition

Academic excellence with an International approach
The Positive Psychology programme is a unique experience, following one of the hottest topics in psychology today. As many universities do not yet offer positive psychology courses, this is a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in a cutting-edge field. Maastricht University is home to an internationally renowned Psychology and Neuroscience faculty and facilities, and is a growing centre of psychology research.

High academic standard
CES programmes are designed for enthusiastic and intellectually curious students dedicated to expanding their academic horizons. To ensure that students do well, CES offers extensive academic advising, workshops and regular monitoring. Maastricht University uses Problem-Based Learning (PBL), a student-centred teaching approach. Small groups of students (12-15) work on academic or practical cases prepared by their professors. Faculty act as guides to students who are in charge of their own learning and are expected to be committed, active and self-motivated.

Admission requirements

Acceptance to the Open Enrolment Programmes is competitive and early application is recommended. While most students participating in our open enrolment programmes are undergraduates at the junior or senior level, applications by motivated students at the sophomore and/or freshman level with a good GPA will be considered too. You should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to apply for a CES Open Enrolment Programme. If you have a lower GPA, you can request to be considered if you can show a recommendation from a professor or academic advisor at your home university or college with specific details about your academic development so far.

Applicants must be proficient in English. Non-native speakers are required to demonstrate proof of English language proficiency. Students with an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma are exempted, as are EU-nationals. International students who are enrolled as fulltime students at university or college in a native-speaking country where English is the language of instruction are also exempted.

All other prospective students must present a current TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Testing System), score before they can be admitted.

Your TOEFL test score has to be at least:

  • 575 points (paper-based version)
  • 230 points (computer-based version)
  • 90 (internet-based version)

Your IELTS test score must be at least 6.5.

Admission & registration

Application procedure
Complete and submit the online application form incl. all additional information. Your CES coordinators will contact you within a week after receiving your application to assist you in the registration process.

Additional required information

  • Official transcript;
  • Letter of recommendation from teacher or study abroad advisor;
  • Motivation letter;
  • 1 colour passport picture (digital, in jpeg format);
  • Scan or a clear copy of your passport (information page with photo and any other pages with stamps, etcetera).

CES cancellation policy
The Center for European Studies incurs costs for each student we register. CES applies the following cancellation regulations:

  • If a student withdraws 8 weeks or more before the start of the programme (i.e. before 8 November 2023), no costs will be charged;
  • If a student withdraws between 8 and 4 weeks before the start of the programme (i.e. between 8 November 2023 and 6 December 2023), CES will charge 25% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable;
  • If a student withdraws between 4 weeks and the start of the programme (i.e. after 6 December 2023), CES will charge 50% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable.

Exceptions to the above mentioned cancellation regulations will be reviewed by CES on a case-by-case basis.

Application deadline
1 November 2023


Suzanne van der Laan

International relations officer
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

+ 31 43 388 4838