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A NJ University Will Offer a Masters Degree in 'Happiness Studies'

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Centenary University in New Jersey announced the launch of a new degree program, a "Master of Arts in Happiness Studies."

The program, which the school said is the first of its kind, will "explore the implications of happiness for individuals, the workplace, and our broader society" and will cost students $17,700. According to the university's announcement, the program will launch virtually in the fall.


Centenary University President Bruce Murphy said in his announcement at the World Happiness Summit in Miami, Florida on March 18 to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness that the program was designed to "promote well-being and resilience in the midst of current world stress."

"This online, 30-credit graduate degree is an interdisciplinary program designed for leaders who are committed to personal, interpersonal, organizational, and societal happiness," Murphy said. "Grounded in science and research, this new degree will study happiness and resilience to prepare graduates to make an impact in a wide range of fields."

Centenary University is a private college in Hackettstown, New Jersey, with about 1,100 students enrolled. The university partnered with the Happiness Studies Academy to create the new happiness degree program.

According to the academy's website, its mission is to "lead the happiness revolution by educating leaders who are themselves dedicated to personal, interpersonal and communal flourishing."

The degree will include parts of several other disciplines, such as psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, finance, business, literature, religion and music. 

"This fully online accredited MA in Happiness Studies focuses on educating leaders who are committed to the cultivation of wellbeing in themselves and others, to the fulfillment of society’s potential for both happiness and goodness," the program's website reads. "Regardless of your area of interest and action—be it in business, education, psychotherapy, coaching, health or law—the rigorous ideas and evidence-based interventions that are part of the MA in Happiness Studies will help you bring out the best in your family, colleagues, clients, students and yourself."


Centenary University has received nearly 40 applications for the program since it was announced on March 18.

The program's site states that the purpose of offering a degree in happiness is "to provide students the opportunity to engage academically with that which [philosopher] William James refers to as 'human life's chief concern.' By receiving a broad theoretical foundation coupled with applied, practical knowledge, students will become positive change agents, creating a better, happier world."

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