This program is intended to familiarise you with the concepts and ideas of positive psychology. Through lectures, interactive meetings, group discussions and practical workshops, it will provide you with in depth knowledge on selected topics within the field of positive psychology and give students hands on experience with some of the positive psychology intervention techniques.
The course will start with a general introduction to the field of positive psychology. The main concepts will be introduced and clarified, and an overview of the results of happiness studies will be presented. In subsequent meetings, various more specific topics will be discussed by means of lectures and group discussions. There will be ample room to gain hands on experience with positive psychological techniques ranging from simple journaling exercises to mindfulness meditation.
The Positive Psychology program at Maastricht, taught by Maastricht University’s Center for European Studies, is a unique international study opportunity for Australian psychology students. Maastricht’s psychology faculty is world-renowned, and with access to Positive Psychology courses currently limited in Australia, you will experience not only world-class instruction but get insight into what is internationally a truly ‘hot topic’.
Hear What a Returned Student Says About the Program
Hear from the Professor of the Program
Positive psychology was introduced by Martin Seligman around 2000 and can be viewed as a supplementary approach to clinical psychology. The positive psychological movement formulated three aims: (1) to focus on well-being and happiness instead of abnormal behaviour and psychopathology, (2) to be concerned with building positive qualities and strengths instead of repairing damage and (3) to prevent future problems instead of correcting past and present problems.
The course will start with a general introduction to the field of positive psychology. The main concepts will be introduced and clarified, and an overview of the results of happiness studies will be presented. In subsequent meetings, various more specific topics will be discussed by means of lectures and group discussions. There will be ample room to gain hands on experience with positive psychological techniques ranging from simple journaling exercises to mindfulness meditation. A scientific evidence-based approach will be leading. We will provide participant with the tools to be able to evaluate and design research in the area of positive psychology, but also with the skills to apply some (basic) intervention techniques.
The instructional approach will include lectures, interactive meetings, group discussions, practical workshops and student presentations.
Final assessment will be by means of an individual paper on a topic of choice. On the last day of the course a student conference is held where each students presents his paper (review or research proposal) either by poster or through an oral presentation. Halfway through the course an abstract has to be handed in on the basis of which a selection of candidates for oral presentations will be made.
Maastricht University is a public University in the Netherlands, founded in 1976. In 2013, nearly 16,000 students studied at Maastricht University, 47% of whom were international students. About half of the bachelor’s programs are fully offered in English and most of the master’s and doctoral programs are in English as well. In 2013, Maastricht University was the second Dutch university to be rewarded the ‘Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation’ by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).
Find out more about the beautiful city of Maastricht, Maastricht University and the Centre for European Studies below:
Prof. Madelon Peters
Prof Madelon Peters is professor of Experimental Health Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience and programme leader of the “Behavioural Medicine” research group. She is a psychophysiologist by training and devoted much of her professional life to the study of mind – body interactions. She is most known for her work in the field of Chronic Pain, but her research encompasses a variety of themes such as: psychoneuroimmunology, sexual disorders, memory dissociation, fear of blushing and disgust. More recently she has become interested in Positive Psychology, in particular in relation to Health. She is a member of the International Association of Positive Psychology and the European Network of Positive Psychology. She teaches a course on Positive Psychology in the Research Master curriculum of the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience and gives frequent lectures on positive psychology and health for a broad audience.
Dr. Hugo Alberts
Dr. Hugo Alberts is assistant professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience and founder of “Mindfulness Extended” (www.mindfulness-extended.com). His field of expertise is Mindfulness and Self-regulation. Since 2002, Hugo is involved in a great diversity of studies and educational programs on self-regulation and mindfulness. Although theory entails an important aspect of mindfulness, practice is considered equally important. Besides being a researcher and assistant professor, Hugo is mindfulness trainer and coach. Both research and meditation are part of his daily life.
Dr. Elke Smeets
Dr. Elke Smeets is a lecturer at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience of Maastricht University. In addition, she has a private practice where she treats clients with various forms of psychological problems. She is trained in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), Compassion-Focused Therapy, and Mindful Self-compassion. Her areas of expertise include self-compassion, positive psychology interventions and (treatment of) eating disorders.
The Positive Psychology program includes:
- A weekend excursion to Brussels
- A weekend excursion to The Hague and Amsterdam
- Two cultural Dutch dinner nights with local students
- Walking tours
These activities are designed to give you a feel for Dutch life and culture, as well as give you an opportunity to meet and spend time with local students
You will be accommodated at the Maastricht University International Student Guesthouse which is located within walking distance from downtown Maastricht behind the Court of Justice. You will receive a map of the city upon arrival so that you can find your way around easily during the first few days. All participants are encouraged to follow the example of the local students and rent a bike to cycle to classes as it is the fastest and most convenient way to get there (Maastricht is flat so no big uphill to fear, but do plan on bringing lots of layers of clothing to keep you warm!).
In terms of room options, you will be given the option of having your own room or sharing with another AIM Overseas participant. All rooms have WiFi. You will have free access to a tennis and basketball court as well as laundry facilities. Linens are provided, but you will need to bring your own towels.
Option 1) Single room, C building
You will have your own room and will share a basic communal kitchen and bathroom with the people on your floor.
There is also a common area with some couches and a TV, where you can spend time with other students. There is an additional fee.
Option 2) Double room, P building
You will be sharing a spacious twin-share room with another AIM Overseas program participant. Each room has a kitchenette. You will share the bathroom facilities with the people on your floor. There is no common area available in this building.
Hear the experiences of other students on this program
“The program content has left me in awe; I’m captivated by the fusion of both eastern and western approaches to psychology and wellbeing. Our professors are incredibly friendly and so passionate about what they teach and specialize in. So far we have explored mindfulness, gratitude and positive emotions in a series of lectures, workshops and tutorials. We have been guided through meditation practices and various little tasks that have helped us manifest positivity, optimism and present-mindedness. I’m so excited to for next week’s classes and to explore positive psychology further.”
- Dana Marinac, Bachelor of Behavioural Science in Psychology. READ MORE
“This week started with a trip to Amsterdam, which was a lot of fun as I’ve never seen another city like it before. The tour around Amsterdam was so interesting, especially learning about why the houses are so thin (the government used to tax by how wide the front of your house was) and how they managed to get furniture in”
- Tate Stuchbery, Bachelor of Psychological Science. READ MORE
The Netherlands is a small densely populated country home to about 16.8 million people located in Western Europe. Tradition and innovation intertwine in this country: artistic masterpieces, windmills, tulips and candlelit cafés coexist with groundbreaking architecture, cutting-edge design and phenomenal nightlife.
Geography plays a key role in the Netherlands’ iconic landscapes. More than half the pancake-flat country is below sea level, and 20% has been reclaimed from the sea, making rows of polders (areas of drained land) omnipresent. Uninterrupted North Sea winds have powered windmills since the 13th century, pumping water over the dykes, and milling flour and more. Some two-thirds of the surface is devoted to agriculture, including fields of tulips.
The flat, fabulously scenic landscapes make cycling in the Netherlands a pleasure (headwinds not withstanding). Cycling is an integral part of life and locals live on their fiets (bicycle): more than a quarter of all journeys countrywide are by bike, rising to more than a third in big cities. The canals that run throughout the city are lined with little cafes that act as social hubs for the locals and visitors.
Maastricht, located at the very bottom of the Netherlands, has both Spanish and Roman ruins all around, sophisticated food and drink and lots of bars and cafes. It also holds French and Belgium twists in architecture. The location of Maastricht is crucial as it lies a short distance between the German and Belgium border therefore being an interesting mix of the two countries. Maastricht is the epitome of a student town perfect for travelling to as a student, the locals are bilingual in English and Dutch and are extremely welcoming to all visitors. Maastricht is a warm and energetic city with appeal and allure out of proportion to its size.
All our programs are designed to count for credit as electives. However, it is up to your university to decide whether they will approve some credit for your participation in one of our programs. Normally it is a course convenor, Head of Department or program convenor who approves your credit.
Course convenors will not be able approve credit for a course unless you have a copy of the syllabus, so you should not visit your course convenor until you have received a copy of the course syllabus from AIM Overseas. You will receive this after you have been accepted on the program. For more information, see our Credit and Funding pages.
You might be able to obtain the $6000+ OS-HELP loan, as well as a scholarship from your university, when participating in an AIM Overseas program.
Our programs are designed so that eligible Australian students can access the OS-HELP scheme, which can provide funding of over $6,000 for international study experiences.
We give you detailed information about OS-HELP and how to apply for it in your Initial Consultation with us, as well as in your AIM Overseas acceptance pack.
Many Australian universities offer scholarships for their students to take part in overseas study programs. We will provide you information on scholarships that we are aware of at your university as part of your application/acceptance for a program. You can also check your university’s international office webpage to see what might be offered.
Applications are now open for this program. Early application is recommended as places are limited.
The steps to apply, and be accepted, for this program are as follows:
- Apply online
- You’ll be prompted to send us a copy of your full academic results
- We’ll review your results and application and, if we believe you are likely to be accepted for the program, will invite you to an initial consultation by phone with an advisor.
- You’ll pay our $55 application fee and book in your phone consultation with an advisor.
- The phone consultation lasts about 15 minutes and we’ll cover detailed information with you about credit, funding, the program, your application and what happens next.
- Once you return any necessary documents (which we’ll advise you of in the consultation), we’ll do a final review of your application. If all is in order, we’ll send you your AIM Overseas acceptance pack.
- You'll receive your course syllabus, information on steps on applying for credit and funding, and an invoice for the program deposit. Your place is secured once you’ve paid your deposit.
Programs are usually over-subscribed, so it is really important that you take care of things as quickly as possible. We’re here to help and will provide you with information and reminders about what you need to do at various stages.
For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions. Alternatively, you are welcome to submit an enquiry or register your interest, meaning you’ll receive updates (via email and phone) prior to the application deadline.