PhD in Health Sciences with Positive Psychology


The search for meaning, happiness and well-being has been a major preoccupation throughout the centuries. Researchers have searched for answers to the questions: what gives people meaning, what is happiness and what constitutes well-being, and how can we promote these? Positive psychology is the study of the conditions and processes that contribute to the flourishing or optimal functioning of people, groups, and institutions. This includes the scientific study of strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. A basic premise of positive psychology is that human flourishing cannot be achieved simply through curing pathology and eliminating behavioural and emotional problems but requires building and capitalising on strengths and capabilities. 

The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, cultivate what is best within themselves, and enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.


Purpose of the PhD in Health Sciences with Positive Psychology

The purpose of this programme is to offer students an advanced knowledge base of and research competence into the nature, development and enhancement of psychosocial well-being in diverse contexts.

The curriculum composition of this programme is of an academic nature. The curriculum gives an opportunity for the development of specialised and advanced knowledge, with the accompanying relevant applied skills, attitudes and values as researchers in Positive Psychology. This qualification does not lead to an additional professional qualification or registration with the HPCSA or any other legislative body.

The programme will equip candidates to conduct high-level research and make significant and original academic contributions to the field of Positive Psychology through the ability to apply sophisticated knowledge and research methodologies to the solution of complex, unfamiliar problems in the field.  Competence will be developed to integrate and apply theoretical knowledge and research findings within relevant local and global contexts and across disciplines. In this process, research findings may contribute towards well-being interventions and promoting well-being and quality of life.

Closing date for applications - 30 September


PhD in Health Sciences with Positive Psychology information

NWU postgraduate applications

PhD in Health Sciences with Positive Psychology programme-specific application form


For further information contact: Prof Lusilda Schutte.