March 22, 2022

Experts say there’s never been a better time for a research-based academic program designed to promote well-being and resilience in the midst of current world stress.

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ, March 22, 2022—Centenary University President Bruce Murphy, Ed.D., has announced the introduction of the world’s first Master of Arts in Happiness Studies, slated to launch in a fully virtual format for the University’s fall 2022 semester. Dr. Murphy made the announcement on Friday, March 18, at the World Happiness Summit in Miami, Fla., to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that this fall, Centenary University in Hackettstown, NJ, will introduce the world’s first Master of Arts in Happiness Studies,” Dr. Murphy said. “This online, 30-credit graduate degree is an interdisciplinary program designed for leaders who are committed to personal, interpersonal, organizational, and societal happiness. 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.”

Experts say there’s never been a better time to advance the study of happiness in society. Recent world events have increased stress levels among people of all ages. In a February/March 2022 survey, the American Psychological Association concluded that the war in Ukraine and rising inflation have compounded the extreme stress, loss, and grief Americans are still experiencing as a result of the pandemic, which began in the US two years ago this month. In the national poll, 87 percent of respondents reported that they feel like there’s been a constant stream of crises—with no break—over the past two years.

Approved by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Centenary University’s 30-credit program will present an interdisciplinary approach, based in science and research, to prepare graduates to cultivate personal and professional well-being and resilience in themselves and others. The new master’s degree will incorporate aspects of diverse disciplines—psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, finance, business, literature, coaching, religion, music, and more—to explore the implications of happiness for individuals, the workplace, and our broader society.

“To be sure, we are in trying times—pandemic, depression, war—but these are not unique times,” Dr. Murphy explained. “We have had such challenges throughout history and we have sought to find ways to weather these storms. At Centenary, we sought to develop a curriculum to address this need and we’ve tapped the expertise of our own talented faculty, as well as one of the great minds on the subject of happiness studies.”

The program will be directed by internationally renowned expert and author Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., who is the co-founder of the Happiness Studies Academy. Dr. Ben-Shahar achieved national recognition two decades ago when he taught one of Harvard University’s most popular classes, on happiness. Since then, he has also taught at Columbia University, written several best-selling books on the subject, and has appeared on major media as a happiness studies expert including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, the BBC, and Today on NBC.

“The Happiness Studies Academy is honored to work with Centenary University as together we help our students disseminate the science of wellbeing in their homes, communities, schools and organizations,”Dr. Ben-Shahar said.

For more information on the Centenary University Master of Arts in Happiness Studies, go to:


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, NJ, with its equestrian facility in Washington Township.

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