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Arts & Sciences Chicago: Happiness in Western Thought, Art, and Culture

This program will explore “happiness” as a set of ideas, artifacts, and problems in the cultures of Europe and the Americas. We will study works ranging from ancient Greek and Roman philosophy to modern short stories, lyric poems, and films, by authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Seneca, Kant, Mill, Keats, Shelley, and Dickinson.  As we do so, we will examine the different definitions and understandings of happiness put forward by these texts. “Happiness” is defined sometimes as a set of qualities of a human life that make  it worth living and worthy of praise, and sometimes as a set of thoughts and feelings that give a sense of satisfaction and meaning.  Sometimes happiness is defined in terms of an individual’s experience, and sometimes it is seen as something achieved in community. Finally, we will ask if it makes sense to speak of specifically “Western” notions of happiness, and how a different cultural or historical perspective can affect our understanding of the texts we will study and the views of happiness they exemplify.

Course Code

SUAS 10401




High School Students


Arts & Sciences

Class Day(s)

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri

Class Start Time


Class End Time


Primary Instructor

David Wray

Secondary Instructor

Caterina Fugazzola


Session II

Orientation Date(s)

Start Date

End Date


  • Eligibility: current high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, 14 years and older (unless clearly stated otherwise)
  • Admissions: the Priority application deadline is February 2. Students who apply by the Priority application deadline will have their $50 application fee waived. Any applications received after the Priority deadline will be admitted using rolling admission and will require a $50 application fee.
  • For all courses still open, international students must submit all application materials before April 2.
  • For domestic students, rolling admissions will typically close by early May; this may be earlier for specific programs that fill.

Additional Details

  • This course is open to high school students only.

Cost & Aid

Total Cost (includes Tuition, Housing and Dining, and Fees): $6,500.

Complete Cost & Aid Information (including housing and other fees) for high school students can be found here.
Complete Cost & Aid Information (including housing and other fees) for undergraduates can be found here.