Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Foundations of Social Wellbeing

UM LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DEPARTMENT Faculty for Social Wellbeing

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will provide students with a detailed understanding of wellbeing, by deconstructing definitions related to wellbeing and attending to the philosophical underpinnings of wellbeing across a range of disciplines within the social sciences. Lectures will cover the following areas: an introduction to wellbeing; the family and wellbeing; childhood and wellbeing; educational resilience and wellbeing; youth, emerging adulthood and wellbeing; adulthood, ageing and wellbeing; spirituality, religion and wellbeing; work and wellbeing; economics and wellbeing; disability and wellbeing; immigration, ‘race’ and wellbeing; gender, sexuality and wellbeing; culture and wellbeing; media and wellbeing; environment and wellbeing; community and wellbeing.

These aspects of wellbeing will be considered with regard to relevant policy and research. Wellbeing has been viewed as an individualised and internalised state. However, this study-unit serves to integrate objective and subjective components of wellbeing by considering the different ways in which wellbeing is conceptualised and measured. Therefore subjective and objective aspects of wellbeing will be appraised and evaluated, together with aspects pertaining to quality of life, recognising the importance of personal values, context and notions of privilege. Real life examples, case studies and research findings will be interwoven throughout the lectures in order to highlight the discourse and controversies surrounding wellbeing.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to provide students with access to a range of multidisciplinary lectures focusing on the topic of wellbeing across diverse professional perspectives. Topics presented serve to explore current trends and debates in the field of wellbeing and wellbeing research. Students will be facilitated in conceptualising wellbeing and considering how wellbeing features in various domains and professions. This study-unit aims to equip students with the knowledge and understanding to recognise and identify key issues surrounding the field of wellbeing studies and to stimulate ideas and areas of study for their dissertation. The study-unit also aims to foster a critical, evaluative stance to the study of wellbeing by recognising how academic issues can be applied to societal issues towards the advancement of human progress on a local and international level.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Through a written assignment, students will demonstrate that they can identify a key area of wellbeing and synthesise key findings from a range of sources in order to explore this in-depth. Students will critically appraise how wellbeing is constructed and applied to their chosen area by evaluating and discussing local and international literature;
- Through a multiple choice examination, students will demonstrate that they have engaged in the lectures and consolidated the key readings provided.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Demonstrate an ability to integrate a range of literature on the topic of wellbeing;
- Identify developments and changes in the field of wellbeing featured in the key texts they are asked to read prior to each lecture;
- Compare and contrast understandings of wellbeing across interdisciplinary domains based on the varied lectures they have been exposed to;
- Apply the knowledge they acquire in the course of their studies to their final year dissertation;
- Engage in collaborative activities with professionals from a range of disciplines;
- Consolidate their understanding of a chosen area of wellbeing in an assignment;
- Appreciate and recognise that uncertainty and diversity can be engaged with productively rather than feared or avoided;
- Recognise how poverty, exclusion and discrimination negatively affect wellbeing;
- Identify the importance of meaning and purpose in life in order to enhance wellbeing.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Essential Texts:

Cartwright, N., & Montuschi, E (Eds.). (2014). Philosophy of social science: A new introduction. Oxford, England: Oxford Press.
Cooper. C. L., & Roberston, I.T. (Eds.). (Costabile, L (Ed.). (2008). Institutions for social well-being: Alternative for Europe. Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
Haworth, J., & Hart, J (Eds.). (2007). Well-being: Individual, community and social perspectives. Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
Knight, A., & McNaught, A (Eds.). (2011). Understanding wellbeing: An introduction for students and practitioners of health and social care. Banbury, England: Lantern Publishing.
Rath, T., & Harter, J. (2010). Well being: The five essential elements. New York, NY: Gallup Press.

Supplementary Reading:

Biachi, S. M., Casper, L. M., & Berkowitz King, R (Eds.). (2005). Work, family, health and well-being. New York, NY: Routledge.
Burrell, A., & Riley, J (Eds.). (2005). Promoting children's well-being in the primary years. Network Educational Press.
Cain, L. P., & Paterson, D.G. (2012). The children of Eve: Population and well-being in history. West Sussex, England: Blackwell Publishing.
Griffin, J. (1986). Well-being: Its meaning, measurement and moral importance. England: Clarendon Press.
Jimenez, A (Ed.). (2008). Culture and well-being: Anthropological approaches to freedom and political ethics. London, England: Pluto Press.
Underdown, A. (2007). Young children's health and well-being. Berkshire, England: Open University Press.
Zaidi, A. (2008). Well-being of older people in ageing societies. Ashgate.



Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Presentation SEM2 Yes 20%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Roberta Attard
Andrew Azzopardi
Albert Bell
Christian Borg Xuereb
Marie Briguglio
Amy Joan Camilleri Zahra
Julian Caruana
Gottfried Catania
Marlene Cauchi
Carmel Cefai
Melanie Demarco (Co-ord.)
Ingrid Grech Lanfranco
Brenda Murphy
Marceline Naudi
Sandra Scicluna
Sue Vella


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.