Engendering a world in which people act out of an awareness of our common humanity, innate potential, and inherent interdependence, where all can give, love, do, and serve out of a sense of abundance, requires educating young persons in the inner and outer skills that can prepare them to be leaders who bring about positive social transformation in all areas of society. Such future leaders need both tools of critical social analysis and the practices of cultivating inner values: strength, resilience, confidence, courage, self-control, empathy, integrity and compassion—in other words, an education that links heart and mind.

In order to provide such an educational environment, Life University’s College of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, in collaboration with the Center, took the unprecedented step of creating the Positive Human Development and Social Change Department. This interdisciplinary department merges the Psychology and Business Departments and is adding faculty across a wide range of disciplines, such as peace studies, transformational leadership, and contemplative studies/secular ethics.

The Department is built on a philosophical view that positive human development (inner values, integrity, spirituality, flourishing) and positive social change exist in a self-reinforcing relationship of interdependence, and that by building up the strengths in each, one removes interferences to building up strengths in the other. Only by addressing both can long-term, sustainable and systems-level change occur within individuals and societies. We call this the interdependent model of individual flourishing and social change.


The Department currently offers the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration, with a focus on Positive Business, Transformational Leadership and Entrepreneurship.
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with an a focus on Positive Psychology
  • Master of Science in Positive Psychology, with General, Coaching, and Contemplative Science and Secular Ethics tracks.

In collaboration with the Center, the PHDSC Department is also currently developing an interdisciplinary Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Positive Human Development and Social Change, with concentrations in Peace Studies & Conflict Transformation, Positive Psychology, and Positive Business. The AA and BA degrees will be offered both to traditional students and those enrolling through the Center’s Chillon Project. The PHDSC Department is also in the early stages of developing a Master of Business Administration degree with a focus on Transformational Leadership and Entrepreneurship.

Whether they focus on business, psychology, leadership, or peace studies & conflict transformation, PHDSC students will emerge as:

  • Transformative leaders for social change: Thought-leaders and change-makers who inspire by their very being; who facilitate positive, sustainable social change; who unleash the innate capacities of others;
  • Global citizens: Who understand, can critically analyze, and can participate creatively in global systems and structures;
  • Social entrepreneurs: Who create innovative solutions to the most pressing problems in healthcare, business, education and society, and who capitalize on opportunities for social betterment.

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