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Mental Health Immersion Semester

The Mental Health Immersion Semester (MHIS) provides a distinctive learning experience for IWU students interested in mental health topics or mental health-related careers.

Similar to the best May Term courses or Study Abroad experiences, MHIS immerses students in an exciting variety of academic and experiential learning opportunities. MHIS students deepen their knowledge of mental health and develop professional skills through:

  • Scholarly coursework: MHIS Students enroll in

    • 2 seminars exclusively for MHIS students (PSYC 300/400 credits)

    • 1-2 additional courses tied to the mental health theme


  • Experiential learning, such as

    • Regional travel (2-3 day Chicago trip, local site visits)

    • Direct interaction with mental-health experts

    • Mental Health First Aid Training


  • Student Signature Projects

    • MHIS students conduct an original applied project, such as developing a workshop for IWU students on a mental health topic

    • Students are mentored by MHIS faculty as they design, implement and document their project


  • Integrative Learning. As they study complex mental health topics, MHIS students seek to integrate their scholarly learning with

    • Knowledge gained in other academic courses

    • Personal experiences & career goals

    • Development of professional skills  

    • Broader social issues related to diversity, inclusion, & stigma reduction



Is This For Me?

Explore your interests in mental health topics and related careers:

Clinical, Counseling or School Psychology,  Substance Abuse or Domestic Violence Intervention, Community Mental Health,  Social Work, Medicine/Psychiatry,  Occupational Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis, Autism Specialist, Health, Rehabilitation or Forensic Psychology


Practical Information: Timeline, Eligibility & Commitment


  • Timeline

    • MHIS is offered in alternate years, beginning in Spring 2019

    • Interested students may contact the MHIS co-directors (Dr. Linda Kunce,, Dr. Marie Nebel-Schwalm, at any time to learn more about MHIS

    • Students seeking to enroll should apply during the preceding semester

  • Eligible students

    • 12 - 16 students will be admitted

    • Psychology majors & minors preferred, but open to other students (space permitting)

    • Junior/senior students; sophomores may be eligible in special circumstances

  • Accessibility

    • Cost: There are no additional tuition or MHIS course fees. Regular IWU tuition will cover MHIS expenses, including travel.

    • Time Commitments:

      • MHIS students participate in important experiential learning activities outside of regular class hours (such as travel, signature project work)

      • Most MHIS students, however, should be able to maintain their regular IWU commitments (such as work study, athletics)

    • Inclusion: MHIS directors seek to create a program climate in which all students feel comfortable and able to learn to the best of their ability. Prospective MHIS students are encouraged to talk with program directors about needed adaptations for any special characteristics, abilities or circumstances.