Scholarly Coursework

MHIS students will enroll in four courses, including the two seminars created solely for this program. The additional two courses will be selected from a list of approved courses. However, we will allow students to enroll in only three approved MHIS courses if they need to take a course to fulfill graduation requirements.

  • PSYC 300: Science & Practice of Mental Health Treatment(Co-taught by Kunce & Nebel-Schwalm). Students will study the scientific foundations & current practices of mental health fields through traditional and experiential learning methods. Major themes will include diversity, ethics, and stigma reduction.

  • PSYC 400 “MHIS Signature Work Seminar” (Co-taught by Kunce & Nebel-Schwalm). Students will conduct an original project with a Mental Health focus such as developing, delivering, and documenting a series of workshops to IWU student groups.

Students will take two additional classes

  • Student Selected Mental Health Course: This course will be selected by the student from a pre-approved list that will include both psychology courses (e.g., Mental Health & Aging, Sports Psychology) & courses from other departments (e.g., sociology, health).  

  • Personally Relevant Course:  Students will select this course based on their own needs and interests. It may be

    • From the pre-approved list

    • A course tied to the students interests in mental health (although without a direct mental health focus)

    • A course the student must take for graduation

Note: The list of pre-approved classes will be available to prospective MHIS students before they apply.

Experiential Learning

  • Travel-Based Learning. MHIS Students will visit professional sites (e.g., hospitals, clinics, research institutes) to learn about services provided, research being conducted, and to interact with mental health experts. We plan to have 1-3 local trips (approximately 2-4 hours each) and one trip to Chicago that will be 2-3 nights in length. We also will be attending a regional research or applied professional conference.

  • Mental Health First Aid Training. A community member will train MHIS students in this evidence-based program. Students will learn to identify signs that may indicate an person is dealing with a mental health problem and what to do in that situation.

Student Signature Projects

  • Faculty instructors will closely mentor students as they take responsibility for

    • one particular workshop topic (e.g., “conflict management”).

    • conducting a literature review on their topic.

    • designing, revising, & delivering their portion of the workshop.

    • completing assignments that encourage them to reflect on this work from multiple perspectives (e.g., cross-disciplinary, diversity, ethics).

    • formally presenting their work to an invited audience.

Integrative Learning

  • Integrate Knowledge from other Academic Courses. MHIS students will be encouraged to integrate relevant information from other courses. This will be facilitated through assignments and discussions designed to tie in information learned elsewhere with the content of the MHIS.

  • Personal Experiences and Career Goals. MHIS travel experiences, guest speakers, and co-curricular events, will provide students with a better understanding of the mental health field and greater clarity regarding career paths.

  • Importantly, the MHIS will provide multiple opportunities for mentoring, as students will work closely with faculty, peers, and co-curricular staff. Because mentoring opportunities in Psychology most commonly occur in faculty research labs, the MHIS will provide an important alternative avenue for mentorship.


In the MHIS core courses, students will further develop complex cognitive skills, such as evaluating claims made on the basis of science and/or practice, applying scholarly knowledge to real-life problems, integrating learning across multiple courses, assessing their own multicultural competencies, and reflecting on their personal development. In the context of their signature projects, students will develop critical communication and work skills such as effective listening, social-emotional coping, project planning, teamwork, documentation, presentation, and accepting feedback. In addition, MHIS travel experiences, guest speakers, and co-curricular events, will provide students with a better understanding of the mental health field and greater clarity regarding career paths. Importantly, the MHIS will provide multiple opportunities for mentoring, as students will work closely with faculty, peers, and co-curricular staff. Because mentoring opportunities in Psychology most commonly occur in faculty research labs, the MHIS will provide an important alternative avenue for mentorship.

  • Personal and Professional Skill Development. MHIS students will develop complex cognitive skills, such as evaluating claims made on the basis of science and/or practice, applying scholarly knowledge to real-life problems, integrating learning across multiple courses, assessing their own multicultural competencies, and reflecting on their personal development. In the context of their signature projects, students will develop critical communication and work skills such as effective listening, social-emotional coping, project planning, teamwork, documentation, presentation, and accepting feedback.

  • Broader Social Issues. MHIS students will participate in the campus-wide intellectual theme of “Changing Climates.” They will be challenged to think about the ways we see changing climates in mental health, such as diversity, inclusion, and stigma. Furthers, students may have the opportunity to address one of these social issues in their project work.

  • Their personal experiences & career goals

  • Their development of personal & professional skills.

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