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MSU Offers 'Mental Health and Spirituality' Undergrad Certificate

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Friday, November 18, 2022   

Missouri State University is offering a new option for students: a certificate that blends psychology with religious studies.

The Mental Health and Spirituality Undergraduate Certificate invites students to consider religion's impact on mental health and general well-being. Prof. Stephen Berkwitz, who heads the Department of Religious Studies at MSU, said it will require 15 hours of coursework, and is tailored to students pursuing undergraduate degrees in health care or social services.

"It's a concentrated program that allows students to kind of understand what are the bases of mental health, how do we understand it, and how does religion and spirituality contribute to mental health," he said.

Students have 19 courses to choose from in such areas as psychology, gerontology and religious studies, and can customize the focus to suit their educational goals. As the university puts it, "The power of faith can go a long way - especially in health care."

Psychology and the social sciences traditionally have been oriented toward evidence-based approaches to knowledge. Berkwitz said this program brings in knowledge from other disciplines.

"What's kind of unique about this program is that it's taking the empirical side of studying about human existence and how people make sense of themselves and find meaning in their lives," he said, "but adding the almost sort of philosophical or humanistic approach as well."

The certificate program is under way, with the initial cohort of students wrapping up their first semester in December.


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