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Mental Health Psychology Minor

About The Program

The mental health psychology minor is designed for students who are interested in psychological theory and applications to mental health issues. Such students might be interested in working with chronically mentally ill, wellness efforts, chemical dependency (with dual diagnosis), social work positions or in areas of social services or institutions in which a working knowledge of mental health is essential. The minor fits well with other majors including social work, nursing and human services.

To complete the mental health psychology minor, students are required to take a minimum of 20 credits. At least 12 of these credits must be taken at Metropolitan State, and at least 12 credits must be upper division.

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Mental Health Psychology Minor now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Mental Health Psychology Minor

Courses and Requirements


To complete the mental health psychology minor, students are required to take a minimum of 20 credits. Of these credits, 12 must be taken at Metropolitan State and 12 credits must be upper division. More specific course requirements are below.

Mental Health Psychology Minor Requirements (20 credits)

+ Required Courses
+ Approved electives

In this course students explore questions related to psychology's response to diversity and ethical principles, including: How has psychology dealt with issues of culture, race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation and ableism? How has this influenced basic theories in psychology? How does this affect specific groups or individuals in areas of research, assessment and therapeutic practice? What are the ethical standards that guide, and the ethical dilemmas that currently face, the field of psychology? How do issues of diversity and ethical principles influence and intersect with each other? Further, this course is designed to develop and expand students' critical knowledge of the central role of race, racism, and anti-racism in multiple contexts of society and aspects of everyday life. Students are asked to think critically about the societal and individual effects inherent in the information covered in this course.

Full course description for Introduction to Diversity and Ethics in Psychology

In this course, students learn how family life affects individuals by examining the current theories and research on family systems. Learning strategies include role-playing demonstrations. Evaluation is based in part on individually-designed projects on the family of origin. Recommended: An introductory sociology or psychology course.

Full course description for Family Systems

This course provides an understanding of the basic concepts and techniques involved in selecting, administering, scoring and interpreting psychological tests. Validity, reliability, standardization, norms and ethical issues are covered in the measurement of intellect, aptitude, achievement, interest and personality. Learning strategies include test demonstrations. Students take, score (where possible) and interpret several different tests.

Full course description for Psychological Testing

This course introduces students to the history of learning theories, and the development of current theories of learning such as classical conditioning, operant conditioning and observational learning. An emphasis is on the basic methods of inquiry, as well as on applications of learning theories to areas such as education, business and behavioral change. This course is well-suited to students interested in education, as well as psychology, and is often preparation for graduate study in psychology and education.

Full course description for Psychology of Learning: Contemporary Theories and Applications

This course reviews current information on the clinical use of psychoactive medication. The course focuses on standard clinical psychopharmacology, applications of psychoactive medication, and relative merits of medication vs. psychotherapy rather than on illicit drugs. This course examines several classes of therapeutic drugs, such as neuroleptics, antidepressants, tranquilizers and hypnotics, their mechanisms of action and side effects, and research/experimental issues.

Full course description for Drugs and Behavior: An Introduction to Behavioral Pharmacology

This course examines the biological basis of behavior. Topics include structure and function of the nervous system, psychopharmacology, electrophysiology, and higher order function of the nervous system. Laboratories include brain dissection, nerve histology, electrophysiology and behavioral experiments.

Full course description for Biopsychology

This course will provide an introduction to the field of health psychology, which is concerned with the roles of behavioral/lifestyle, psychological, and social/cultural factors on health/wellness, illness and chronic disease. The course will address four general subject areas: 1) attitudes, behavior, and lifestyle factors affecting disease prevention and development; 2) stress and the related psychological and social processes associated with disease development and progression; 3) social and psychological factors involved in the illness experience; and 4) long-term social and psychological implications of chronic illness (e.g., heart disease, cancer).

Full course description for Health Psychology

Historically, as a discipline, psychology focuses on decreasing maladaptive emotions and behaviors. As a complement to this focus, Positive Psychology seeks to identify and enhance the human strengths and virtues that make life worth living and allow individuals and communities to thrive. This research-based course will address the differences and assumptions inherent in this approach. In particular, the course will serve as an introduction to the study of positive emotions, positive character traits, and positive institutions. A distinction among the pleasant life, the good life, and the meaningful life is drawn. Topics may include happiness, hope, flow, gratitude, mindfulness, etc.

Full course description for Positive Psychology

Forums are on topics of current importance in the field of psychology and are offered in collaboration with the Minnesota Psychological Association. Students are asked to write papers summarizing the content and discussing the relevance of principles and practices presented to their own activities or within a specified hypothetical context. Specific topics are listed in the Class Schedule or announced in the Catalyst. Note: At least 12 credits in psychology, human services, or social work prior to registration.

Full course description for Friday Forum Topics

Students in this course will learn about the theories and approaches to preventive psychology, a subfield of psychology that focuses on actions taken early to eliminate or minimize later problems. Through research and intervention, psychologists work with individuals, groups, communities and organizations to develop strategies and programs that work to prevent problems such as violence, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, child abuse, obesity, and other behaviorally based social, mental health, and health issues. Emphasis is placed on students developing knowledge and skills relevant to creating and adapting prevention programs for use in culturally diverse communities. Topics may include: stress and coping theory/research; prevention and health promotion theories, research, and strategies; and other relevant community/social change strategies. (Prereq. PSYC363 or PSYC336)

Full course description for Preventive Psychology

This course explores the empirical evaluation and application of psychotherapy and other mental health interventions. Ethics of clinical psychology are also considered. Students will learn to conceptualize and apply culturally responsive mental health practices. Current issues in the mental health field are discussed. This course is recommended for students considering graduate study in clinical or counseling psychology and related mental health fields.

Full course description for Introduction to Clinical Psychology

This course addresses some of the major issues arising from the interaction of law and the mental health system. Following a legal system overview, topics include civil commitment, the right to treatment and to refuse treatment, legal and policy issues affecting the community mental health system, mental health considerations in the criminal justice process, and malpractice and other legal concerns affecting mental health professional practice.

Full course description for Mental Health and the Law