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Student Development Classes

What applied mental health classes are available?

STDEV 143: The Science and Practice of Positive Living

The aim of this course is to actively engage students in the learning and application of current, research-backed approaches to positive human growth and psychological well-being. For each topic students will engage in application, through the use of various exercises, outside of class. Students will also share with each other what they have learned in small discussion groups. Active engagement with the course material will increase psychological well-being over the course of the semester. Topics include happiness, gratitude, savoring, mindfulness, character strengths, and more.

STDEV 141R: Individual Development

We designed these two-credit mental health courses to build resiliency, improve mental health, and increase well-being. These courses are all listed in the catalogue under STDEV 141R Individual Development*. Different sections of Individual Development focus on different aspects of mental health and well-being. Some of the sections include the following:

  • Compassionate Living: Theory and Practice

    Developing compassion for self and others has been shown to reduce perfectionism and self-criticism and improve performance, motivation, and relationships. It has also been shown to effectively treat symptoms of anxiety and depression. This course will teach theory and skills aimed at increasing assertiveness, decreasing shame, and developing self-efficacy, contributing to the balanced development of the total person.​​

  • Mental Health and Well-Being

    Mental health is an important aspect of overall health and well-being. This course provides students the opportunity to develop an understanding of common mental health challenges in university populations (i.e., stress, anxiety, and depression) and to learn ways to effectively manage their own mental health, while simultaneously building compassion for others who may struggle with mental health challenges. Concepts such as psychological flexibility, awareness, openness, and engagement in meaningful activities are discussed and practiced allowing students to develop skills that assist in managing mental health and living a valued life in the face of challenge and adversity.

  • Relational Intelligence: Building Healthy & Lasting Connections

    This course will explore the challenges and rewards of navigating close interpersonal relationships—including dating, friendships, and family—and promote self-development in the context of these relationships. The primary goal of this course is enhanced relational intelligence (RQ) through recognizing patterns of conflict, working on interpersonal skills, and practicing healthy psychological boundaries in the context of close relationships.

  • Intuitive Eating, Culture and Body Image

    This course is designed to allow students to learn, recognize and engage in topics related to diet culture. Students will be exposed to past and current beliefs and biases about bodies and health. Lectures will supplement scholarly research about the effects of intentional weight loss and the multifactorial nature of health. Students will be introduced to concepts of intuitive eating, health at every size, and the impact of adverse childhood experiences on bodies. The course will expose the student to numerous scientific studies, books, podcasts, documentaries, and other media sources centered round weight, bodies, and wellness. The class includes lectures, experiential assignments, group and class discussions as well as student presentations about an area of interest within the curriculum.

*You can find out which sections are dedicated to each of these categories by visiting the course catalogue here, and clicking on the appropriate semester under “Class Schedule.” Near the top of the page you will see the titles for each section of Individual Development.

ST DEV 140 Life Planning and Decision Making

Students who engage in this course will make better decisions, gain confidence in goal setting, and sharpen their time management skills. Through exploration of their unique personality strengths and challenges, coupled with insights into young adult development, participants will be empowered to plan for a purposeful and meaningful life.

What other Student Development classes exist?

These are one-, two-, or three-credit credit classes designed to assist students with relevant college related concerns in a class setting with the goal of helping you to fulfill the AIMS of a BYU education. Student Development courses typically focus on academic skills, career development and preparation, leadership, and improving mental health. Classes are taught by faculty of the Counseling and Career Center and advisors from University Career Services, the Academic Success Center, University Advisement Center, Pre-Professional Advisement and other areas across campus. We have highlighted several of our courses below. For a complete listing, go here.

ST DEV 109 Effective Study and Learning

Concentrates on the college learning process. Improve time management, reading, listening, note taking, test preparation, test taking, and develop an effective memory.

ST DEV 117 Career Exploration

Learn about yourself, learn about careers. Connect interests and skills to majors and careers. Make effective career decisions.

ST DEV 150 Public Speaking

Learn time-tested methods for enhancing your ability to connect with, inform and persuade an audience.

ST DEV 205 Surviving College Reading

Learn how to read and comprehend difficult textbooks. Retain more information in less time. This course is especially good for freshmen, sophomores, and any student who feels overwhelmed by the reading loads of their college classes.

ST DEV 214R Special Topics

Special topics courses can include any topics relevant to student development: learning/academic skills, leadership, mental health, personal development, career development, etc. This designation is frequently used to 'try out' new courses in order to determine how effective they are at meeting student needs. Special Topics courses have included the following:

  • Test Preparation and Test-Taking Strategies
    This course helps students identify ways to develop study plans, deal with test questions and explore strategies for test-taking. High emphasis is placed on helping students learn from previous experience about their success and how to improve the possibility of success.
  • Professional Etiquette
    Learn standards of professional behavior in Western society. Develop social skills. Professional Etiquette addresses thirteen principles of etiquette. Additionally, specific etiquette skills are taught through lecture, discussion, reflection and experiential learning activities. Students are provided with the opportunity to develop an understanding and working knowledge of social nuances and expectations, facilitating more meaningful relationships in both personal and professional life.
  • Adjusting to College Life
    This course is designed to help those with autism spectrum disorders and others who struggle socially to adapt to college life. Contact the instructor,, for more information. Instructor approval required.
  • Math Modeling
    This course is specifically designed for unique student populations, particularly those with math disabilities. Referral to the course and instructor approval is required.

ST DEV 317 Career Strategies

Preparing for employment. Job search, resumes, cover letters, interviewing, networking.

ST DEV 318 Graduate School Preparation

Prepare and craft competitive graduate school application documents. Topics include references, personal statements, scholarships and financial aid, entrance exams, resumes and interviewing, research of graduate programs.

When you enroll in a Student development course you increase your ability to:

  • Raise your grade point average
  • Be an effective decision maker
  • Improve performance on exams with better test-taking skills
  • Make reading a meaningful experience
  • Handle the note-taking challenge
  • Create strategies to deal with the expectations found in college
  • Explore and identify a major that is suited to your interests, values and plans
  • Face the University experience with greater confidence
  • Recognize your developing personality and strengths
  • Grow in personal development as a college student

When are they offered?

They are offered each semester or term, usually with multiple section offerings.

How do I enroll?

Same procedure as other classes. They are listed under Student Development (STDEV).

Anticipated Outcomes?

Involvement in a Student Development class has several strengths: 1) it enhances commitment to the task of career exploration and decision making, since a grade is involved, 2) you have the opportunity to be in a class with other students who have the same concerns, thus giving you mutual support and sharing of information and resources, and 3) it gives you the extended amount of investment in time and energy to explore and think about these issues adequately. With this in mind, we consider the class to be one of the most intensive and most successful ways to engage in career exploration, decision making, and improved scholarship.