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Religion, Behavior, and Public Health

Course overview

As a person of faith, you have something unique to offer your community during this time of crisis. But what is that exactly?

In this class, you’ll be inspired to change your own behavior and discover how your individual actions can promote public health—not only mental or spiritual health, but physical health.

Using a biblical framework and guided by a trusted teacher, you will take a deep dive into the psychology of human belief and behavior. Your learning will draw on a biblical understanding of faith and human purpose. And you’ll identify specific behaviors that will build up the communities around you.

Course distinctives

Evidence-based insight - You'll learn what the latest science tells us about human thinking and behavior while remaining rooted in a Christian understanding of human dignity.
Value for everyone - The ideas you'll explore will be useful in any career that involves regular interaction with other people. If you're a religious leader, health care provider, social worker, or counseling professional, you'll find plenty of ideas to apply to your everyday job.
Expert guidance - Your instructor, Julie Yonker, is a widely respected scholar who was named "Professor of the Year" by Calvin students.

Course details

This course is asynchronous (that is, it doesn’t have a set meeting time) but with many opportunities for live interaction with the instructor and other students. Students who audit the course can expect to spend 10-14 hours with readings, videos, reflective writing, and live discussion, but they are not expected to complete assignments for a grade. Students who take the course for academic credit should expect an additional 20 hours of course work. Credit-seekers are graded on a credit/no-credit basis.


Julie Yonker's staff photo

Julie Yonker

Professor Yonker teaches many psychology courses and leads the psychology off-campus interim. She has conducted research into topics like substance abuse, teratology research (the study of birth defects), faith and religious development in emerging adulthood, and virtue development in emerging adults.

She and her family spent nine years living, working, learning and traveling in Europe (Germany, Sweden and Belgium).

Basic information

$400 for college credit (1 semester hour)
$200 to audit the course
June 1–June 19, 2020
Julie Yonker


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