Skip to content

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration prepares graduates to independently diagnose and treat a wide variety of mental health conditions across the life span.  In addition, they are prepared to provide integrative practice across a spectrum of mental health and physical health conditions. 

Course work and supervised clinical experiences provide the knowledge, skills and abilities to provide at least two different approaches to psychotherapy, in-depth understanding of psychopharmacology, and expertise in treating patients across the life span who are experiencing both mental health and physical health problems.  Graduates are eligible to take the certification examination for Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioners.

Degree concentrations include pathways for those wishing to obtain initial Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification and for APRNs with current APRN credentials.

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner FAQs

What is a APRN-PMH Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner?
As described in the Scope and Standards of practice of Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice Nursing ( 2007), APRN-PMH practice focuses on the application of competencies, knowledge and experience to individuals, families, or groups with complex psychiatric mental health problems. Promoting mental health in society is a significant role for the APRN-PMH, as is collaboration with the referral to other health professionals as either the patient’s needs or the APRN-PMH nurse practice focus may dictate.
How are the courses delivered online?
Blackboard Academic Suite is utilized for the internet delivery and management of courses. Faculty design course sites that include all components found in a traditional classroom and more. The system offers ability for synchronous and asynchronous communication and interaction through a discussion board and virtual classroom respectively.
How is the DNP different from the PhD?
The DNP is a practice doctorate degree for nurses seeking preparation in advanced practice roles. The PhD is primarily a researched-focused degree program, and a dissertation is required.
What types of students are admitted into the Psychiatric Mental Health DNP concentration?
Students admitted into the program have completed an entry level degree (MSN, BSN) into the profession of nursing, with all nursing backgrounds eligible for the Psychiatric Mental Health DNP concentration.
Are there clinical requirements?

Yes, clinical experience hours must meet the requirements to sit for certification by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Clinical experiences across the lifespan are obtained in each student's community in various clinical sites with a preceptor.

Clinical experience hours are obtained in the student's current setting and in the state he or she resides.

Can I go part time, full time?
Full-time and part-time plans of study are available. Students should consult with the concentration coordinator about how to best proceed with his/her respective program needs.
What happens after I apply?
  • Required face to face Interviews are held in Late February/ Early March.
  • Applicants are notified of their acceptance/rejection within one month of interview.
  • The program begins in July/August of each year.
  • Students desiring to transfer courses prior to application should contact the Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Option Coordinator to ensure compatibility of courses.
Can I work and go to school?

This varies highly between student to student. This is a rigorous program. However, many students find they are able to work part-time.

Do I have to come to campus?

On-campus experiences are scheduled occasionally as a part of specific courses to provide structured experiences in simulation. They last about 1 or 2 days and are identified 6 months in advance. A schedule is published in our academic calendar page.

Will I be eligible for certification? When?

Yes, the necessary hours for clinical and educational experiences needed for certification are integrated within the curriculum.

Students who have APN backgrounds not in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing will take the course work leading to eligibility for national certification as a Psychiatric Family Nurse Practitioner. (two-year program) Students without any advanced practice nursing certification in any population or role focus will have additional hours in the DNP program for the Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice certification as well as the Family Nurse Practitioner certification. (three-year program)

Students already certified as a Psychiatric Mental Health APN will have clinical and educational experiences that build on their psychiatric expertise. (two-year program)

The clinical and educational experiences necessary to obtain certifications is built in to the two and three year curriculum plans.

Students are eligible for all certifications upon graduation and submission of appropriate forms and fees to ANCC.

How much will this program cost?
Tuition costs are determined by in-state or out-of-state status and may change during the program. Tuition and fee information can be found at Additionally, the Educational Common Market may be available for some out-of-state students. Information on this program can be obtained at the Office of Financial Aid. Many employers also offer tuition reimbursement even for part-time employees. Additionally, students will need to make arrangements for travel and hotel accommodations during the on-campus experiences. Students should also explore the many private scholarship funds available for graduate study in their communities, region, state and nation. A Google search of graduate nursing scholarships will produce vast opportunities. Many diverse groups offer scholarship programs and some states and organizations also have loan repayment programs for nursing education. There are also federal government grants for nursing students.
Are there any courses I can take in advance and if so, what is the procedure?
Yes, students can take a few courses prior to enrollment; however, students should contact the Psychiatric Mental Health Concentration Coordinator or the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs to make sure the course is the appropriate level prior to taking the course.


Last Published: Nov 13, 2017