Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program is a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree for primary or acute care nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), or nurses with a master’s degree and one year of clinical practice experience who want to effectively care for patients with complex psychiatric and physical health needs.

The program aims to provide advanced practice nurses with advanced psychiatric skills needed to offer therapy, prescription psychiatric medications and clinical management to underserved patients with mental illness and chronic medical comorbidities. The program also aims to provide psychiatric CNSs or NPs with a specialty in adult or child care with the knowledge and skill set to treat patients across their lifespan.

Certification and Career Opportunities

Graduates are prepared to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Psychiatric Mental Health NP (PMHNP) certification exam upon completion. This exam tests knowledge and skill related to psychiatric advanced practice across the lifespan.

Psychiatric Mental Health NPs have many career opportunities. A few include working in settings such as acute care environments, outpatient clinics, schools, prisons, health homes and behavioral health homes, long-term care facilities and private practice offices. These advanced practice nurses complete assessments and provide treatment, including therapy, medication prescription and management.

Clinical Hours

Students complete a minimum of 560 clinical practicum hours for the ANCC Certification. The first clinical practicum may be with any preceptor who is licensed in his or her respective state to provide psychotherapy. The second and third clinical practicum may be with a CNS, NP or MD preceptor. Clinical placements are determined by students’ areas of interest, career goals and preceptor availability.

Remaining hours are focused on a DNP project. This quality-improvement project will be grounded in a clinical problem. Students will work closely with a DNP advisor to formulate a capstone project.

Prior Experience

Students must have a minimum of one year of independent nursing experience in an adult care setting. UC College of Nursing expects students to have excellent assessment skills at the generalist level before undertaking advanced practice. The college offers a part-time program option to allow nurses to continue working while gaining valuable experience.

Program of Study

The program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. Full-time students can complete the program in eight semesters. Part-time students will receive individualized schema.

Full-Time Semester Schema

Semester 1

Semester 2

Semester 3

NURS 8002 (3 Credits)
Theoretical Basis of Clinical Reasoning

NDNP 9004 (3 Credits)
Biostatistics for EBP

NDNP 9001 (2 Credits)
Informatics for DNP practice

Writing Elective (3 Credits)

NDNP 9010 (3 Credits)
Health Care Policy for the Doctorally Prepared Nurse

NDNP 8002 (3 Credits)
Role Seminar for the Doctorally Prepared APRN

NURS 8022 (4 Credits)
Advanced Human Physiology & Pathophysiology

NDNP 9006 (4 Credits)
Essentials of Research Methods for Evidence Based Practice

NURS 8014 (3 Credits)
Epidemiologic Methods in Healthcare

NURS 8020 (3 Credits)
Advanced Health Assessment

NURS 8024 (3 Credits)
Pharmacology for Advanced Practice

Total: 8 to 11 credits

Total: 10

Total: 13

Semester 4

Semester 5

Semester 6

ANPS 8003 (3 Credits)
Neurobiology and Psychopharmacology: Lifecylce

NDNP 9015 (3 Credits)
Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

ANPS 8005 (3 Credits)
Psychopathological Disorders Across the Lifespan

NURS 8026 (3 Credits)
Differential Diagnosis


NDNP 9030 (4 Credits)
Planning, Management & Evaluation of Programs and Projects

NDNP 8010 (3 Credits)
Finance and Economics of Health Care

ANPS 8007 (2 Credits)
Systems Interventions with Individuals and Groups

ANPS 8020 (3 Credits)
Psychiatric Nursing NP Practicum I

ANPS 8013 (3 Credits)
Clinical Management of Adults


ANPS 8014 (3 Credits)
Clinical Management of Children

ANPS 8022 (3 Credits)
Psychiatric Nursing NP Practicum II

NDNP 9025
DNP Practicum 1

Total: 12

Total: 12

Total: 12

Semester 7

Semester 8


ANPS 8008 (2 Credits)
Role of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in Promoting Health

NDNP 9035 (3 Credits)
DNP Practicum 2

ANPS (3 Credits)
Psychiatric Nursing NP Practicum III

ANNP 8054 (2 Credits)
Seminar 3

NDNP 9038 (3 Credits)
DNP practicum 3


ANPS (4 Credits)
Practicum 4

NDNP 9040 (2 Credits)
DNP Capstone

NDNP 9042 (3 Credits)
Capstone Writing Seminar



Total:  10

Total: 12


Total: 91 Credits in 8 semesters