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

NDNP 9004 (3 Credits)
Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice

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

NURS 8002 (3 Credits)
Theoretical Basis of Clinical Reasoning

NDNP 9015 (3 Credits)
Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

NURS 8022 (4 Credits)
Advanced Human Physiology & Pathophysiology

NDNP 9005 (2 Credits)
Optional Doctoral Writing Elective

NDNP 9001 (2 Credits)
Informatics for DNP Practice


NDNP 8014 (3 Credits)
Epidemiologic Methods in Health Care

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

NURS 8020 (3 Credits)
Advanced Health Assessment


Total: 9 credits

Total: 9-11

Total: 9

Semester 4

Semester 5

Semester 6

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

NDNP 9010 (3 Credits)

Healthcare Policy for the Doctorally Prepared Nurse

ANPS 8003 (3 Credits)
Psychopathological Disorders across the Lifespan



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

NDNP 8026 (3 Credits)
Differential Diagnosis for the APN

NURS 8024 (3 Credits)

Pharmacology for Advanced Practice

ANPS 8005 (3 Credits)
Neurobiology & Psychopharmacology: Lifecycle

ANPS 8007 (2 Credits)

Systems Interventions with Individuals & Groups

ANPS 8020 (3 Credits)
Psychiatric Nursing NP Practicum I

NDNP 9025 (3 Credits)
DNP Practicum 1

Total: 10

Total: 10

Total: 11

Semester 7

Semester 8

Semester 9

ANPS 8013 (3 Credits)
Clinical Psychiatric Diagnostics & Management of Adults

ANPS 8022 (3 Credits)
Psychiatric Nursing NP Practicum II

 8008 (2 Credits)
Role of Psychiatric Mental Health NP in Promoting Health

NDNP 9035 (3 Credits)
DNP Practicum III

ANPS 8024 (3 Credits)
Psychiatric Nursing NP Practicum III

ANPS 8014 (3 Credits)

Clinical Psychiatric Diagnostics Management of Children

NDNP 9038 (3 Credits)
DNP Practicum III

NDNP 9042 (3 Credits)

Capstone Writing Seminar


ANPS 8026 (3 Credits)
Psychiatric Nursing NP Practicum IV

NDNP 9040 (2 Credits)
DNP Leadership Seminar

NDNP 9042 (3 Credits)
DNP Writing Seminar

Total:  10

Total: 9

Credits: 8

Total: 91 Credits in 8 semesters