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

Spring Semester 1

Summer Semester 1

Fall  Semester 1

NURS 8002

Theoretical Basis of Clinical Reasoning

3 credits


NDNP 9004

Biostatistics for EBP

3 credits


NDNP 9001

Informatics for DNP practice

2 credits


Writing Elective

3 credits

NDNP 9010                     

Healthcare Policy for Doctoral Prepared Nurse                      

3 credits


NDNP 8002

Role Seminar for the Doctorally Prepared APRN

3 credits


NURS 8022

Advanced Human Physiology & Pathophysiology

4 credits

NDNP 9006

Essentials of Research Methods for Evidence Based Practice

4 credits


NURS 8014

Epidemiologic Methods in Healthcare

3 credits


NURS 8020

Advanced Health Assessment

3 credits, (1 cr. = 3 lab hrs)


NURS 8024

Pharmacology for Advanced Practice

3 credits

Total: 8 to 11 credits

Total: 10

Total: 13

Spring Semester 2

Summer Semester 2

Fall Semester 2

ANPS 8003

Neurobiology and Psychopharmacology: Lifecylce

3 credits

NDNP 9015

Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

3 credits


ANPS 8005

Psychopathological Disorders Across the Lifespan

3 credits


NURS 8026

Differential Diagnosis

3 credits


NDNP 9030

Planning, Management & Evaluation of Programs and Projects

4 credits

NDNP 8010

Finance and Economics of Health Care

3 credits


ANPS 8007

Systems Interventions with Individuals and Groups

2 credits


ANPS 8020

Psychiatric Nursing NP Practicum I

3 credit (need to change hours in e-curriculum)

ANPS 8013

Clinical Management of Adults

3 credits

ANPS 8014

Clinical Management of Children

3 credits


ANPS 8022

Psychiatric Nursing NP Practicum II

3 credit (need to change hours in e-curriculum)


NDNP 9025

DNP Practicum 1

3 credits

Total: 12

Total: 12

Total: 12

Spring Semester 3

Summer Semester 3

Fall Semester 3

ANPS 8008

Role of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in Promoting Health

2 credits


NDNP 9035

DNP Practicum 2

3 credits



Psychiatric Nursing NP Practicum III

3 credit


ANNP 8054

Seminar 3

2 credits


NDNP 9038

DNP practicum 3

3 credits



Practicum 4

4 credits


NDNP 9040

DNP Capstone

2 credits


NDNP 9042

Capstone Writing Seminar

3 credits




Total:  10

Total: 12




Total credits: 91 Credits in 9 semesters