Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN)

The University of Virginia School of Nursing prepares for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) either within the master’s degree program or with a post-master's certificate. The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing track emphasizes the preparation of nurses for advanced practice roles in the care of individuals across the lifespan in a variety of settings. Underserved populations and rural service delivery needs are highlighted throughout the program. Seminar course content focuses primarily on assessment and management of serious mental illness. Particular emphasis is placed on the integration of neurobiologic, psychosocial and psychiatric nursing knowledge in delivery of care to individuals experiencing schizophrenic spectrum disorders, depression related syndromes and psychogeriatric illnesses.

BSN-to-DNP pathway: The UVA School of Nursing offers a DNP specialty track for those with BSN or Generalist MSN degrees who with to pursue the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track. You can read more about the BSN-DNP option here.

Edie Barbero, Program Coordinator

Jackie Oswalt
Jackie Oswalt, Administrative Assistant

Program Coordinator: Edie Barbero, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC; (434) 924-2704,

Direct all questions on admissions and financial aid to Assistant Dean Clay Hysell, (434) 924-0141, .


Clinical placement sites are arranged in a variety of inpatient and community care settings appropriate to the interests and learning needs of the student. Students in the PMH MSN complete 500 hours of clinical in the final two semesters of enrollment (GNUR 7251 and either 7252 or 7253).


Graduates of the PMHNP track or the PMHNP post-master’s certificate are eligible for National Certification Examinations given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the School of Nursing is competitive and based on evaluation of all portions of the application. To be considered for the Master of Science in Nursing, applicants must submit a completed application and:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited school.
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in undergraduate study.
  • Be licensed as a registered nurse in the US, with eligibility to transfer your license to Virginia.   All matriculating students who are not active-duty military nurses must have a Virginia RN license before the first day of classes.
  • Submit a total of three satisfactory recommendations (academic, professional, and clinical), one of which should be from an APRN.
  • Submit a copy of your resume or CV.
  • Have completed an undergraduate or graduate statistics course within the past 5 years.
  • Be available for an interview if requested.
  • International applicants have additional admissions requirements.

Note: Applicants should have at least 1 year of full-time RN experience before enrolling in the program.  Experience is required for many of the classes, including GNUR 6020 (Advanced Pharmacology), GNUR 6025 (Advanced Health Assessment), and the clinical practica.

Technology requirements: All graduate nursing students are required to have a laptop. Students in the advanced practice (APRN) programs  are required to have a smartphone (Apple or Android) in addition. Information on the laptop and smartphone requirements will be sent to enrolling students in the summer before classes begin.

Application deadline: November 1 for fall entry

*Submission of scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is optional. If you wish to have your GRE scores sent to the University, the Institutional Code is R-5820.  The School of Nursing accepts GRE scores that are more than 5 years old. If you have your 'older' scores, you may submit a copy of the Student Report. 


A competitive candidate for admission to the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner MSN program would have the following at the time of application:

  • BSN GPA of 3.25 or higher;
  • More than one year of relevant, full-time RN experience (preferably in psychiatric nursing);
  • Active member of a national nursing organization (preferably in psychiatric / mental health);
  • Exhibiting leadership behaviors in a nursing practice setting (mentoring other nurses, participating in unit or hospital-based leadership teams, engaged in practice change and evidence-based practice projects);
  • Possess a clinical certification, or on pathway to obtaining one or more certifications;
  • Excellent writing skills.

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For More Information

For additional information on admission to and programs of study at the UVA School of Nursing, please complete our online inquiry form. You are also welcome to call the Office of Admissions and Student Services at (434) 924-0141 / (888) 283-8703.

Questions on admissions and financial aid should be directed to Clay Hysell, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid,