Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Practitioner (NP)

Post-Master's Certificate

The University of Virginia School of Nursing prepares for the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner role at both the MSN and certificate levels. The certificate program in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing emphasizes the preparation of nurses for advanced practice roles in the care of adults with acute or chronic mental health psychiatric deviations in a variety of practice 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.

Note: Students in the post-master's programs at the University of Virginia are ineligible for scholarship assistance or student loans. University aid is restricted to those who are enrolled in degree programs (MSN, DNP, PhD, etc).

Distance Learning

The courses for the PMH program are taught in Charlottesville on Thursdays. These seminars are also broadcast live via the internet (beginning in the fall 2008 semester). Students who live at a distance from the University can participate in these seminars from their home communities. Clinical practice could also be satisfied in your home community. The advanced practice core classes (graduate pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, and APN role) are taught 'live' at the University only. Students could come to Grounds to take these courses, or transfer them in from another approved university.

Note:  There are only six spaces per year available to distance learning PMHNP students; the technology used for the classroom instruction can only accommodate a limited number of remote users. Applicants interested in the distance learning option should indicate this in the goals statement part of the application.

Students with a MSN in PMH nursing generally complete the program part-time in 12-15 months. Those with a MSN in another clinical area generally complete the program in 21 months.

Please note: The University is in transition with establishing regulations to support out-of-state students for distance-learning.  If you are a non-Virginian student interested in enrolling in a distance-learning program, please contact the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at to see if you would be eligible to enroll.

Transfer Credit:
Applicants who are master’s prepared and currently certified as a nurse practitioner will not be required to re-take advanced pharmacology (GNUR 6020), advanced pathophysiology (GNUR 6010),  and advanced health assessment (GNUR 6025)—the “3 Ps”—or APRN Role Acquisition and Transition (GNUR 6031 & 6032). The academic history of other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) will be examined on a case-by-case basis. Any of the 3 Ps not showing on the applicant’s transcript will need to be completed in order to receive a post-master’s certification.

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


Clinical placement sites are arranged in a variety of inpatient and community care settings appropriate to the interests and learning needs of the student. Those who have completed an MSN in PMH Nursing take 250 or more additional clinical hours for PMHNP preparation (GNUR 7254). Those who have an MSN in a clinical area other than PMH will complete 500 clinical hours for NP preparation as GNUR 7251 (fall) and GNUR 7253 or GNUR 7254 (spring).

All clinical/practicum activities are generally conducted within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Clinical/practice activities may be conducted in a different state as long as that state participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. A list of participating states can be accessed at


Graduates of the PMHNP MSN 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 certificate program, applicants must submit a completed application and:

  • Have a master's degree in nursing from a nationally accredited school (prerequite or co-requisite)
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in undergraduate and graduate study
  • Hold an unencumbered RN license for the state where you intend to do your practica
  • Have worked at least one year fulltime as a RN
  • 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
  • Be available for an interview if requested
  • International applicants have additional admissions requirements

Technology requirements: All graduate nursing students are required to have a laptop. Students in the advanced practice programs (CNS and NP) 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

Downloads & Links

For More Information

For additional information on admission to and programs of study at the UVA School of Nursing, please complete our inquiry form.

Questions on admissions and financial aid: contact the Office of Admissions & Student Services, 434-924-2743 or 888-283-8703.