Post-master's certificate


  • Graduates are eligible for the PMHNP certification exam administered by ANCC
  • Application deadline: April 1, 2021 for fall 2021 entry; December 1, 2021 for fall 2022 entry

The psychiatric-mental health nursing track emphasizes the preparation of advanced practice nurses to promote and maintain health and to prevent, detect and treat acute and chronic mental illness. Addressing the needs of underserved, rural populations is highlighted throughout the program.


Admission Requirements

To be considered for the post-master's certificate, applicants must:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Possess an active state license and certification to practice as an advanced practice registered nurse at program start
  • Have a master's degree in nursing from a nationally accredited school (CCNE or ACEN)
  • Have completed three separate comprehensive graduate-level courses in: advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, and advanced pharmacology
  • Hold an unencumbered RN license in the US at the time of application.  All matriculating students who are not active-duty military nurses must have a Virginia RN license before the first day of classes.
  • Have at least 1 year of full-time RN practice
  • Submit three satisfactory recommendations (academic, professional, and clinical), one of which should be from an APRN
  • Submit a resume or CV
  • Be available for an interview, if requested
  • International applicants have additional admissions requirements

GRE: we no longer require GRE scores as a component of the application.

Financial Aid

Click here for tuition information.

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


Building on the theoretical knowledge and clinical experience of the BSN-prepared nurse, the PMHNP seminars focus 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 a wide range of psychiatric, mental health disorders.

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.

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 Roles (GNUR 6031). 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 certificate.


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 7254 (spring).

All clinical/practicum activities are generally conducted within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Clinical/practice activities may be conducted outside Virginia if the University is authorized to place students in that state and pending faculty approval.

Plans of Study

Technology Requirements

All graduate nursing students are required to have a laptop; information about these requirements will be sent to enrolling students before classes begin.

Please see the School of Nursing Computing Policies for more guidance on laptop ownership requirements.

State Authorization and Professional Licensure Disclosures

As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement, the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)).  

Upon completion of this certificate, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state.

Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).

The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record is the official repository for academic program requirements.