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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner


The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program provides educational content and clinical experiences that focus on complex psychiatric nursing assessment and interventions for acute and chronic mental health conditions in children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. The curriculum has an emphasis on holistic care, integrated mental health, cultural sensitivity, and substance treatment. Coursework includes psychotherapy, neurobiology, and psychopharmacology content for patients across the lifespan. The PMHNP faculty are experts in the field with a broad range of clinical and research expertise. There is a high demand for PMHNPs in Colorado and across the country. The PMHNP program prepares graduates to provide a full range of psychiatric services and work in variety of practice settings.

PMHNP Program Highlights

  • Online and blended coursework with on-campus intensives
  • Cohort model encourages student connections and community building
  • Clinical placements provided for students who live in the Denver metro area
  • PMHNP faculty are highly experienced with a broad range of practice specialties, successful research agendas, and mental health policy influence
  • Numerous Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Minority Fellows
  • Outstanding record of first-time pass rates on PMHNP ANCC national certification exam
  • Graduates are in high demand and find employment quickly

Plans of Study

*Additional Certificate Information Post-Graduate Certificate Information

A post-graduate certificate is available in this specialty.​

Gainful Employment and Program Statistics for Post-Graduate Certificate

For more information regarding graduation rates, the median debt of students completing our certificate programs and other important information, please visit the University of Colorado Denver Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.​​​​​​​​

Nursing Post-Graduate Certificate – Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner ​Gainful Employment Disclosure


How long will it take to complete the PMHNP program?

The PMHNP post-graduate certificate is 29 credits and typically completed in 4 semesters (1.5 years). The PMHNP MSN program is 52 credits and typically completed in 7 semesters (2.5 years). The PMHNP DNP program is 64 credits and typically completed in 10 semesters (4.5 years).

Do the PMHNP programs have a clinical requirement?

Yes. The PMHNP requires 14 credits of clinical experience which equals 630 contact hours.

Are the PMHNP programs offered completely online or in class?

The courses are offered in an online format with some classes having required in-class intensives.

Will I be required to come to Colorado?

Yes, there are required on-campus intensives for several courses. Students living outside of Colorado will need to find their own faculty-approved clinical placements. It is advised that students contact student affairs to discuss their specific state requirements prior to applying to the program.

Will this program prepare me to sit for the ANCC certification as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner?

Yes, our courses provide you with the knowledge and skills to take the ANCC certification examination for the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Lifespan) (PMHNP-BC).

Can I take a course before I apply?

Yes, you may take up to 12 semester credits as a non-degree student prior to being accepted to the program. You must meet all prerequisite requirements of the course. Non-degree students register on a space available basis during open enrollment just prior to the beginning of the semester. Students enrolled as non-degree seeking are not eligible for financial aid. Please see the Non-degree program for more information.

Are there any expectations outside of the classroom?

The PMHNP program is rigorous, challenging, and very rewarding. During the clinical courses, it is strongly recommended that students do not work or work as little as possible.

The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty (NONPF) has published core competencies in each specialty for students to achieve. Students may need to increase their clinical credits if they do not achieve these competencies within the required clinical credits.

All students are required to have a current and unencumbered RN license, current immunizations, and basic life support.


What is Urban Underserved Track?

The Urban Underserved Track (previously CU-UNITE) is a longitudinal track started in 2010 by Dr. Allegra Melillo. The Urban Underserved Track (UUT) is designed for students passionate about: working with ethnically and racially diverse populations, serving individuals with limited access to health care and for those interested in working to eliminate inequities in health. The track accepts medical, nurse practitioner and physician assistant students from the School of Medicine, College of Nursing Nurse Practitioner program and the Physician Assistant (CHA/PA) program.

Why should I consider it?

If you are passionate about working with ethnically and racially diverse populations, serving the uninsured and those with limited access to health care in urban areas, then UUT is for you. Students completing the UUT curriculum will have a thorough understanding of healthcare disparities and inequities, the multifaceted role of the health care provider in urban communities, and knowledge about health issues of specific populations of patients in urban areas.

For more information, visit the Urban Underserved Track page.​​​​​