Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track
Specialty Track Description
The Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) specialty track of the DNP program provides an academic base of neuro-biological science and psychosocial theory, while emphasizing respect for person, family, community and culture. Students receive intensive clinical supervision and mentored experience while learning and integrating interpersonal skills that are foundational to psychotherapy practice with individuals, groups and families across the lifespan. Psychiatric assessment, mental health diagnoses, comprehensive treatment planning and prescriptive practice are important components of the clinical specialty. Graduates have the knowledge and skills essential for promoting, supporting and facilitating, optimal mental health through compassionate client-centered care. Students are well prepared for National Board Certification and State Licensure as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).
A cohort of approximately 20 students is accepted into the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty track each fall semester.
In 2015, the PMHNP specialty track received a generous grant from the Veterans Administration Academic Partnerships in Graduate Education (VANAP-GE) program which provides support for a larger cohort, implementation of curriculum innovation, increased clinical placement traineeships, and development of a post-graduate residency curriculum at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System.
Length of Program
The Psychiatric/Mental Health specialty track is eight (8) semesters in length, requiring 84 credit hours in didactic and clinical coursework. It is available only as a full-time program (9+ credit hours per semester) and is completed in three (3) years, including two summer semesters.
The Utah State Board of Nursing requires 3000 supervised post-graduate hours for Psychiatric APRNs.
Studying at a Distance
The Psychiatric-Mental Health Practitioner Specialty Track is available to students living in the Intermountain West. Participation may not be possible in all areas. Utah residents living more than 60 miles from the University of Utah are able to participate in the distance option.
Read more information on Distance Delivery.
Graduates are prepared to sit for the national certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Upon successful completion of the exam candidates are eligible to become certified or licensed to practice.
Applications are reviewed by both the University of Utah Office of Graduate Admissions and the College of Nursing. Successful applicants must meet the DNP program minimum requirements, and be accepted by, both the Graduate School and the College of Nursing.
Admission to the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty track is limited and selective. The College of Nursing graduate degree programs admit students once a year. Admission cannot be guaranteed to all individuals who meet the minimum requirements.
Applicants must meet the minimum admission requirements set by the University of Utah Graduate School.
The following are the minimum requirements needed to apply for a DNP degree program at the College of Nursing.
Required Prerequisite Courses
Prerequisite courses require a B grade or better and may be completed during the admission process. We strongly recommend that, when possible, applicants have their prerequisite courses completed before applying to the program, or while they are in the application process. It is not recommended that you wait until the summer semester before you begin the program, if you are admitted. If you take a course during the summer semester before beginning the program, it must be at the University of Utah.
If you took a statistics course over 3 years ago (counted back from the start of your graduate program) then you are required to take a basic statistics course prior to starting the graduate program.
Examples of courses that fulfill this requirement at the University of Utah include:
The College of Nursing offers NURS 5550 Practical Statistics (3 credits) to help applicants meet this requirement. NURS 5550 is an online course, offered in Summer semester, that takes pragmatic approach to familiarize the student with the uses (and misuses) of statistics discussed in scientific journal articles, and prepares the incoming graduate student for material covered in more depth in future courses, such as Evidence-Based Practice and Epidemiology and Population Science.
This prerequisite course can be completed at the U of U as a non-matriculated student. Click here for application instructions.
Upper Division Physiology
If you graduated with your BS degree program in nursing over 5 years ago (counted back from the start of your graduate program) then you are required to take an upper division level* physiology course (e.g., NURS 5905 Clinical Physiology) prior to starting the graduate program.
If you graduated from a RN-BS program and did not take an upper division level* course in physiology or pathophysiology then you are required to take an upper division physiology course (e.g., NURS 5905 Clinical Physiology) prior to starting the graduate program.
*Upper division level = 3000 or higher
The College of Nursing offers NURS 5905 Clinical Physiology (2 credits) to help applicants meet this requirement. NURS 5905 is an online course, offered Spring and Summer semesters, that provides a review of basic physiology of the major organ systems and an introduction to current advanced topics in physiology. Applicants who have not completed this prerequisite can apply to the graduate program while in the process of taking the prerequisite courses.
Prerequisite courses can be completed at the U of U as a non-matriculated student. Click here for application instructions.
Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), if applicable:
English Proficiency Exams (TOEFL or IELTS only)
Evidence of English-language proficiency is required for applicants whose first language is not English. Applicants are required to submit results of either the Test of English Foreign Language or IELTS. Minimum score requirements for admission can be found at the University of Utah Office of Admissions.
Application deadline: January 15
Applications received after the deadline will not be reviewed. Applications are available fall of the previous year.
The College of Nursing strongly recommends that applicants first attend a College of Nursing Graduate Information Session before submitting their application.
APPLY TO THE GRADUATE PROGRAM - Is now OPEN
The Psychiatric/Mental Health program of study requires completion of the DNP core curriculum, Psychiatric/Mental Health specialty courses, a DNP capstone project and approximately 1000 hours of practicum and residency experience. Course descriptions can be found in the University of Utah General Catalog.
Note: The Utah State Board of Nursing requires 3000 supervised post-graduate hours for Psychiatric/Mental Health APRNs.