Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program (DNP)

Program Description

The Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner 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 program. 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 10-12 students is accepted into the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program each fall semester.

Length of Program

The Psychiatric/Mental Health DNP program 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 two (3) years, including a summer semester.

The Utah State Board of Nursing requires 3000 supervised post-graduate hours for Psychiatric APRNs.

Studying at a Distance

Some courses are available online or via distance, but this program cannot be completed online.

Certification Eligibility

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.

ANCC:

http://www.nursecredentialing.org/FamilyPsychMentalHealthNP

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. Admitted students must also meet the program-specific prerequisites.

Admission to the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program is limited and selective. The College of Nursing graduate programs admit students once a year. Admission cannot be guaranteed to all individuals who meet the minimum requirements.

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.

  • Submission of a completed College of Nursing Graduate Program Application by the January 15 deadline.
  • Evidence of completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from a regionally accredited university or college acknowledged by the University of Utah Graduate Admissions Office.
  • Verification of licensure as an RN or APRN in at least one of the jurisdictions of National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • A personal interview

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.

Statistics

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:

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.

Entrance Exams

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), if applicable:

  • NOT required for applicants with a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher
  • REQUIRED for applicants with a cumulative GPA below 3.20; score cannot be in excess of five (5) years old

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- CLOSED

Scholarship Applications for New Applicants are Due January 15, 2015.

The College of Nursing offers many funding opportunities for Nursing and Gerontology graduate students.  There is a separate application for scholarships. You must submit a scholarship application by the deadline in order to be considered for funding.

To apply for scholarships and other funding opportunities such as TA and RA positions, visit the College of Nursing Graduate Scholarships webpage.  

DNP Program of Study

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.

DNP Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner 2014 Program of Study (PDF)

Note: The Utah State Board of Nursing requires 3000 supervised post-graduate hours for Psychiatric/Mental Health APRNs.

For additional questions about the program, including application and admission requirements, contact:

Arminka Zeljkovic
Graduate Advisor, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program

Email: arminka.zeljkovic@nurs.utah.edu
Phone: (801) 581-8198