Graduate Certificate in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMH-NP) Graduate Certificate is available to nurses who already have a graduate degree in nursing and are certified as advanced nurse practitioners in fields other than psychiatric-mental health. The program expands their scope of practice to assist them to acquire the theory, knowledge and skills needed to provide psychiatric-mental health services to families. The curriculum includes didactic, seminar and clinical hours. Graduates of the PMH-NP option are eligible to write the national certification exam for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (across the lifespan) offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This examination is given nationwide throughout the year. The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), formerly known as the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326; 404-975-5000).

Scheduling of Courses

The PMH-NP clinical courses are in a hybrid format with some short face-to-face intensives required (usually 1-2 campus visits/semester). Additional course work is held throughout the semester at scheduled times, with distance students participating live via software programs such as Skype or Collaborate. All PMH-NP clinical must be completed in the state of Alaska and in most instances, clinical is done in the students’ own community. Decisions for clinical sites are based on there being adequate experiences and preceptors locally that allow the student to meet the course and program outcomes. Thus, it is possible for students who reside in Alaska, outside of Anchorage, to take advantage of the opportunity to pursue a graduate certificate at UAA. In addition, all students have the opportunity to take advantage of clinical learning opportunities throughout the state, including both urban and rural settings.

Admission Requirements

Satisfy Admission Requirements for Graduate Certificates.

School of Nursing Admission Deadlines

Information on admission deadlines can be found on the SON website. The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMH-NP)  program admits once a year and has a specific deadline for the application.

School of Nursing Admission Requirements

To be eligible for the PMH-NP Graduate Certificate a candidate must have the following:

  • Graduate degree in nursing (master’s or doctoral) from a school of nursing accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
  • Registered professional nurse license in the state of Alaska. License must remain active and unencumbered while in the School of Nursing (SON) graduate program. There are different reasons for a license to be encumbered and some may not preclude admission to the program. Students with encumbered licenses should meet with the graduate chair to determine program eligibility.
  • Active unencumbered license as an advanced practice nurse in the state of Alaska. License must remain active and unencumbered while in the graduate certificate program.
  • Documentation of national certification as an advanced nurse practitioner.
  • Meet with faculty advisor to develop an academic plan of study based on a gap analysis (see SON website for advisor contact information).

School of Nursing Admission Process

The UAA School of Nursing application process can be found on the SON website.

Additional School of Nursing Requirements

Once admitted to the PMH-NP Graduate Certificate program, students will receive instructions for submission of the following requirements*:

  • Documentation of continuous current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for adults, infants and children.
  • Evidence of satisfactory health status, including immunity to chicken pox, rubella, rubeola, and hepatitis A and B (by titer); documentation of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) immunization within the past 10 years; annual PPD skin test or health examination indicating freedom from active tuberculosis; documentation of an annual HIV test (results not required); and
  • Results of the SON-sanctioned national-level criminal background check.

The above requirements may change based on the demands of clinical facilities. Please check with the SON for the most recent list of requirements.

Students are required to provide their own transportation to clinical sites. They are also responsible for their portion of the cost of audio-conferencing. Students must have access to a personal computer and reasonable Internet connectivity. Prior to entry into the nursing program, students are expected to have graduate level writing and American Psychological Association (APA) referencing skills, as well as basic computer and typing skills, for example:

  • Word processing,
  • Sending and receiving e-mail with attachments,
  • Accessing and navigating the Internet/World Wide Web,
  • Basic understanding of hardware, software and operating systems.

PMH-NP Clinical Requirements

Alaska clinical site decisions are based on the availability of qualified preceptors and agencies that provide adequate experiences so the student can meet the course and program outcomes. Whenever possible we assign sites in or near a student's home community. Student clinical hours must follow the preceptors' work schedules (usually M-F). All students are encouraged to take advantage of clinical learning opportunities throughout Alaska in both urban and rural settings. 

Academic Requirements

Students enrolled in the PMH-NP Graduate Certificate program must make continuous progress toward completion of the certificate and remain in good standing with the School of Nursing (SON). A detailed schematic of the SON good standing policy can be found in the SON Graduate Handbook. Noncompliance with the good standing policy and academic progress expectations will result in probation and possible dismissal from the program. To remain in good standing students must:

  • Maintain professional and academic standards always.
  • Earn a minimum 3.00 (B) in all required coursework.
  • Maintain continuous enrollment each fall and spring semester until certificate is granted.

Graduation Requirements

Program Requirements

The program requirements are based on what type of nurse practitioner certification the individual already has; additional coursework may be required based on the transcript gap analysis that is done by the academic advisor.

NSG A670Advanced Practice Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing I5
NSG A671Advanced Practice Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing II5
NSG A672Advanced Practice Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing III5
NSG A673Advanced Practice Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing IV5
NSG A611Psychopharmacology for Advanced Nursing3
Total Credits23

A total of 23 credits is required for the certificate.*


Students need to have had an advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology and health assessment course in their original nursing master’s program; if their program did not include some or all of these courses, they may need to be taken for the graduate certificate.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

The graduate is prepared to:

  • Engage in scholarly inquiry, including evaluation and application of evidence-based research to advanced nursing practice or nursing leadership.
  • Practice in a manner that incorporates ethical, legal, and professional standards for advanced nursing practice or nursing leadership.
  • Collaborate across disciplines and in partnership with communities, groups, families and individuals through culturally sensitive practice.
  • Demonstrate competence and caring in the professional nurse role to serve as a leader, provider, and educator in the health care system.
  • Articulate a plan for self-directed, lifelong learning and professional development.