Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner


Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners provide primary mental health care to patients seeking mental health services in a wide range of settings. This includes the assessment, diagnosis, and management of mental health problems and psychiatric disorders. The program allows for a primary focus on either children or adults.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners work in a variety of settings, including inpatient, emergency and community-based mental health services. They also provide services in settings such as primary care clinics, forensic settings, schools, substance abuse centers and recovery programs.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) provide a full range of primary mental health care services including biopsychosocial assessment and diagnosis of patients with mental illness. Treatment modalities include both medication and psychotherapeutic management.

Note: the Clinical Nurse Specialist option is no longer offered in this MS Specialty Area.

Program Focus

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program prepares students to respond to the mental health needs of persons across the lifespan. Students may select to complete their clinical residency with a specific age group, such as children and youth, or clinical population.

Coursework includes foundational coursework for all advanced practice roles, including comprehensive health assessment, pathophysiology, pharmacology and health promotion. Psychiatric nursing coursework includes psychiatric assessment and symptom management; psychopharmacology; individual, group and family therapy; and human development.

Post-Master's Study

There are also opportunities for post-master's study leading to Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification for those who are already graduate-prepared nurses.

Preparing for certification will generally require four to six quarters of study depending on the applicant's background.

Credentialing & Licensure

Graduates may apply for American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) national certification as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. For information about ANCC PMHNP certification, see the web site for details.

For licensure in the State of California as a Nurse Practitioner, details are available online at the, the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) web site.

Student Stipend Opportunities

UCSF School of Nursing Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner students are eligible for several sources of financial support that are unique for PMHNP students. Students should consider their goals for their educational program and early career when considering which sources of financial support to apply for, since the programs listed below require commitment to both clinical training during your graduate program and post-graduation payback service in specific types of health services. More.


For information on the program please contact:
Michele M. Keating, Program Analyst