Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)


The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty:

  • Advances and transforms psychiatric nursing care through education and research;
  • Empowers students, clinicians and our communities to provide public service with a focus on promoting diversity and health equity; and
  • Advocates for advanced practice psychiatric nursing leadership at local, national and global levels.

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 and co-occurring disorders. Treatment modalities include both medication and psychotherapeutic management. PMHNPs work in a variety of settings, including inpatient, emergency and community-based mental health services. Our students are provided the opportunity to complete clinical placements across the Bay Area, which have included: Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, UCSF Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, the VA, San Francisco Department of Public Health, Sutter Health, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and Marin County Mental Health Services.

This specialty prepares students to respond to the mental health needs of persons across the lifespan. In addition to foundational coursework for all advanced practice roles, PMHNP coursework includes psychiatric assessment and symptom management, psychopharmacology, and therapy modalities.

Announcing New Online Post-Master's Certificate Program: With California facing an urgent and growing shortage of mental health professionals, the UCSF School of Nursing, in collaboration with the UC Davis and UCLA Schools of Nursing, has launched a new remote-access certificate that will prepare 300 psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners by 2025. To learn more, see the “Post-Master’s Certificate Program” section below.

Certifications and Licenses

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 ANCC website for details.

For licensure in the State of California as a nurse practitioner, details are available on the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) website.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

For Master of Science and Post-Master's Students (non-Nurse Practitioners, non-Clinical Nurse Specialists and non-Certified Nurse Midwives)  
Is RN experience required? No. However, one year is preferred.
Other admissions requirements specific to this specialty Mandatory in-person interviews are required.
Application deadline February 1, 2021
For Post-Master's or Post-Doctoral (Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists or Certified Nurse Midwives)  
Is NP licensure in California required? Yes
Application deadline for 12-month/hybrid Post-Master's Certificate Applications will open Sept. 1, 2020 and close March 1, 2021
For Master's Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN) Students  
Does this Master of Science advanced nursing practice specialty admit MEPN students after completion of their pre-licensure year? Yes


View the sample curriculum for this two-year Master of Science specialty. Please note that courses are subject to change.

Post-Master's Certificate Program

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

  • One-Year Hybrid Training With Remote-Access Education, Three In-Person Sessions and Regional Clinical Training: The UCSF School of Nursing, in collaboration with the UC Davis and UCLA Schools of Nursing, has launched a new online certificate that will prepare 300 psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) by 2025.  Applications will open Sept. 1, 2020 and close March 1, 2021 for January 2022 entry. Learn about the format, admissions requirements and how to apply.
For Post-Master's or Post-Doctoral NPs, CNSs and CNMs  
Length of online program 3 to 4 quarters
Start date January 2022
End date December 2022
On-campus requirement (*subject to change) Four days/quarter*

  • On-Campus )ption: Applicants who are not yet nurse practitioners will generally require six to seven quarters to complete the post-master's requirement for certification, depending on the applicant's background. Classes for this option are held on campus.
For Post-Master's Students (Non-NPs, Non-CNSs, Non-CNMs)  
Length of program Two years, including summer between years
Clinical training Minimum of 540 hours or more to meet competencies. Students must be prepared to travel to training sites.
Beginning quarter Fall 2021
Ending quarter Spring 2023

Learn more about our Post-Master's Certificate Program, including admissions requirements and how to apply.


Rosalind De Lisser, MS, FNP, PMHNP-BC
Annesa Flentje, PhD
Deborah Johnson, DNP, PMHNP-BC
Chelsea Landolin, MS, RN, NP
Cherry Leung, PhD, RN
Amanda Ling, MS, PMHNP-BC
Katerina Melino, MS, PMHNP-BC
Andrew Penn, MS, ANP, PMHNP-BC
Beth Phoenix, RN, PhD, FAAN
Matt Tierney, MS, NP, FAAN
Sandra Weiss, PhD, RN, FAAN

Contact Us

Staff Contact: Michele Keating
[email protected]
(415) 476-1381

Specialty Coordinator: Rosalind De Lisser
[email protected]

Specialty Coordinator: Katerina Melino
[email protected]