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Master of Science in Nursing and Post Master’s
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

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Program Quick Facts

  • MSN Admit Terms: Fall, Spring, and Summer
  • Post-Master's Admit Terms: Fall or Summer
  • Credit Requirement: 41 for the MSN; 29-30 for the Post-Master's
  • Enrollment Mode: Curriculum includes both online and on-campus courses; all students are required to attend class one day a month for testing and case simulation. 
  • Enrollment Level: Complete in 5-7 semesters
  • Estimated Total Tuition Costs: $15,744

The Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program prepares graduates to care for individuals, groups, and families across the lifespan in a variety of settings. There is a strong emphasis on psychotherapeutic techniques and psychopharmacotherapy. The clinical component provides interprofessional experiences working with other healthcare providers in caring for individuals and their families with psychiatric conditions.

PMHNP students at UTHealth participate in 600 precepted clinical hours that prepare them to be skilled practitioners. Graduates are eligible to take the PMHNP certification examination offered by the American Nurse Credentialing Center.

The School offers both a Master of Science in Nursing and also a Post-Master’s certificate. The Post-Master’s program is customized depending upon previously completed graduate coursework. Students admitted to the PMHNP Post-Master’s program will create a degree plan with an academic advisor.

An academic advisor is assigned at the time of admission. The student and the academic advisor together will complete a degree plan to specify which courses are to be taken to complete the degree requirements.

The program can be completed in as few as five (5) semesters (full-time), or up to seven (7) semesters as a part-time student. Students seeking the five semester option should apply for summer entry. 

Sample Curriculum

General MSN Core Courses 
N6104W Nursing Informatics: Introduction to Concepts & Health Information Technologies 2
N6106W Nursing Research & Epidemiology for Evidence-Based Practice  3
N6105W Evaluation and Application of Research  3
Advanced Practice Core Courses
N5529W Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nursing  3
N6151W Advanced Pathophysiology 3
N6152W Advanced, Physical Examination/Differential Diagnosis 2
N6152B Advanced Physical Examination/Differential Diagnosis Lab 1
N6551W Diagnostic Tests and Procedures 2
N6165W Advanced Practice Role in Population Health 3
N6154W Transition to Advanced Practice Nursing  2
Track Courses 
N6628W Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner I 3
N6628B Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Clinical I 3
N6629W Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner II 3
N6629B Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Clinical II 3
N6750 Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Preceptorship 5
Total Credits 41

Note: 1 semester hour of credit is earned for:

  • 4 clock hours per week of clinical experience,
  • 1 clock hour per week of lecture, or
  • 2 clock hours per week of seminar.

Consult the catalog for course descriptions, details about preceptorships and fellowship experiences, methods of teaching, and prerequisites. Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth reserves the right to withdraw courses at any time, to change fees or tuition, calendar, curriculum, degree requirements, graduation procedures, and any other requirements affecting students. Changes will become effective whenever the proper authorities so determine and will apply to both prospective students and those already enrolled.

Student Support

Each student will be assigned an academic advisor at the time of admission to the program. The student and the academic advisor will complete a degree plan to specify which courses will be taken to complete the degree requirements. Degree plan policy and procedures may be found in MSN Program Policy G5320 (pdf).

Additional details on preceptorships are available for review in the Preceptor Guidelines (pdf). This document provides an outline of criteria for selection of preceptors and clinical sites, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the student, preceptor, faculty, and clinical site in the precepted clinical experience.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Cizik School of Nursing is proud of its commitment to graduate education through the offering of merit- and need-based scholarships and grants. The application process is competitive and begins during the application review cycle. For more information, please visit the scholarship information page on the website.

Admissions Process

Prospective students interested in applying must follow the MSN or Post-Master’s admission requirements. To be considered for the PMHNP, students must also:

  • include at least one faculty recommendation (out of the three required) from your BSN program. 
  • have RN experience in a psychiatric clinical setting

PMHNP FAQ

Q: Does the work experience have to be completed in full prior to the application deadline? 
A: This is generally true; however, each file is subjectively reviewed by the track director, who can make exceptions if only a small amount of work experience is missing.

Q: How long will it take me to complete the program?
A: Full-time students typically complete in five (5) semesters while part-time students complete in 6-7 semesters.

Q: How are clinicals arranged?
A: Clinicals are arranged collaboratively between student and advisor. The School has already arranged many sites; however, if location is an issue, the student and advisor work together to find a suitable site.

Q: Can I work?
A: The School does not prevent students from working; however, students who are enrolling full-time are encouraged to evaluate their school/work/life balance before making that decision. Some students at the School work full-time and go to school full-time; however, most working students will choose the part-time option.

Q: How many times a week should I expect to be on campus?
A: For the Psych/Mental Health program, you will be on campus one day a month for roughly 3-4 hours. This time is used for testing and case simulation. The time of the courses will vary based on class and computer lab availability. 

Q: What times of the day are the clinicals?
A: Clinical contact hours take place Monday-Friday, typically between 7am-6pm, because of primary care and outpatient facility hours of operation; however, certain clinical sites have evening and weekend hours. When students reach the clinical courses, they should anticipate being in clinicals 2-3 days a week.

Q: Who employs PMHNPs?
A: PMHNPs can be employed at mental health clinics, rehabilitation centers, emergency departments, correctional settings, partial hospitalization programs, psychiatric hospitals, inpatient mental health facilities, private practice settings, state mental health departments, primary care clinics, school or college settings, telepsychiatry opportunities, substance abuse and recovery programs, child and adolescent assessment centers, and mental health crisis clinics.

Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth reserves the right to withdraw courses at any time, to change fees or tuition, calendar, curriculum, degree requirements, graduation procedures, and any other requirements affecting students. Changes will become effective whenever the proper authorities so determine and will apply to both prospective students and those already enrolled.

Accreditation

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program, doctor of nursing practice program, and post graduate APRN certificate programs at the Cizik School of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org).

Track Directors

Kelly D Kearney, DNP, RN, PMHNP-BC

Coordinator, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program Track (Email)
Assistant Professor