Manage clients with mental illness as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Why Should I Study Psychiatric Mental Health?

Be a part of the solution for the critical shortage in mental health services as a skilled Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). Not only does this career path provide immediate job opportunities, you will positively impact staggering statistics such as: 

  • 1 in 6 people in the United States have a mental health condition
  • 56 percent of American adults do not receive needed mental health treatment
  • Half of all state and federal prisoners show signs of significant mental illness
  • Colorado is ranked 6th for suicide in the United States
  • Less than 1/3 of Coloradans receive needed care, especially in rural and frontier counties

With a post-master's certificate from Regis University, you will gain the skills required to help heal a vulnerable population in need.

What will I learn in the PMHNP Certificate program?

Regis University provides an experiential education for hands-on learning in and out of the classroom. Preparation will cover psychotherapeutic skills development and medication management. This includes assessment, diagnosis, planning, intervention and treatment of clients with mental illnesses using a variety of techniques for individuals, groups and families.

Integrated into your education and practice are classes and studies on:

  • Behavioral health
  • Neurobiology
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychiatric assessment and diagnosis using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
  • Psychosocial issues, including those related to development and trauma
  • Advanced psychopharmacology
  • Evidence-based treatment strategies (pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic)
  • Care and treatment of individuals across the lifespan
  • Care of mental illnesses that are comorbid with general medical illnesses
  • Legal and ethical concepts
  • Cultural implications

The program emphasizes clinical experiences and simulation by employing a state-of-the-art counseling laboratory. This lab provides a safe environment for the practice of therapeutic communication, intervention and psychotherapy with direct supervision and feedback by faculty. Opportunities exist for students to interact and collaborate with psychiatrists, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and the interprofessional health care team.

Regis University believes in social justice. We uphold the Jesuit values of respecting the human dignity of all individuals, caring for the whole person and serving the most marginalized members of our society. By becoming a certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner with us, you will not only learn the practical tools needed to succeed, but will also explore the moral and cultural facets of practice to be able to serve others to the utmost of your ability.

Those that complete this specialization will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. They are able to enroll on the Colorado Advanced Practice Registry maintained by the Colorado Board of Nursing and will be eligible to obtain Prescriptive Authority (RXN) in the state.

Which campus will I Study at and how rigorously?

All classes are taught in person at the Northwest Denver Campus. The program starts annually in the summer and takes two years to complete. Executing 630 clinical hours is required.

Program Requirements

NR 651 Professional Integration (3 semester hours)
NR 670 Psychopharmacology for Advanced Practice in Psychiatric Nursing (3 semester hours)
NR 671 Psychiatric Assessment and Psychopathology Across Life Span (4 semester hours)
NR 672 Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice I (5 semester hours)
NR 673 Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice II (5 semester hours)
NR 674 Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice III (5 semester hours)
*NR 605  Pathophysiology for Advanced Practice (3 semester hours) 
*NR 607 Pharmacology for Advanced Practice (3 semester hours) 
*NR 630  Advanced Practice Assessment (4 semester hours) 

In addition to course requirements, students are expected to complete 630 clinical hours. 

Please note recent course requirement updates may not be reflected in the list above. For further information contact the Office of Admissions at 303.458.4344.

*These courses are prerequisites for the program. If these courses were completed in your master's degree, they are not required to obtain the certification. Please call the Office of Admissions at the number above to determine your specific coursework requirements.


Regis University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and Regis University’s Loretto Heights School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Those that complete this specialization will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. They are eligible for enrollment on the Colorado Advanced Practice Registry maintained by the Colorado Board of Nursing and will be eligible to obtain Prescriptive Authority (RXN) in the state.


To learn more about tuition and fees, the median debt for students who completed the program and other information regarding gainful employment, click the link below:

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certificate program

How to Apply

Post-Master's certificate, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialization

  • A master's degree in nursing from an NLN or AACN-CCNE accredited program, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75

Additional Eligibility Requirements for Certificates

  • An active, unrestricted or unencumbered Registered Nurse (RN) license in the state in which your clinical/practicum experience will be completed.
  • Completion of an undergraduate statistics course with a grade of "C" or better.
  • Current American Heart Association (AHA) Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification for Health Care Providers.
  • Eligibility for this program is pending the successful completion of a drug screening and a criminal background check. View the complete list of disqualifying offenses.
  • A complete health history and physical examination record indicating the student is physically able to meet the objectives of the program and is appropriately immunized is required after admission to the program.
  • If English is not your native/first language, you must meet either of the following language proficiency requirements:
    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) – Internet-based: Minimum score of 82 (24 Writing, 20 Speaking, 22 Reading, 16 Listening), Computer-based: Minimum score of 213. Regis University's TOEFL code is 4656.
    • Applicants that have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at an accredited US institution do not need to provide a TOEFL score.

All applicants must apply through the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS). Review the NursingCAS site and the information below for details on how to apply. All application materials are sent to NursingCAS directly. Your application must be submitted to NursingCAS by the deadline date.

It is in the applicant’s best interest to initiate the application no less than a month prior to the application deadline. It is the responsibility of the applicant to plan ahead to ensure that all parts of the application arrive by the specified deadline and to monitor their application status to ensure that all parts of the application arrive on time (transcripts and letters of recommendation, along with all other components of the application).

NursingCAS (Select the On Campus Option)

Application Opens: September 1
Application Deadline: January 1
Program Start Date: Summer Semester (May)

  1. Submit the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS) application online at  Search for Regis University or filter by 'On Campus' delivery format. Applicants to the Post-Master's Certificate complete the Psychiatric Mental Health (PMHNP) application and select the Post Masters Certificate option in the question section of the application.
  2. Submit three recommendation forms directly through NursingCAS. Select professional and/or academic references that can address your academic, professional, and leadership potential. One recommendation must be from your current employer or supervisor. The recommendation forms provided must be used. 
  3. Submit (upload) a one-page typewritten statement (double-spaced) that addresses the essay question per the NursingCAS application instructions.
  4. Submit (upload) a current resume noting professional and volunteer experiences and relevant healthcare certifications.
  5. Request official university and/or college transcripts to be sent directly to NursingCAS. Official transcripts should not to be sent directly to Regis University. Arrange for NursingCAS to receive a separate official transcript from each regionally accredited U.S. university and/or college you attended. NursingCAS will not verify your application until all official transcripts and other required materials are received. See NursingCAS for Transcript Request Forms. 
  6. A personal interview may be required.

Materials in support of an application for admission become the property of Regis University and will not be provided or returned to an applicant.


  • The PMHNP program has a competitive admissions process where students are selected based on a number of factors, including cumulative GPA, current resume, three recommendation forms, work experience, and the personal statement. A personal interview may be required.


Due to regulatory requirements in the states listed below, Regis University’s Loretto Heights School of Nursing is unable to accept or enroll students who intend to reside and/or do clinical in any of these states while pursuing RN-BSN, MS Nursing, Post-Graduate Certificate, or DNP education through any of our distance learning formats. View all State Authorization details.

Louisiana | New York | North Dakota | Oregon (APRN only)