Certificate: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner


The Certificate: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program option offers registered nurses the opportunity to expand their scope of practice to include the care of individuals, families and groups with psychiatric and mental health needs.

Our lifespan curriculum is a synthesis of knowledge derived from nursing science, neuroscience, behavioral change theories, motivational theories, learning theories and other psychotherapeutic frameworks to provide a holistic perspective from which to assess, diagnose, treat, manage and evaluate acute and chronic mental illnesses.

You will learn about neuropsychopharmacology, interprofessional collaborative practice, crisis intervention, trauma-informed care, health policy, family systems theory, psychotherapy, group therapy, care of vulnerable populations, promotion of mental health and prevention of mental illness, substance use and co-occurring disorders, and other mental illnesses across the lifespan.


  • Develop and foster therapeutic relationships as a basis for the provision of holistic and compassionate care to individuals, families, and populations across the lifespan who are at risk of developing and/or have a psychiatric disorder or mental health problem.
  • Provide holistic, compassionate, and recovery-oriented care consistent with current legal, ethical and evidence-based standards of advanced practice psychiatric/mental health nursing to individuals, families, and populations across the lifespan.
  • Demonstrate cultural competence through the delivery of mental health care which recognizes and acknowledges the influence of culture and spiritual beliefs on health outcomes.
  • Engage in professional leadership skills to manage, integrate, and coordinate client care services across the continuum of care.
  • Collaborate and consult with other members of the interprofessional team to support improved health and enhanced quality of life for individuals, families, and populations across the lifespan experiencing psychiatric/mental health needs.
  • Implement strategies to promote health policies that improve mental health, prevent disease, reduce stigma, and improve access to care for individuals, families, and populations across the lifespan experiencing mental health needs.
  • Apply information technology and knowledge-based resources to manage data that informs clinical practice.
  • Synthesize theoretical, scientific, and clinical knowledge to promote health, prevent disease, and manage mental illnesses with pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for individuals, families, and populations across the lifespan.

Who Should Apply

If you are interested in serving patients with mental health needs, our Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) post-master’s certificate option is for you!



Fall 2022 Applications
Priority: TBA
Final: TBA



The Certificate: Psychiatric Mental health Nurse Practitioner program consists of 22 credit hours and 600 clinical hours. Questions about program requirements should be directed to the program director.

Program of Study


For full listing of courses and descriptions, please visit the University Bulletin.

Technology Requirements

Beginning fall 2018, each student admitted to the Certificate program is expected to own and have ready access to a laptop or tablet with basic productivity software for classroom use. View Policy.

Complete applications that are submitted by the priority deadline will be reviewed first. Applications do not have to be verified by the priority deadline, only completed and submitted. Questions? Contact the Office of Admissions at [email protected]

A completed application includes the following components:

  • Master’s degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Preferred scholastic GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Successful completion of graduate-level courses in pathophysiology, pharmacology, and advanced health assessment
  • An active RN license
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Current resumé/CV


  1. GW Nursing is subject to state authorization requirements in order to offer an approved nursing curriculum. View available states.


Students will complete a total of 600 clinical hours distributed over the course of the program. Clinical rotations begin with the first course, NURS 6245: Psychiatric/Mental Health Diagnostic Assessment Across the Lifespan.

Our certificate program’s online format allows practicing APRNs to advance their education while completing the course and clinical requirements in their own communities.

3 Great Reasons to Choose GW Nursing

Online Learning
These specialties are delivered in a hybrid format with online courses and some on-campus experiences for testing and training.
Flexible Format
Some specialties require you to complete a set number of clinical hours to complete the curriculum.
Exceptional Faculty
Our faculty members are nationally recognized leaders in nursing who actively engage and inspire students to improve global health care for all.

Frequently Asked Questions

On-campus requirements vary by program and specialty. Students enrolled in our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program spend the duration of the program on our Virginia Science and Technology Campus (VSTC) in Ashburn, Virginia.

Most graduate programs are delivered in a distance format with online courses and some on-campus experiences for testing and training, which typically take place in our state-of-the-art simulation facilities at VSTC. For example, nurse practitioner students are required to come to campus for Campus Learning and Skills Intensive (CLASI) when enrolled in NURS 6222 and for Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) during their second clinical course. For specific on-campus requirements for graduate programs, please visit the webpage for your respective specialty area of interest.

All nurse practitioner students are also required to complete an end of program skills assessment. During this final on-campus simulation-based learning event, students have an opportunity to showcase their assessment, diagnostic reasoning, and patient management skills.

Students enrolled in our Accelerated or Veteran Bachelor of Science in Nursing program may only attend the program on a full-time basis due to its accelerated format.

Students enrolled in our RN to BSN or RN to MSN programs may only enroll on a part-time basis.

Students enrolled in a graduate program have the ability to enroll in most tracks on a part-time basis. To review your program of study options, visit the MSN, DNP or certificate webpage in the specialty area of your choice. PhD applicants should contact the program director directly.

Our clinical placement model provides students with faculty and staff support to ensure clinical sites align with clinical course objectives and nurse practitioner (NP) competencies. Our approach includes a clinical placement team dedicated to processing legal documentation required to clear students for clinical placement. Although we offer as much support as possible to students who are unable to locate a preceptor, our process is driven by student submission of a request for placement. We are dedicated to ensuring adequate and robust clinical experiences, however, GW Nursing is not required to locate clinical sites and preceptors for our NP students. 

Students wishing to apply for a student visa in the United States will need to seek sponsorship from George Washington University. At this time, the only program available to students seeking an F-1 or J-1 visa is our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program taught in person in Ashburn, Virginia. For further questions about eligibility, please contact [email protected].

image of faculty and student looking at cost and financial aid


Our graduate tuition is charged per credit hour based on the semester you start and the total credits noted in your program of study. We offer a variety of scholarships which you are automatically considered for upon applying. This program qualifies for Title IV funding.