DNP - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track
Credit Hours
Max Transfer Credit
Class Type
Online courseworkSee state availability
Next Start Date
May 20, 2024
Years To Complete
Finish in as few as 3 years

Take a holistic approach to health with Franklin’s affordable online DNP-PMHNP program

Pandemic-induced anxiety and uncertainty, combined with a concurrent rise in depression and substance abuse issues ignited conversation about mental health and destigmatized diagnosis and treatment. If you are interested in broadening your knowledge and skills in order to improve the accessibility of mental and behavioral healthcare, then Franklin’s Doctor of Nursing Practice-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (DNP-PMHNP) track is a good match for you. 

Program Availability

On Site

Built-in Practicum

Apply what you learn while you learn it.

Finish in as Few as 3 Years

Advance toward your future – faster.

Online Coursework

Balance earning your degree with other work-life commitments.

Learn from the Best

Benefit from the experience of your instructors – seasoned, in-field practitioners.

Skip the Dissertation

Complete an evidence-based project to demonstrate your knowledge

Earn an In-Demand Degree

Answer the call for specialized psychiatric care providers.

DNP-PMHNP Program Overview

Get the training necessary to impact mental healthcare

At Franklin, you’ll become an APRN equipped with the capabilities to diagnose acute, episodic and chronic mental health illnesses and provide treatment options that include medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two.

Through Franklin’s DNP-PMHNP, you’ll gain an essential understanding of cognitive processes, behaviors, and how life events affect the mental health of patients. 

Progress quickly with practicum hours and a scholarly project embedded within the program

Franklin’s DNP-PMHNP track combines learning and practicum hours to accelerate the completion of your degree program to about 3 years for RNs with an MSN. If you take advantage of Franklin’s BSN to DNP pathway, you’ll be able to complete the program in 4 years.

Designed for the busy, working nurse and aligned to address the existing mental health crises, online courses will challenge and advance your skills. Even better, you’ll make the most of your time because our online Doctor of Nursing practice degree features course-based practicum.

For the DNP with PMHNP concentration, you’ll apply and demonstrate your competency for a total of 1,100 practicum and clinical hours, starting with your major area courses, continuing through your DNP seminar courses and PMHNP clinical hours. Eligible MSN-holders may be able to transfer up to 500 practicum hours and up to 12 credit hours in coursework. BSN to DNP students who complete the required bridge courses can earn up to 125 practicum hours for those courses.

Be a high-achieving APRN with a scholarly approach to bridging mental health gaps

Prepare yourself for an advanced role as a nurse practitioner by earning a clinical doctorate and completing a DNP scholarly project using evidence-based practice that leads to a problem-solving intervention. Throughout the program you’ll engage in simulated and live patient experiences that mimic clinical practice for a seamless transition into the PMHNP role upon certification.

Embedded with an evidence-based change model used by a top-ranked health system, Franklin’s DNP program is rooted in evidence- and systems-based quality improvement and clinical practice, application and translation. You’ll study in several distinct areas, including major area courses, DNP seminar courses and concentrated Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) courses. Built-in learning outcomes mean you are evaluated and measured as you progress through your program of study. 

Succeed by pairing an in-demand DNP degree with a therapeutic communication style

Demand is rising for the profession’s highest clinical credential: the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Franklin’s DNP program lets you rise up to meet emerging professional standards of nursing, all the while practicing the techniques and testing quality improvement frameworks and theories you learn along the way.

The DNP-PMHNP mental health assessment lab enables you to hone your skills in observation, interviewing, mental health assessments and screening mechanisms as treatment modalities for individual, group and family psychotherapy. Build your familiarity with the most current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM 5), and you’ll learn to formulate a differential diagnosis and pair it with age-appropriate, evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatment.  

Earn your DNP degree from a university built for busy adults

Earn your DNP degree on your terms by taking classes 100% online. Accredited and nonprofit, Franklin was built from the ground-up to satisfy the needs of adult learners. Our seamless transfer process and team of academic advisors will help ease your transition to becoming a student, while our flexible course schedules help to balance your education with work, family and life. Get started on your future today.

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Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, post-graduate APRN certificates, and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs at Franklin University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (


Future Start Dates

Start dates for individual programs may vary and are subject to change. Please request free information & speak with an admission advisor for the latest program start dates.

Summer 2024
Recommended Register By:
May 10
Fall 2024
Recommended Register By:
Aug 9

Your Best Value DNP-PMHNP Track

Choose Franklin’s DNP-PMHNP and you’ll get more for your money while you make the most of your time. Complete your degree in as few as 3 years with online coursework and built-in practicum hours.

Affordable Tuition


Affordable tuition rates make Franklin's DNP a professional investment you can feel confident about.

Automatic Smart Start Scholarship

Total Tuition
Automatic Scholarship
Tuition with Scholarship

Lower Fees

Save thousands of dollars in fees by choosing Franklin over other leading programs for your DNP-PMHNP.

Source: Internal research of leading programs (May 2022)


Highly Recommended


98% of graduating students would recommend Franklin to their family, friends and/or colleagues.

Source: Franklin University, Office of Career Development Student Satisfaction Survey (Summer 2023)


DNP-PMHNP Courses & Curriculum

54 Semester Hours
Major Area Required
NURS 810 - Foundations of the DNP (3)

The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the role of the DNP as a leader and change agent in healthcare. Skill development includes identification of a gap in practice, conducting a needs assessment, and describing the scope and significance of the problem. [Practicum hours: 50]

NURS 820 - Evidence-Based Prac & Qual Improvement (3)

This course focuses on advanced nursing practice as a form of inquiry, integration, and application of evidence into practice. Skill development includes evaluation of evidence-based practice methods, and use of information systems and patient technology for quality improvement.

NURS 830 - Clinical Prevention and Health Care Outcomes (3)

This course prepares students to assess, design, implement and evaluate evidence-based quality healthcare practices for individual and aggregate patient populations. Skill development includes defining outcomes linked to measures, variables, and data sources; and appropriate data collection and evaluation methods. [Practicum hours: 50]

NURS 840 - Leadership, Policy & Interprofessional Collaboration (3)

This course focuses on principles of leadership in relationship to change policy, and membership in high functioning teams to improve health care outcomes within complex systems. Skill development includes assessment of organizational culture, quality and safety data, and exploration of principles for effecting change as a member and leader of a team. [Practicum hours: 50]

Project Courses
NURS 850 - DNP Seminar I (3)

The purpose of this course is to provide students with the support and direction needed, in collaboration with the sponsoring facility and preceptor, to develop a proposal for a comprehensive, site-specific DNP Project, including an evaluation plan. Skill development includes application of theory, review of the literature and population data to frame the DNP Project to drive cost-effective safe care. [Practicum hours: 125, PLO 1, 2, 3]

NURS 851 - DNP Seminar II (3)

In this course, the student secures school approval and implements the approved project plan. Skill development includes managing time and resources, assessing and managing implementation issues, data collection, and utilizing communication, and leadership and collaboration strategies. [Practicum hours: 125]

NURS 900 - DNP Seminar III (4)

In this course, the student completes and disseminates results of the project. Final projects reflect the student?s ability to employ effective communication and collaboration skills, take a leadership role, influence quality and safety, transform practice, lead innovation, and successfully negotiate change in health care delivery.

Nurse Practitioner Core
NURS 644 - Advanced Pathophysiology (3)

This course provides an in-depth study of the physiological changes and responses to altered health states and their impact on the functional status of patients. Students will focus on the essential knowledge of human health and disease across the lifespan. Pathophysiological theories and evidence-based research serve as a basis for applying content to population groups.

NURS 648 - Advanced Pharmacology (3)

This course focuses on the concepts, principles, and application of pharmacotherapeutics used in the management of health problems encountered in primary care. Emphasis is placed on theories and principles of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacogenetics, which provide a foundation for critical thinking, and the application of research finding. The focus on pharmacology is aimed at the treatment of acute and chronic health problems in populations over the lifespan. Prescriptive authority for nurses is explored.

NURS 646 - Advanced Physical Assessment (3)

This course builds upon the student?s previous health assessment knowledge offering more advanced health assessment content to provide the foundation for advanced professional nursing roles. This course emphasizes knowledge of health assessment, including physical, psychosocial, spiritual health assessment, risk assessment, and functional assessment in diverse populations in the promotion of health and prevention of disease. To maintain a nursing focus on patient responses to health, illness, or the threat of illness, the nurse must exhibit effective communication and client teaching, which is incorporated throughout the course. The importance of effective documentation and health record keeping is included.

NURS 730 - Neurobiology and Psychopharmacology (3)

This course focuses on current evidence-based knowledge of neurobiology in relation to psychiatric mental health disorders and addresses principles of psychopharmacology. Emphasis is on neurotransmitters, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and concepts related to prescribing psychotropic drugs as treatment for psychiatric mental health disorders across the lifespan in clinical practice. Note, this course has proctored exam(s).

NURS 731 - Psychotherapy and Differential Diagnosis for Individuals, Groups and Families (3)

This course focuses on select psychotherapeutic treatment modalities for individual, group, and family psychotherapy. Theories and varied approaches to psychotherapy are reviewed. Differential diagnosis formation of psychiatric mental health disorders is examined through observation, interviewing skills, mental health assessment, and screening mechanisms. Emphasis is placed on comprehensive mental health assessments with knowledge and use of the most current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to clinically formulate accurate differential diagnosis and match the diagnosis with treatment planning of age appropriate, evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatment modalities. This course has a required interviewing and mental health assessment lab of 16 hours.

NURS 732 - Psychiatric-Mental Health Advanced Practice I: Culturally Competent Therapy Across the Lifespan (4)

This course is the initial clinical practicum that provides students an opportunity to synthesize and apply psychotherapeutic theories and concepts as they further develop advanced clinical skills for the PMHNP role. Interviewing and mental health assessment skills are reinforced. Emphasis is on cultivating competencies in conducting individual, group, and family psychotherapy across the lifespan while incorporating cultural humility and cultural competency in developing inclusive approaches to care. 75 clinical hours.

NURS 733 - Psychiatric-Mental Health Advanced Practice II: Adult/Geriatric (4)

This course is the second clinical practicum and builds on providing the student opportunity to apply psychotherapeutic clinical skills for the PMHNP role. Emphasis is on psychiatric mental health care needs of the adult/ geriatric population. In the clinical setting the student will use comprehensive mental health assessments for decision making, to formulate differential diagnosis and match the diagnosis with a treatment plan incorporating diagnostic tests, therapy, psychotropic medication, then document and code in EMRs. 175 clinical hours.

NURS 734 - Psychiatric-Mental Health Advanced Practice III: Pediatric/Adolescent/Family (4)

This course is the third clinical practicum and builds on providing the student opportunity to apply psychotherapeutic clinical skills for the PMHNP role. Emphasis is on the specific psychiatric mental healthcare needs of the pediatric/adolescent/family population. In the clinical setting, the student will use comprehensive mental health assessments for decision making, formulate differential diagnosis, and match the diagnosis with a treatment plan incorporating diagnostic tests, therapy, psychotropic medication, then document and code in EMRs. 175 clinical hours.

NURS 793 - Psychiatric Management Capstone (4)

This is the capstone practicum course for the PMHNP student. It functions to encourage transition to practice from student to entry level independent practice. Students will integrate knowledge from previous courses to culminate their training to provide comprehensive psychiatric mental health care and the management of complex co-occurring disease processes and disorders across the lifespan. Emphasis is on the professional role of the PMHNP in disease prevention, health promotion, collaboration, quality, and APRN leadership. 175 clinical hours.

NURS 707 - Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification Prep (1)

This course is designed to prepare the student to successfully pass the national certification exam. Emphasis will be on best test-taking practices and professional and independent practice in primary care for individuals and families.

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DNP-PMHNP Program Details

Doctor of Nursing Practice-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track Career Opportunities

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners assess mental health status, diagnose mental illness and determine effective treatment plans that may include therapy and medication. 

Nurse Psychotherapist

Nurse psychotherapists provide psychological therapy and counseling to individuals, families and groups in order to assist in behavioral and mental health challenges.

Mental Health Program Coordinator

Mental health program coordinators plan, organize, direct and coordinate mental healthcare programs and activities for organizations, populations and communities.

Correctional Facility Nurse Practitioner

Correctional facility nurse practitioners work in jails and prisons providing comprehensive acute and emergency care to incarcerated individuals.

Substance Abuse Nurse Practitioner

Substance abuse nurse practitioners work as part of a care team in treatment centers and hospitals to diagnose and treat mental and physical symptoms related to substance abuse. 

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The Clinical Experience

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Clinical rotations play a critical role in preparing you to excel as nurse practitioner. Learn how we will support your search and what you can do to personalize the experience to meet your personal and professional needs. 

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