M.S. in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Credit Hours
Month Completion
Next Start Date
Jul 1, 2024
Placement Tests
GMAT/GRE not required for admission

Ease mental and behavioral health challenges as mental health nurse practitioner

According to the National Institute of Mental Health Disorders, 1 in 4 adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder. Unfortunately, close to half of individuals with mental illnesses do not receive treatment. Franklin University’s M.S. in Nursing-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MSN-PMHNP) degree equips you with the knowledge and skills to make much-needed behavioral and mental healthcare more accessible to individuals of any age. At Franklin, you’ll become an advanced practice nurse capable of providing a holistic approach to diagnose acute, episodic and chronic mental health illnesses and provide  treatment options that include medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. 

Program Availability

On Site

Earn an In-Demand Degree

Answer the call for specialized psychiatric care providers.

Built-in Clinical Hours

Apply what you learn while you learn it.

Finish in as Few as 28 Months

Earn your psychiatric mental health NP degree faster.

100% Online Coursework

Balance earning your degree with other work-life commitments.

Learn from the Best

Benefit from the expertise of seasoned, in-field practitioners.

MSN-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program Overview

As the global pandemic impacted many aspects of life, it left many in its wake anxious and uncertain. While instances of anxiety, depression and substance abuse issues continue to rise, the increase has sparked important dialog about mental health, as well as efforts to remove the stigma that has long-surrounded a mental health diagnosis and the search for treatment. 

Designed for the busy, working nurse and aligned to address the existing mental health crises, Franklin’s online MSN-PMHNP program prepares you to help patients at all phases of life learn new coping strategies and behaviors. 

Explore your passion for psychiatric nursing while learning techniques to bridge mental health gaps

As part of Franklin’s commitment to providing a relevant education, you’ll be exposed to current and emerging technologies like Shadow Health, iHuman and EXXAT clinical management software. These tools will help you merge coursework with your existing knowledge in order to develop a theoretical basis to guide your practice to promote high quality, effective, patient-centered care. 

In addition to the fundamentals of advanced practice nursing, you’ll gain an essential understanding of cognitive processes, behaviors, and how life events affect the mental health of your patients. 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. 

Build the knowledge and skills necessary to develop a therapeutic communication style

As part of an interviewing and mental health assessment lab, you’ll focus on treatment modalities for individual, group and family psychotherapy including observation, interviewing skills, mental health assessments and screening mechanisms. By building your familiarity with the most current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM 5), you’ll learn to formulate a differential diagnosis and pair it with age-appropriate, evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatment.  

Finish your degree faster, thanks to built-in clinical practice hours

Franklin’s MSN-PMHNP degree program weaves clinical practice hours within your coursework. Thanks to this built-in experiential learning component, you’ll apply what you learn while you learn it. Franklin’s MSN-PMHNP degree program lets you acquire 600 hours of clinical practice experience that’s focused on psychiatric mental care for children and adults, plus the opportunity for a specialization rotation.

Earn an accredited nursing degree and qualify to apply to take the national certification exam

As a student, you can be confident that your MSN-PMHNP will prepare you for advanced practice or doctoral study.

Because Franklin’s MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, once you complete your degree, you will be eligible to apply to sit for the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification examination offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Passing the certification exam is necessary to receive a license to practice as an advanced registered nurse practitioner in most states. 

To support you in your certification efforts, Franklin’s MSN-PMHNP curriculum features a built-in prep course focused on best practices in test taking and applying critical thinking to diagnose, treat and manage care in the mental health setting. 

Since licensing requirements vary from state to state, make sure you understand the rules and regulations guiding both the location and scope of your practice as it relates to your professional development goals.

Transfer up to 12 credits and finish your MSN faster

If you have previously taken MSN courses at a CCNE-accredited institution, you may be able to transfer credit and save time and money toward your Franklin MSN. Franklin offers course-for-course credit for advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology and advanced physical assessment, as long as they have been completed within 3 to 5 years of your enrollment at Franklin. To see if your previous coursework can be used to satisfy degree requirements, you’ll need to submit a syllabus for the course(s) you’d like to have evaluated for transfer credit. Your admissions advisor will be happy to assist you in any way.

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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 (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org).


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:
Jun 21
Fall 2024
Recommended Register By:
Aug 9
Fall 2024
Recommended Register By:
Sep 20
Spring 2025
Recommended Register By:
Dec 27
Spring 2025
Recommended Register By:
Feb 7

Your Best Value MSN-PMHNP Track

Choose Franklin’s MSN-PMHNP and you’ll get more for your money while you make the most of your time. Complete your degree in as few as 28 months with online coursework and built-in clinical hours.

Affordable Tuition


Affordable tuition rates for the accredited MSN-PMHNP provide value and quality.

Lower Fees

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

Source: Internal research of leading programs (May 2022)


Tuition Guarantee

Inflation-proof your degree cost by locking-in your tuition rate from day one through graduation.

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)


M.S. in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Courses & Curriculum

42 Semester Hours
Major Area Required
NURS 612 - Role of the Master's Prepared Nurse (3)

This course assesses the various roles of the master's prepared nurse. The influence of the health care delivery systems, health care policy, diversity, ethics, quality, safety, theory, evidence based practice, and information systems on the role of the master's prepared nurse will be explored.

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 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 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 693 - Evidence Based Practice & Quality Improv (3)

This course will explore and analyze methods to improve nursing practice and health outcomes. Collaborative efforts and ethical concerns are considered. Emphasis is placed on critically evaluating evidence-based practice and quality assurance initiatives.

HCM 752 - Health Policy (4)

This course will explore the essential conceptual and analytical understanding of health policymaking and politics, including their impact on health administration and leadership. Selected policy issues will be explored through the application of political concepts and behavioral models, including a system model of policymaking. The emphasis will be on understanding the health leader?s approach to the policymaking system, become involved in it, and work through it to attain their objectives and those of their organization.

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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M.S. in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program Details

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M.S. in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner 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. 

M.S. in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Employment Outlook


From 2021-2031, jobs for Nurse Practitioners are expected to increase by 11%

All Occupations

3,368,301 jobs
3,739,735 jobs
Show Details >

Nurse Practitioners

235,175 jobs
336,473 jobs

Registered Nurses

3,133,126 jobs
3,403,262 jobs

Source information provided by Lightcast.

The Clinical Experience

Meet Your [Clinical] Match

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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