Post Graduate Psychiatric Nursing Capstone Certificate



Please Note: The program start date has been changed from fall to summer. Beginning in 2016, all newly admitted students will start in the 2016 summer session with a three credit psychopharmacology course.


The Post Graduate Psychiatric Nursing Capstone Certificate program was developed to educate advanced practice nurses seeking to expand their professional role. Our certificate program builds on a wide variety of educational and professional backgrounds. 

A minimum of 18 credits are required for the program, which lasts a year and a half (summer-fall-spring-fall). In each semester of the Psychiatric Nursing Capstone Certificate program, students take one foundation course and one clinical course.  These concurrent courses promote the alignment of theory with practice and the integration of advance practice across care settings and delivery models. Course work and clinical prepare students in the evidence-based assessment and management of common mental health conditions as well as the complex care needs of persons living with serious mental illness. 

In the first summer of the program, students take a three credit psychopharmacology course. In each of the remaining three semesters students take five credits per semester, which includes a clinical course. Each week, students spend between 20 and 25 hours at their clinical site and working on course assignments such as readings, case studies, and online discussion boards.

Please review the Program of Study (pdf), which includes course descriptions.

Course Delivery

Our hybrid courses offer the best of both worlds: the convenience of online classes combined with the optimal learning opportunities created in dynamic classroom discussions and case studies. Students should expect to spend one day per month on campus for scheduled class meetings. Students are able to commute from surrounding areas, and they tell us they enjoy attending classes on campus because they really get to know their peers and professors. Nursing education comparison studies of traditional programs and online programs have found improved learning outcomes and reduced student attrition in blended on-line and on-campus learning programs.

Clinical Courses

Students complete one clinical course in each of the three regular semesters for a total of 500 clock hours of clinical practice hours. Clinical hours are completed during regular working hours and students should set aside two days each week for clinical. All placements are arranged by clinical faculty, with consideration given to:

  • Proximity to a student’s home community
  • Area of clinical interest
  • Breadth of exposure received by the student

Eligibility Requirements for ANCC Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Examination

Our program prepares students to meet the psychiatric mental health nursing coursework and clinical hour requirements to take the certification exam.  Prior to enrollment in the certificate program we expect students to have met the ANCC requirements for three separate courses (not integrated content) in

  1. Advanced Assessment across the lifespan;
  2. Advanced Pathophysiology; and
  3. Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics. 

If your assessment course was in advanced adult assessment or advanced child assessment and not lifespan assessment you have the option of taking the additional assessment content required as part of your certificate program.  At the time of admission our faculty conduct a gap analysis of your prior course work to determine if additional course work will be required as part of the certificate program to meet certification eligibility.