Skip to Main Content

Nursing, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), M.S.N.

Learn More!

By submitting this form I agree to MTSU's Terms


Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) are specialized providers trained in holistic care for individuals, families, and groups with chronic and acute psychiatric and mental health issues across the lifespan. This program assists you in building confidence to care for the needs of others with instructors that desire to see you succeed. In this concentration, you will hone your expertise to develop a therapeutic alliance with clients and establish a knowledge base to improve situations with care. You will also develop skills in assessment, diagnosis, planning, treatment, and evaluation for future patients. 

Awareness of mental health is increasing, and employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors continue to rise. The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration in the Nursing program at MTSU increases access to graduate education for practicing nurses, whether you are in a bustling city or a remote area, and helps address the critical shortage of Nurse Practitioners. In this fast-growing career, you can complete your online degree with the flexibility you require as a busy nurse with high-quality, affordable, and time-efficient studies. Begin the process of working toward your career goals by APPLYING today.

The PMHNP concentration is within the MSN Nursing program. Students are required to have an unencumbered license to practice as a Registered Nurse in Tennessee and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Program coursework is completed online, except for clinical rotations through approved preceptors (in the student's home area when possible). Accelerated and part-time study is available for this program. The baccalaureate degree program in nursing/master's degree program in nursing and post-graduate APRN certificate program at Middle Tennessee State University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

All programs are approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing. | 665 Mainstream Drive, 2nd Floor | Nashville, Tenn. 37243

What We're Doing

William McBride

Student feels confident in skills learned in MTSU's Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program

After working in the business world for a year, William McBride knew he needed to return to his true passion – psychology. Having already earned his Bachelor’s degree in psychology, McBride worked as a mental health specialist in Franklin while he worked on his nursing degree. While working as a psychiatric nurse at Centennial Medical Center for two years, McBride decided to enroll in MTSU’s accelerated Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program. “I chose MTSU because it was affordable, accelerated and most importantly, taught by PMHNPs,” he said. McBride said the most important thing the program has taught him is how to be an independent learner. “This is not a ‘hold your hand’ program,” he said. “The program repeatedly challenged us to seek out the best scientific evidence on which to inform our practice, which will be vital moving forward as the field evolves and clinicians must adapt to new technologies and interventions. As I move into practice, I feel confident that I can find and apply the best scientific evidence to my practice as a PMHNP. This will obviously make me a safer and more effective clinician.”

Neenu Varkey

Graduate says PMHNP program taught her skills, knowledge needed to become effective clinician

Neenu Varkey had worked as a Med-Surg and a cardiac registered nurse before she began working as a psychiatric registered nurse at a hospital in Franklin, Tennessee. She realized psychiatry was her passion there and eventually enrolled in MTSU’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, where she learned valuable skills from experienced faculty and staff. “MTSU’s MSN PMHNP program taught me the skills and knowledge that are needed to become an effective clinician,” Varkey said. “The classes are taught by experienced faculty that have both classroom and real-world experience. Most of my professors already practiced or are still practicing as a nurse practitioner.” Varkey said the program’s hands-on experiences helped her truly understand the role as a PMHNP. “I believe going forward, the skills and knowledge I have attained from this program will help me to better support and help my patients,” she said.

Related Media

  • MTSU College of Graduate Studies

    MTSU College of Graduate Studies

  • MTSU | The University of Opportunities

    MTSU | The University of Opportunities


A Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration can lead to career opportunities in a variety of areas. With Nurse Practitioner jobs expected to increase 45 percent in the next eight years, graduates may work in a variety of settings like:

  • Colleges and Universities 
  • Community Health Centers
  • Correctional Facilities 
  • Domestic Violence Shelters 
  • In-patient Mental Health Facilities 
  • Nursing Homes
  • Out-patient Mental Health Clinics 
  • Primary and Secondary Schools
  • Private Practices
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Regional Hospitals 
  • Urgent Care Centers


M.S.N. degrees in the Nursing program include concentrations in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) and Advanced Practice: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). A Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) post-master’s certificate is available for those who have already earned an M.S.N. degree. 

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree combines the skills of a Nurse Practitioner with the advanced learning for those entering the mental health profession.


In order to be admitted to this program, all required documents must be received by MTSU's School of Nursing before the scheduled deadlines. The deadline to be admitted into the Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program is:

  • October 1 — for Spring term admission
  • April 1 — for Fall term admission

MTSU is currently not accepting out-of-state applicants for the MSN program.


For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS  tab above.

Other programs offered

The MTSU School of Nursing also offers selected graduate courses which may be transferred to programs offering the Master of Science in Nursing.


Undergraduates in the School of Nursing may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree via a traditional four-year baccalaureate program, first as a pre-nursing major and then, after three semesters and acceptance to the upper division, as a nursing major.

Apply Now!

Nursing, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), M.S.N.

Jenny Sauls, Director
(615) 904-8488

Academic Advisor for MSN Program

Courses are offered each semester based on enrollment. All courses are taught in the online learning environment.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner requires

  1. residence in Tennessee;
  2. a current, unencumbered license to practice as a Registered Nurse in Tennessee;
  3. a bachelor's degree in nursing with an overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (conditional admission will be considered with a 2.9 overall B.S.N. GPA);
  4. successful completion of a 3-semester-hour or 4-quarter-hour undergraduate level statistics course.
  5. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) if needed.

Application Procedures

Students are advised to contact the graduate program academic advisor in the School of Nursing before beginning the application process. Applications are due by October 1 for spring admission and April 1 for fall admission.

Applicant must

  1. submit application with the appropriate fee (online at Once this initial application has been accepted, the applicant will receive directions on how to enter the graduate portal to be able to submit other materials.
  2. submit official copies of transcripts including all universities attended;
  3. submit an updated vita or resume;
  4. submit a copy of R.N. license.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Nursing requires completion of 42 semester hours.

Candidate must

  1. complete all graduate nursing courses with a B or better;
  2. maintain current documentation within the School of Nursing document storage account, and
  3. pass all specialty clinical courses.


Students must register for courses each term. Failure to register for any semester/term constitutes a lapse in the program of study requiring readmission to the program. See readmission requirements in the policy.

Students who do not plan to register for a particular term/semester must complete and submit an Interruption of Program (IOP) form to the MSN academic advisor before completing the current term. Failure to submit the IOP will result in the necessity for reapplication.

Students may wish to submit a Stop Out form to the College of Graduate Studies and will need to fill out a readmission application form (without being required to submit any additional materials) before enrolling for the next term/semester. This will ensure that the College of Graduate Studies has all current student information and will trigger the process required for re-enrollment.

Curriculum: Nursing, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The following illustrates the course requirements.

Core (12 hours)

  • NURS 6010 - Theory and Evidence-Based Practice

    3credit hours

    Encourages nursing inquiry and scholarship by developing skills necessary for evidence-based practice and healthcare improvement. Focuses on the principles and processes of evidence-based practice and relationships between theory, research, quality improvement, and evidence-based practice.

  • NURS 6011 - Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Across the Life Span

    3credit hours

    Focuses on evidence-based guidelines used to promote health and prevent disease for diverse individuals, communities, and populations. Emphasis on health promotion, risk reduction, disease prevention, and disease detection.

  • NURS 6013 - Ethics, Healthcare Policy, and Economics

    3credit hours

    Focuses on ethical principles, healthcare policy, and economics and the influence of these topics on providers, consumers, and the healthcare system. Explores moral and ethical principles of healthcare and the relationship to healthcare policy.

  • NURS 6014 - NP Role and Leadership in Health Care

    3credit hours

    Requires analysis of the advanced practice nurse role and its relationship to various dimensions of leadership. Principles of leadership and accountability provide foundation for integrating concepts such as systems thinking, quality improvement, and fiscal responsibility.

Concentration (13 hours)

  • NURS 6110 - Advanced Health Assessment

    4credit hours

    Acquisition and application of advanced health assessment skills and techniques to perform focused and comprehensive health assessments across the lifespan. Analysis and evaluation of physical assessment findings and development of diagnostic reasoning skills.

  • NURS 6111 - Advanced Pathophysiology

    3credit hours

    Focuses on application of pathophysiologic processes common in acute and chronic illnesses in primary care patients across the lifespan. Integrates theoretical knowledge and clinical principles from nursing and related disciplines to disease processes. 

  • NURS 6112 - Advanced Pharmacology

    3credit hours

    Focuses on pharmacology and therapeutics used in the treatment of selected health conditions commonly encountered by the advanced practice nurse. Emphasis placed on the decision-making process utilized to safely and effectively prescribe and monitor pharmacotherapeutics appropriate to the client situation.

  • NURS 6310 - Psychopharmacology

    3credit hours

    Examines the indications, actions, and effects of psychotropic drugs in the management of targeted psychiatric symptoms and treatment of acute and chronic psychiatric disorders across the lifespan. Patient safety emphasized through appropriate prescribing.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Courses (12 hours)

  • NURS 6311 - Psychiatric Mental Health Diagnosis and Management I and Clinical

    6credit hours

    Emphasizes concepts, techniques, and knowledge necessary to conduct accurate mental health assessments. Data collection, including the principles of general health screening, psychiatric history taking, mental status examination, diagnostic criteria from the DSM-5, and therapeutic interviewing utilized. 

  • NURS 6312 - Psychiatric Mental Health Diagnosis and Management II and Clinical

    6credit hours

    Focuses on deepening and expanding the knowledge of fundamental elements related to the development and maintenance of therapeutic relationships with clients in mental health settings. Emphasis placed on the application of theory to clinical practice.  

Specialty Intensive (5 hours)

  • NURS 6313 - Psychiatric Mental Health Diagnosis and Management Intensive Clinical

    5credit hours

    Focuses on identifying clinical problems and recognizing system implications. Students will use technology to identify clinical and research evidence and critically analyze the evidence for rigor and applicability to the clinical setting. Students write a culminating evidence-based review paper.

Withdrawal from a Course

Only two (2) instances of course withdrawal are permitted without consequences in the M.S.N. program. Withdrawal from one or more courses in any given semester is considered one (1) instance of withdrawal. Students with more than two (2) withdrawals from the M.S.N. program will not be readmitted to the program.

Our adjunct faculty bring outstanding professional experience to our programs. Many are industry leaders with decorated careers and honors. Importantly, they are innovative educators who offer hands-on learning to our students to prepare them to enter and thrive in a dynamic, and oftentimes emerging, industry and professional world. They inspire, instruct, and challenge our students toward academic and professional success.

Mission and Goals

The mission of the Middle Tennessee State University School of Nursing is to provide excellence in nursing education by preparing individuals to meet the dynamic and complex health care needs of society. Through robust academic programs, the School of Nursing demonstrates its commitment to the art and science of nursing. This mission is exemplified in the preparation of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in the areas of Family Practice (FNP) and Psychiatric Mental Health (PMH) at MTSU. 

The graduate of an FNP program is prepared to care for individuals and families across the lifespan. The FNP role includes preventative healthcare, as well as the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of acute and chronic illness and preventative health care for individuals and families. Family nurse practitioners demonstrate a commitment to family-centered care and understand the relevance of the family's identified community in the delivery of family-centered care (NONPF, 2013). Graduates of the MTSU FNP program are prepared to sit for national certification as FNPs. 

The graduate of a PMHNP program is prepared to care for individuals and families across the lifespan who are at risk for developing and/or having a diagnosis of psychiatric disorders or mental health problems. The PHMNP provides primary mental health care to patients seeking mental health services in a wide range of settings. This includes assessment, diagnosis, and management of mental health and psychiatric disorders (NONPF, 2013). Graduates of the MTSU PMHNP and the PMHNP-PMC are prepared to sit for national certification as PMHNPs. 

Specific content and competencies must be addressed as part of your NP education. These areas are interrelated. Additionally, students at MTSU must meet program outcomes that are based on The Essentials of Master's Education. 

  • Program Outcome 1: Demonstrate synthesis and application of knowledge from nursing and related disciplines as the basis for clinical judgment and nursing practice to improve care delivery and health outcomes across populations. 
  • Program Outcome 2: Apply knowledge of organizational and leadership theories within the systems of healthcare using ethical principles to improve outcomes, manage risks, and provide cost-effective care. 
  • Program Outcome 3: Engage in self-reflection that fosters personal well-being, commitment to lifelong learning, nursing expertise, and leadership. 
  • Program Outcome 4: Utilize principles of safety science and quality to improve care delivery, and to create a culture of patient, provider, and workplace safety. 
  • Program Outcome 5: Generate, synthesize, translate, apply, and disseminate knowledge to improve health outcomes, resolve practice problems, and transform health care. 
  • Program Outcome 6: Use appropriate technologies to enhance health care services and improve health outcomes. 
  • Program Outcome 7: Develop and promote a professional identity that reflects nursing characteristics, norms, and values while adhering to ethical principles to carry out professional responsibilities. 
  • Program Outcome 8: Collaborate effectively across professions, with patients and families, and within communities to enhance care, improve outcomes, and reduce costs. 
  • Program Outcome 9: Identify and engage partners at local, community, regional, and global levels to support and improve population health outcomes consistent with epidemiologic, genetic, and genomic data to design evidence-based approaches. 
  • Program Outcome 10: Provide person-centered evidence-based holistic care through continuous evaluation of interventions to improve care delivery and health care outcomes. 

Additional Information

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing/master's degree program in nursing and post-graduate APRN certificate program at Middle Tennessee State University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (


All programs are approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing. | 665 Mainstream Drive,  2nd Floor | Nashville, TN 37243

Online or Hybrid Programs at a Glance

This program is available fully online.

For More Information or Explore Your Options​

Contact your department / program coordinator or advisor for more details about the program OR work one-on-one with your advisor to explore your options.

MTSU online logo

The Online Advantage​

With over 25 years of experience in online teaching and learning, MTSU Online offers students access to innovative, high-quality programs. Designed with students in mind, our courses allow maximum flexibility for those unable to participate in person. ​

Resources and services for online students are available from MTSU Online or contact us at

Contact Information

Cathy Cooper

Who is My Advisor?

Mailing Address

School of Nursing
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 81 
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Middle Tennessee State University © Nondiscrimination Policy Terms