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Post-DNP Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate

The College of Nursing offers a Post-DNP PMHNP for DNP-prepared APRNs who are certified in another specialty.  The certificate program prepares graduates to independently diagnose and treat a wide variety of mental health conditions across the life span.  In addition, graduates are prepared to provide integrative practice across a spectrum of mental health and physical health conditions.

Course work and supervised clinical experiences provide the knowledge, skills and abilities to provide at least two different approaches to psychotherapy, in-depth understanding of psychopharmacology, and expertise in treating patients across the life span who are experiencing both mental health and physical health problems. Graduates are eligible to take the ANCC certification examination for Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioners.

Post-DNP Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program Requirements

Apply Early
The application process involves a number of different components. Please begin your application early in the cycle, well before the earliest deadline.  This will allow the necessary time to verify and process your application.  There are different deadlines for some programs so be sure and check the dates.
Academic Preparation and Achievement
Applicants must hold a DNP degree from an accredited university with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.  Applicants must hold national certification as an NP or CNS; a current, unencumbered RN License; and the appropriate APRN approval from their state of practice.  Applicants may submit additional documents to demonstrate professional scholarship and leadership abilities that could make them more competitive.
Work Experience

No specific work experience is required.  However, applicants who have a clinical background in understanding psychiatric and mental health issues may be given preference. 

Personal Attributes

Personal qualities are assessed in three ways: (1) an essay; (2)  required recommendations; and (3) an interview.

  1. Essay - Applicants will submit an essay through NursingCAS about how they expect earning the Post-DNP PMHNP certificate will affect their future practice. 
  2. Recommendation Forms - Applicants must submit at least three Recommendation Forms from doctorally-prepared nurses or previous faculty members who can address the applicant’s potential or ability for functioning as an APRN in the areas of clinical skills, critical thinking, independent decision making, leadership, and collaboration skills with other health professionals.
  3. Interview - Selected applicants are invited for interviews to further assess their personal qualities. Academic achievement, GPA, previous experiences, and written essay are considered in determining who will be invited to interview. The interview will be in-person or through the use of virtual conference technology such as Zoom®. 
Application Process 
Prospective students MUST apply to the DNP program through NursingCAS, a national nursing centralized application service endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Specific instructions are provided on the UTHSC NursingCAS Information page. 

The Post-DNP Certificate applicant must:

  1. Submit official copies of transcripts for all college and university work to NursingCAS. Submit of a copy of an unencumbered Tennessee RN license or have unencumbered authority to practice as an RN via the multi-state privilege at the time of application. Accepted students must maintain an unencumbered RN license for the duration of their program.
  2. Have earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice from a regionally accredited college or university. 
  3. Have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in the DNP or a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 earned during the applicant’s most recently completed degree program.
  4. Students who were previously enrolled, but did not complete a nursing program, must submit a letter of good standing from the Director of the Nursing Program. Students dismissed from another nursing program are ineligible to apply to the UTHSC College of Nursing.
  5. Submit three recommendation forms from doctorally-prepared nurses who can address the applicant's potential as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner including clinical skills, critical thinking, independent decision making, collaborative skills with other health professionals, and leadership.
  6. Have ready access to a Web-connected, personal computer. Computer literacy and adequate computer skills are required.
  7. Demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants will be required to present evidence of proficiency in English if a) their native language is not English. Evidence of proficiency in the English language is established through the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum acceptable scores are 550 on TOEFL paper version, 213 on TOEFL computer version, and 80 on TOEFL web-based version. TOEFL scores must have been earned within two years prior to application for the current UTHSC program. Any application for exemption from the TOEFL examination requirement must be submitted before the application deadline to the Director of Student Affairs, (901) 448-6125.
  8. Complete a successful criminal background check and drug screen within 30 days of official acceptance to the program. Background checks may be repeated during the student’s program of study.
Official Transcript 
 Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended will be needed to complete the online application.  Transcripts from any non-U.S. institution must be sent to and verified by a NACES accredited agency, for example, the World Education Services (WES).
Personal Technology and Skill Requirements
  • Computer/web-based literacy skills including keyboarding skills are expected.  Post-DNP students are expected to be able to use the Microsoft Office suite including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.  Other software is specified in various courses.
  • Evidence of English proficiency is mandatory part of application process.
  • Official minimum TOEFL Score earned within two (2) years prior to application to College of Nursing.
  • Three versions of TOEFL: Paper-based Test (minimum score 550), Computer-based (minimum score 213), and Internet/web-based (minimum score 80).

 If Not U.S. Citizen

  • Applicant must provide photocopy of immigration documentation showing “legal immigration status” (e.g., Green Card).
  • Copy of Immigration Status Document.
 NursingCAS fees are $65 to apply for Post-DNP admission. After acceptance, students are required to submit a $75 Application Processing Fee and a $200 Guaranteed Enrollment Deposit (GED). The GED is a non-refundable fee due within 30 days of acceptance and is held in escrow and applied to the student’s first term of study.

Applicants must pay for and complete a successful criminal background check and drug screen within 30 days of official acceptance to the DNP Program.  Background checks and drug screens may be repeated throughout the student’s program of study.

Last Published: Sep 13, 2017