Instructional Leadership, emphasis: K-12 School Leadership (MEd)
Student studying on her laptop while outdoors.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Graduate Certificate


We designed this program for practicing nurses, and it requires in-person engagement in NUR 680, as well as engagement in direct patient care environments. Our Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) postgraduate certificate prepares you to deliver psychiatric mental health care to underserved rural populations. You will also be eligible for state certification in Arizona, for application for prescribing and dispensing privileges in Arizona, and for application for national certification as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (across the lifespan).

This program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

    • Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit hours. Many graduate certificate programs require more than 12 credit hours.
    • No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 – 4 units) may be used on a graduate certificate program.
    • No more than twenty-five percent of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.
    • A 400-level course (undergraduate course) completed at another university is not eligible for transfer credit.
    • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of coursework with a Grade of “C” may be used in a certificate program.
    • A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.
    • Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College.
  • Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program).  See the “Details” tab for additional information.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion23 – 36
Major GPA3.0
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Fieldwork Experience/InternshipFieldwork Experience/Internship is required.
Some online/blended courseworkRequired

This program may lead to licensure.

Purpose Statement

The philosophy of the School of Nursing at Northern Arizona University is based on an ethic of caring that embraces students, faculty, staff, and the university community and the global community within which we live and work. We also believe that caring is a conscious, intentional discipline that is part of nursing’s unique body of knowledge and is practiced in interdisciplinary contexts. Caring includes the creation and nurturing of an environment that recognizes that students, staff, and faculty have unique ways of viewing the world. This philosophy promotes excellence in nursing education and practices in an environment of constant change and emerging healthcare trends.

The faculty believes the transition to the role of the competent professional nurse is a major developmental achievement. We believe that nursing is an art and science that is an integral component of health care. Applying the discipline of nursing to practice depends on a foundation of natural and human sciences, humanities and arts, the application of research, and the diverse backgrounds of learners. Societal influences in the evolving healthcare system challenge all involved in nursing education.

Education is a dynamic, life-long collaborative process by which an individual pursues life goals, broadens human potential, develops thinking, and clarifies values. The faculty believes that learning is the intentional acquisition, application, and integration of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Learning is shaped by the environment and developmental level of the learner and is ultimately the responsibility of the learner. Faculty plan, guide, and facilitate learning while supporting the learning needs of a diverse community of students. We believe that learning-centered experiences with rigorous expectations and actively engaged students to result in higher-level thinkers and graduates prepared for real-world practice. We value incorporating rural and global healthcare into a variety of educational experiences. Thus, education not only expands the thinking of the learner but increases opportunities for application.

The faculty has developed a philosophy that values diverse people, environment, health, and nursing, and their interrelatedness. The following meta-paradigm concepts guide the implementation of the organizing framework for the curriculum.

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner post-graduate certificate was designed for the MSN nurse with a broad base of experience who wants to expand their skills to provide advanced practice care to people experiencing acute and chronic mental health issues. The graduate of the PMHNP post-graduate certificate will be prepared with the skills and knowledge to mitigate the disparities that many people with mental illness living in rural areas may face. The advanced practice nursing role as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner includes the components of knowledge and management of mental health care for the client and family, professional relationships, and health care delivery systems. Upon completion of the PMHNP post-graduate certificate, the graduate qualifies for seeking both national and state certification as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan).

Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes align with Standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Critical Reasoning

  • Integrate theory, evidence, clinical judgment, research, and interprofessional perspectives using translational processes to improve practice and associated health outcomes for patient aggregates.


  • Analyze how policies influence the structure and financing of health care, practice, and health outcomes.
  • Examine the effect of legal and regulatory processes on nursing practice, healthcare delivery, and outcomes.

Professionalism and Professional Values

  • Advocate for patients, families, caregivers, communities, and members of the healthcare team.
  • Incorporate core scientific and ethical principles in identifying potential and actual ethical issues arising from practice and assisting patients and other healthcare providers to address such issues.

Global Health

Global Engagement
  • Transforms health care systems to address health equity and social justice thus reducing health disparities in vulnerable populations.

Diversity Education

  • Assume leadership and/or research roles in developing, implementing, and evaluating culturally reinforcing nursing and other healthcare services from local to global perspectives.
  • Prioritize the social and cultural factors that affect health in designing and delivering care across multiple contexts.

Environmental Sustainability

  • Create partnerships that promote sustainable environmental health policies and conditions.
  • Analyze and promote social, political, and economic policies that influence sustainable environments and reduce human health exposures in a global society.

In addition to the NAU MSN Program Outcomes & the PMH Registered Nurse’s Standards of Practice and Standards of Professional Performance (ANA, APNA, & ISPN, 2022), the PMHNP graduate of NAU will:

Clinical Practice and Prevention
  • Design patient-centered comprehensive psychiatric mental health evaluations that are consistent with cultural competency, trauma-informed care, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for the patient, family, community, and populations.
  • Integrate theoretical knowledge and clinical expertise in the prescription and implementation of evidence-based treatment modalities.
  • Promote mental health resilience, recovery, and positive outcomes for the patient, family, communities, and populations.
  • Role-model interpersonal skills, self-reflection, and trauma-informed communication skills in the development of therapeutic relationships to promote holistic well-being of the patient, family, and interprofessional teams.
Critical Reasoning
  • Critically appraise psychological, social, biological, and nursing theories and research to develop an understanding of mental health problems from the individual to the systems level.
  • Design holistic interventions for patients, families, communities, and systems informed by the integration of theoretical frameworks.
  • Evaluate the impact of social systems, legal, and regulatory processes on the mental health well-being of vulnerable populations.
  • Design an evidence-based innovative strategy to improve mental health outcomes of vulnerable populations and influence decision-making bodies.
Professionalism and Professional Values
  • Examine personal values, their influence on behavior and decision-making, and the effect of alignment or misalignment of values and behavior on patient outcomes and systems.
  • Engage in routine self-reflection, education, and mentorship to promote well-being and resiliency for self and others.
Global Health
  • Examine the influence of society and culture on mental health, mental illness, and mental health services.
  • Practice consistent introspection about the intersectionality between the patient/family/population and self on:
    • Perception of health and health needs.
    • Culture-bound health behaviors.
    • Culture-bound communication.
    • Covert and overt biases.
    • Culturally influenced barriers to health (i.e., health disparities and social determinants of health).
  • Role-model advocacy for diversity, inclusion, equity, justice, and belonging in clinical practice and within systems through personal awareness, cultural humility, unconditional positive regard, and therapeutic cross-cultural communication.

Graduate Admission Information
  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (“A” = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

    • Master’s degree – nursing and/or healthcare-related field preferred
    • Active nursing or healthcare professional license (if applicable)
Certificate Requirements
  • Take the following 23 – 36 units:
  • Students enrolled in this certificate may not enroll in or pursue the following due to the number of overlapping units:

  • This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate. Federal financial aid cannot be used if the certificate is completed as a stand-alone certificate.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.