Nurses and doctors meeting at a conference table

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) - Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Track

Graduates of the MSN PMHNP program will be prepared to apply a holistic nursing process and medical/medication management to promote optimal mental health while engaging in active, ongoing collaboration with individuals, their families, significant others and the interprofessional team.


Credit Hours


Year Program


Per Credit Hour



Accepting applications for Fall '24 soon

Psychiatric nurse practitioners treat patients with organic and functional psychiatric disorders. Working alongside other mental health professionals, psychiatric nurse practitioners use their leadership qualities and nursing education to treat disorders ranging from depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The online master’s of science in nursing- psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (MSN PMHNP) program prepares students to work as psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in a variety of inpatient and ambulatory settings, including clinics, hospitals and treatment centers. The MSN PMHNP curriculum focuses on facilitating the lifetime care of individuals, families, communities and populations’ health and the utilization of evidence-based, culturally-sensitive and recovery-oriented holistic care.

Graduates of the MSN PMHNP program will be prepared to apply a holistic nursing process and medical/medication management to promote optimal mental health while engaging in active, ongoing collaboration with individuals, their families, significant others and the interprofessional team. Graduates are eligible for national certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

The MSN PMHNP program requires 49 credit hours comprising the 19-semester hour MSN core, 2 semester-hour synthesis and application and the 28 semester hour / 600 clinical hour PMHNP core.

MSN - Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Program Objectives

    1. Prepares students to assess and treat the mental health needs of patients who are at risk of or currently coping with mental health conditions like addiction, anxiety and depression
    2. Prepares students to work as psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, substance abuse treatment centers and social services settings.
    3. Provides culturally-competent, population-based preventive, management and holistic care information for the treatment of complex mental health problems, behavior disorders or psychiatric diagnoses
    4. Graduates are eligible for national certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

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Online Nursing (MSN) - PMHNP Course Requirements

49 credits

The MSN-PMHPN program includes 19 credits of core MSN education, 19 credits of PMHNP didactic and practicum courses; and a 2-credit Scholarly project

Online MSN Core Courses 19 credits

The MSN core courses include theoretical and practical knowledge, which serve as the foundation for advanced nursing education in a variety of roles. Core courses focus on three major themes which are consistent with the philosophy for the graduate program: Critical systematic inquiry, professional and personal development and management of information and resources in a rapidly changing healthcare environment. Courses include:

This course examines ethical frameworks, such as theories of justice, rights-based ethics and virtue ethics and their significance to the delivery of health care. Analysis of ethical dilemmas focuses on differentiating what is called traditional and modern ethical frameworks for decision-making. Application will be made within the parameters of nursing’s metaparadigm (person, nursing, caring, healing, health, environment) using personal and professional processes of valuing, unconditional acceptance and deciding in the preservation of wholeness and dignity.

Introduction to the role of theory in knowledge development and its relationship to nursing research, practice, and administration. Critical analysis of selected theoretical models within the discipline of nursing and of theories and concepts from other disciplines as used in nursing. Concepts related to the application of the theoretical concepts in providing holistic care are explored. Examination of the application models, theories and concepts in nursing practice, administration and research.

Exploration of modes of inquiry for systematic study of the application, use and evaluation of nursing innovations in clinical practice. Emphasis is placed on the identification and solution of clinical problems through scientific inquiry. Research is examined for evidence-based practices which include a critical review of research studies, nurse’s expertise and patient/family preferences. Discussion entails the importance of dissemination of research findings.

This course provides an overview of health care policy, including formulating and analyzing policy at the institutional, local, state, federal and global levels. Issues regarding the nursing work environment as well as social determinants and healthcare delivery/ regulation will be discussed. The influence of socio-cultural, economic, political, ethical, legal and historical context on nursing and health care policy will be explored. The role of the master’s prepared holistic nurse in health policy decisions in the public and private sectors will be explicated.

Principles and biostatistical methods used in the study of the distribution and determinants of injury and disease through the interaction of environment and genetics in human populations (HP2020) are presented for use in the holistic development, implementation, and evaluation of primary, secondary and tertiary preventive and acute health care services in a variety of settings. Resources for epidemiological investigations within organizations and communities are introduced. Opportunities are provided to use the epidemiological and biostatistical methods of reasoning for determining causal inferences about the distribution and determinants of injury and disease (HP2020). Evidence-based innovative and evaluative health care delivery plans for clinical prevention and population health are developed using epidemiological and biostatistical data.
Prerequisites: NURS 502

PMHNP Track Courses 30 credits

  • NURS 658 – Advanced Clinical Pharmacology………… 3cr.
  • NURS 680 – Advanced Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan………… 3cr.
  • NURS 756 – Advanced Health Assessment for RNs………… 3cr.
  • NURS 780 PMHNP Core 1………… 3cr.
  • NURS 783 PMHNP Clinical Practicum 1 ………… 1cr.*
  • NURS 786 Advanced Psychopharmacology and Neurobiology Across the Lifespan ………… 2cr.
  • NURS 784 PMHNP Core 2 ………… 3cr.
  • NURS 785 PMHNP Clinical Practicum 2 ………… 1cr.*
  • NURS 787 PMHNP Clinical Practicum 3 ………… 1cr.*
  • NURS 782 Role Development & Ethical Issues for the PMHNP ………… 2cr.
  • NURS 788 PMHNP Core 3 ………… 3cr.
  • NURS 789 PMHNP Clinical Practicum 4 ………… 1cr.*
  • NURS 791 PMHNP Clinical Practicum 5 ………… 1cr.*
  • NURS 790 Current Issues and Trends in PMH ………… 1cr.

* Total Practicum Hrs. 600 contact hr. (required for certification)

  • NURS 797: Scholarly Project………… 2cr.

We also offer a Post Master's Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate

Experienced registered nurses with an MSN from a regionally-accredited college or university and CCNE or ACEN (formerly NLNAC) accreditation are eligible to apply for the post-master’s certificate program. The MSN PMHNP post-master’s certificate program requires 18 to 27 semester hours, depending upon the applicant’s previously completed course work. This certificate option requires the NP and PMHNP Core but does not require NURS 779.


Our Admission Process is Easy, on Your Phone or Computer!

  • Once admitted into the program, students may start online classes in the fall, spring or summer semesters.
  • Applications for this program are accepted throughout the year. Applicants are notified of the admission decision as soon as possible.
  • Applicants are encouraged to submit completed applications in a timely manner to allow for review and processing. Applications are processed immediately upon receiving all required materials.
  • The admission committee considers all information contained in the admission application, including prior grades, test scores and evidence for potential for success in graduate study.
  • No admission tests (i.e. GRE) are required for applying to this graduate nursing program.

Applicant Requirements

  • Applicants must be a registered nurse with an unencumbered RN license in the state where practicum experiences are to be completed. A minimum of 1 year of nursing experience is required, a strong candidate will have a minimum of 2 years of nursing experience.
  • Hold a BSN and be a graduate of a regionally accredited college or university’s nursing program with CCNE or ACEN (formerly NLNAC) accreditation (College of Nursing will verify).
  • An undergraduate statistics course with a grade of C or better is required for admission.
  • Applicants who do not have a BSN (BS in Nursing) cannot be accepted into the online MSN programs but should consider the MSN direct entry as a second degree – MIDAS Program.

To be considered for admission, students must submit the following:

Get Started on Xavier University’s free online application. You can begin the process in just a few clicks. 


One official transcript directly from all colleges or universities that you have attended for any undergraduate and graduate course work. Applicants must have a degree from a regionally accredited university. A strong candidate will have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Send transcripts to:

Xavier University
ATTN: Admission Processing Center
3800 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45207-5131

For electronic transcripts, send to:

Current résumé or curriculum vitae outlining nursing experience. 

A 3-page goal statement that addresses the following points:

A 3-page goal statement that addresses the following points:

  • Why are you applying to Xavier University?
  • What MSN track are you applying for and why? How do you plan to use the degree and specialty?
  • What experiences have prepared you for graduate study? (or have influenced your desire to pursue graduate studies)
  • Graduate school is challenging and a large time commitment, especially with working, family, other responsibilities. What are your plans and strategies for being successful in your graduate program?
  • We also consider the writing quality of this essay. If writing is a challenge for you, also address strategies to help you in this area.

Three professional recommendations, (Please provide contact information for recommenders in the online application. An electronic form will be sent via email.)

A strong candidate will provide:

  • At least reference from a direct manager or supervisor who evaluates their clinical work.
  • Two references will be from someone with a masters or doctoral degree

A personal or phone interview may be required for the MSN- FNP program.

State Authorization

Xavier University is authorized to offer this fully online degree program in all states. 

View the complete list of approved states on the State Authorization page.


Get More from Your Education with a Graduate Degree from Xavier

At Xavier, we understand that no two degree programs and no two students are alike. Therefore, we structure every online degree program to address the unique needs of individual students and have created unique fee structures for each degree program, as well.

Per Credit Hour


Total Estimated Tuition

The amounts listed are for the 2023-2024 academic year, and include classes from Summer 2023 through Spring 2024. Tuition cost is per credit hour unless otherwise stated.
For the full, official listing, please visit
Xavier University reserves the right to correct any computational or clerical errors.

Ready to Get Started?


Students enrolled in Xavier’s online programs take classes with the same world-class faculty as our traditional students.

Dr. Cathy Messinger will join Xavier University in the Fall of 2024 as the Track Coordinator of the Nurse Practitioner Programs. She graduated with her MSN with an FNP focus from University of Nebraska College of Nursing in 1997. She graduated with her DNP from the University of Iowa in 2013 and her post-master’s as a PMHNP from Western Kentucky University in 2019. She taught at Clarkson College in Omaha, NE and assisted with the revision of their FNP program and she assisted with the development of the PMHNP and PMHNP post-master’s program at Texas State University. Dr. Messinger has remained in active practice throughout her teaching career and has been in rural family practice, Cardiology, and emergency medicine. She currently has a PMHNP clinical practice in rural Kentucky. Dr. Messinger is passionate about mental health for all and has a particular interest in substance use disorders. Dr. Messinger loves to educate nurse practitioner students and help them become their best selves who bless the lives of their future patients with compassionate and excellent clinical care.  Email Dr. Messinger at

The College of Nursing at Xavier University would like to invite you to a Virtual Question and Answer session with the Directors for the MSN Education, Family Nurse Practitioner, Forensic and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs as well as Post master’s Certificate Programs for each track.

June 26, 2024 @ 7:30 pm EST – Register Here

July 17, 2024 @ 7:30 pm EST – Register Here