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Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP


As a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), you'll be qualified to diagnose and treat acute episodic and chronic mental illnesses.

You'll be trained to focus on patient wellness through health promotion/disease prevention, teaching, and coaching. Christian moral and ethical principles serve as the guide for care-giving, communication, collaboration, and decision-making as a PMHNP.

  • Our program is offered in both full- and part-time settings through an online or hybrid/Flex format.
  • Students have the opportunity to complete clinical requirements in nationally-ranked clinical facilities throughout the Lehigh Valley.
  • You'll experience a broad range of clinical settings including hospitals, care facilities, and hospital-to-clinic settings.
  • Clinical Placements are coordinated by the University. Students outside our region are responsible for their own clinical placement.

Graduates of our program are eligible to take the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification Examination offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The required 60-hour advanced pharmacology course, coupled with the 30-hour Psychopharmacology course, exceeds the minimum required for prescriptive authority in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Full-time or part-time class schedules

  • Full-time students can complete the program in two calendar years (dependent on seat availability in the desired track)
  • Part-time students can complete the program in three calendar years

Online or hybrid/Flex courses*

  • Complete core courses completely online or in hybrid/Flex format
  • Advanced core and specialty/clinical courses are in a hybrid format
  • Hybrid/Flex courses meet, at most, one night per week from 5-9pm at the Center Valley campus

*Online courses may be either completely asynchronous or utilize some synchronous online meetings, depending on course

Important Program Information

Admissions Requirements

MSN Admissions Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree in nursing from an ACEN or CCNE accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • An active registered nurse license or eligibility for licensure in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. New Jersey licensure as a registered nurse is also required prior to beginning the clinical sequence for all MSN programs.
  • Evidence of the equivalent of 12 months full-time nursing practice within the last three (3) years
  • For the Post-Graduate Certification Programs, evidence of a minimum of one (1) year of experience as a practicing licensed registered nurse within the past two (2) years

How to Apply

*For applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement, completion of the GRE or MAT will be required to be considered for admission to the program

*International applicants (regardless of citizenship) for whom English is a second language must submit English proficiency test scores (TOEFL, iBT, IELTS, or CAE) as part of their application. An official copy of test results must be sent by the testing agency directly to the Division of Nursing at DeSales University, 2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley, PA 18034. Visit the following websites for up-to-date information:

* All exams must have been taken within two years of application to a DeSales program.

Nurse Practitioner applicants are admitted twice a year as per the following deadlines:

  • The deadline is August 31 for an April (Spring semester) start
  • The deadline is February 28 for an August (Fall semester) start

The admission process and entrance requirements are rigorous; demonstrating minimum admission requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the MSN program. 

Additional Requirements for the PMHNP

  • Evidence of the equivalent of 12 months full-time experience as a practicing psychiatric RN within 18 months of application completion. 
  • Students will be required to continue to work as a psychiatric nurse to fulfill the 12 months of nursing practice experience required to progress to the specialty clinical courses. 
  • All admission to the PMHNP program will be at the discretion of the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program Director. 


The curriculum for the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program combines an exciting blend of theoretical and applied learning.

Core Graduate Nursing Courses

  • NU 522: Health Policy, Organization, and Financing
  • NU 530: Applied Research
  • NU 536: Clinical Prevention in Population Health
  • NU 538: Health Informatics, Quality and Safety

Advanced Practice Nursing Core Courses

  • NU 622: Advanced Physical Assessment
  • NU 626: Pathophysiology
  • NU 628: Advanced Pharmacology

Specialty/Clinical Practicum Courses

  • NU 633: Behavioral Neuroscience
  • NU 634: Foundations of Assessment and Diagnosis in Psychiatry
  • NU 738: Applied Psychopharmacology
  • NU 740: Foundations in Psychopathology
  • NU 741: Psychotherapy with Individuals and Groups
  • NU 743: Evaluation & Treatment in Psychiatry
  • NU 744: Role Development with Special Populations in Psychiatry
  • NU 799: Capstone Portfolio

PMHNP Curriculum Summary

  • 14 Courses plus Portfolio
  • 54 credits
  • 75 Clinical Laboratory Hours
  • 675 Clinical Practicum Hours

*View all required courses, course credits, course descriptions, and program outcomes in the Graduate Catalog.

PMHNP Concentration Student Learning Outcomes

At completion of the PMHNP Program students will:

  1. Integrate Christian humanism in advanced nursing practice that values and facilitates full human development via partnerships with patients and families facing mental health problems [MSN Program Outcome # 1] 
  2. Initiate resolutions to ethical dilemmas arising from system or organizational conflict. [MSN Program Outcome # 1, 2]
  3. Manage, integrate and coordinate patient care services across the mental health care continuum.  [MSN Program Outcome # 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]
  4. Analyze new knowledge and evidence based principles to deliver competent, high quality health care, initiate policy change, and improve health care delivery practices for mentally ill patients across the lifespan. [MSN Program Outcome # 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9]
  5. Demonstrate advancement of clinical practice that contributes to quality, safety, and improved health outcomes in mentally ill patients across the lifespan.  [MSN Program Outcome # 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]
  6. Apply advanced concepts of leadership and advocacy to influence policy, health systems, and consumerism in order to effect population health service improvement. [MSN Program Outcome # 1, 2, 4, 5,6, 79, 10]
  7. Facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and consultation to meet the mental health needs of patients across the lifespan. [MSN Program Outcome # 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10]
  8. Synthesize seminal theoretical, ethical, and legal concepts into the provision of mental health care delivery practices across the lifespan. [MSN Program Outcome # 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7]
  9. Demonstrate proficiency in the application and evaluation of communication and information technologies to meet the complex demands of health care. [MSN Program Outcome # 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 10]
  10. Integrate cultural sensitivity through an awareness of global health concerns to decrease health disparities. [MSN Program Outcome # 1, 4, 7, 9, 10]
  11. Design comprehensive, outcome-oriented care for patients with mental health needs utilizing innovative, evidence based methods that emphasize the teaching/coaching/ collaboration role of the PMHNP. [MSN Program Outcome # 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]
  12. Exemplify qualities required to assume leadership positions within the health care system, political arena, academic centers, and professional organizations. [MSN Program Outcome # 1, 2, 5, 6, 10, 11]
  13. Contextualize a personal philosophy and plan for lifelong learning to support advanced nursing practice.  [MSN Program Outcome #1, 11]

Academic Catalog


DeSales University is home to some of the most advanced simulation technology in a university setting.

Simulation captures the key characteristics and behaviors of real life clinical events and gives students the opportunity to practice clinical skills, repeat procedures, fine-tune processes, and observe the impact of their choices — all without harm to patients. 

Human Patient Simulator Lab

The DeSales family of Human Patient Simulators (HPS)

HPS, also known as high-fidelity manikins, are life-like models of the human body with software/computer equipment components to mimic human bodily functions. The HSC maintains several HPSs, including a pregnant mother and new-born infant.

Clinical Skills Lab 

Our clinical skills suite provides both a 12 bed in-patient and a 12 bed out-patient practice environment. Students can practice a wide variety of clinical skills with low fidelity mannequins. Task Trainers help students gain expertise in technical procedures and clinical skills such as foley catheter placement or pelvic examination for undergraduate students and more advanced skills such as central line placement or peripheral IV insertion, for our graduate students.

Standardized Patient Program

This on-campus suite replicates a functioning healthcare office, complete with a waiting room, and 8 fully equipped examination rooms. Standardized Patients are real people who are specially-trained to portray different patient scenarios, where they are treated as real patients by DeSales students. They actively participate in the instruction, practice, and assessment of the physical examination skills of our students, nurses, and physician assistants. Become a standardized patient 

Education Management

Our Education Management Solutions, Inc. system (EMS) provides a comprehensive solution for the labs;. Digital AV software and hardware allow faculty to capture both the simulations and standardized patient environments for further review. The results provide a digital video record of individual and team performance, which assist in evaluating a student’s performance when faced with realistic clinical challenges.

Simulation Lab in Gambet Center at DeSales The labs in the Gambet Center are outfitted with audio-video technology as well as integrated simulation management and skills evaluation software to allow the instructors to manage clinical skills training and patient exam protocols.

Video: See the Sim Center in Action  


Tuition & Fees

Tuition and fees for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) are as follows.

  • Tuition/credit hour: $885 (will increase to $910 for 2021-2022 academic year)
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Re-admission Fee: $50
  • Graduation Fee: $120
  • Laboratory Fee*: $250
  • Returned Check Service: $30

*Laboratory fees are due on registration for: NU 551, NU 552, NU 553, NU 622, NU 625, NU 711, NU 712, NU 713, NU 715, NU 717, NU 719, NU 729, NU 731, NU 735, NU 737, NU 739, NU 742, NU 743, NU 744

Tuition Deferment

DeSales University offers graduate students the opportunity to defer payment of their tuition when they will be receiving reimbursement from their employer or when they are eligible to receive financial aid. A copy of your employer's tuition reimbursement policy must be forwarded to the Treasurer's Office and/or all necessary financial aid paperwork must be filed with the Financial Aid Office before tuition deferment is granted. 

Tuition deferment is a privilege given to graduate students at DeSales and can be revoked if this privilege is abused. Please note that you, as the student, are responsible for payment of your tuition balance in the event that your financial aid/loans or employer reimbursement is not received by the Treasurer's Office.

Tuition Reimbursement

When a student is eligible for tuition reimbursement from his/her employer, written evidence of eligibility is required. The student is responsible for requesting this reimbursement from his/her employer. In cases where reimbursement is contingent upon successful completion of the course(s) and the student either withdraws or does not achieve a grade sufficient to warrant maximum reimbursement, the student is ultimately responsible for payment for the course(s).

Refund on Withdrawal

A refund of tuition payments will be made to a student who withdraws from a course. In all cases, credits will be calculated from the date the student completed the official withdrawal form, and the rebate will be based on the schedule shown below. 

Refunds apply to tuition only. If a student is allowed to enroll by use of the deferred payment procedure, any funds due the University are immediately due and payable upon withdrawal.

Withdrawal during the add/drop period is 100% of tuition refunded. The schedule below is for withdrawal after the first class after the close of the add/drop period. 

The refund policy is based upon the number of classes held up to 
the date of withdrawal.

  • Withdrawal after 1st class: 80% of tuition refunded
  • Withdrawal after 2nd class: 65% of tuition refunded
  • Withdrawal after 3rd class: 50% of tuition refunded
  • Withdrawal after 4th class: 25% of tuition refunded
  • >Withdrawal after 5th class: No refund
DeSales Simulation Lab

Simulation Lab

DeSales University is home to some of the most advanced simulation technology in a university setting.

Simulation captures the key characteristics and behaviors of real life clinical events and gives students the opportunity to practice clinical skills, repeat procedures, make mistakes, fine-tune processes, and observe the impact of their choices — all without harm to patients. 

Explore the Sim Lab

CCNE Accreditation

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and post-graduate APRN certificate programs at DeSales University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

CCNE - Accredited

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Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)