A collaborative effort of the UC Schools of Nursing

With California facing an urgent and growing shortage of mental health professionals, the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing collaborated with the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, UCSF School of Nursing, and UCLA School of Nursing to launch a new online program to prepare new psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) in California.

This multicampus, PMHNP postgraduate certificate program is the first of its kind in California. Its training will increase the mental health providers workforce at a time when  the shortfall continues to grow across California. Over 50% of people with mental illness in the state are not receiving psychiatric care, and many communities, especially those located within rural and inland areas, have only half as many psychiatrists as other parts of the state.

This UC PMHNP postgraduate certificate is a 12-month hybrid program that combines online education with three immersion sessions and regional clinical training across California. Often, students remain in their communities to complete their clinical training.

Upon completion of this training, students will be eligible to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center’ (ANCC) Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Lifespan) Board Certification (PMHNP-BC™) examination to become a board-certified PMHNP.

Schedule and application deadline

For the first three UC PMHNP classes, from 2021-23, program admissions was led by the UCSF School of Nursing. Beginning with the cohort enrolling in June 2024, students will apply through the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, pending all UC and California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) approvals. Applications for June 2024 entry are expected to open in late 2023, pending approvals.

Sign up to receive updates about how to apply.

Sign Up

Admissions requirements

Admissions requirements and prerequisites will be posted to this page, and on the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis’s website when finalized. Meanwhile, we anticipate the requirements and other details to remain similar to what is currently required by the UCSF School of Nursing, as listed below. For more in-depth information on these requirements please, visit the UCSF School of Nursing PMHNP Certificate Program website.

Who can apply

The UC PMHNP Certificate Program is geared towards APRNs looking to further their education and training to serve the psychiatric patient populational in their local communities. These include:

  • Nurse Practitioners (NPs)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs)
  • Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs)

Required qualifications

  • Current unencumbered A.P.R.N. licensure in California — nursing license must be recognized as valid for practice within the state of California during the complete course of study
  • Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions, including any programs in which you are currently enrolled
  • Goal statement
  • Minimum of three letters of recommendation
  • Resume or C.V.
  • English proficiency for non-native speakers (minimum TOEFL score of 92, minimum ILTS score of 7)

Required prerequisite coursework

Prior coursework in the following areas is required by the American Nurses Credentialing Center to be eligible for the PMHNP certification exam. Please visit the ANCC website for more information.

Three separate, comprehensive graduate-level courses in:

  • Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology, including general principles that apply across the lifespan
  • Advanced Physical/Health Assessment, which includes assessment of all human systems, advanced assessment techniques, concepts and approaches
  • Advanced Pharmacology, which includes pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and pharmacotherapeutics of all broad categories of agents

In addition, applicants must have completed content in:

  • Health Promotion and/or Disease Prevention
  • Differential Diagnosis and Disease Management

PLEASE NOTE: Students whose previous graduate programs did not include the courses specified above must complete those courses before applying to sit for PMHNP board certification.

Still have questions? For additional assistance, please email the Admissions and Student Services team at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis at: HS-BettyIreneMooreSON@ucdavis.edu