Who can apply to this program?
Applicants must have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or doctoral nursing degree with preparation as a Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, or Certified Nurse Specialist. Applicants must be actively licensed as an APRN in the State of California to qualify for admissions, also at the time of application.

When do applications open and close?
Applications will open each year in September and will close in January. Please visit the “how to apply” section of the UC PMHNP Certificate Program page to learn more about application deadlines.

Can I still apply if I live out of state?
No. This is a California program whose goal is to increase the mental health provider workforce in this state. Students need to be licensed in and live in California. Additionally, clinical placements are made in students’ local communities in California.

Can I apply prior to graduating from my MSN program?
Applicants must have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or doctoral nursing degree with preparation as a Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, or Certified Nurse Specialist.

Can I apply with my license in progress?
No. Applicants must be actively licensed as an APRN in the State of California at the time of application to qualify for admissions.

If I do not get my MSN but instead did a BSN-DNP program, do I qualify for this certificate program?
There is no requirement to earn an MS before a doctorate degree. However, our program requires that the applicant be an APRN (NP, CNS, CNM, or CRNA). If the applicant’s DNP degree included APRN training and they are licensed in California they are eligible to apply for our postgraduate certificate program.

Do I need clinical experience to apply?
While it is recommended that applicants have work experience as an APRN prior to submitting their application, we do not have a specific requirement for years of experience. Keep in mind, however, that per national and state standards of practice, applicants must be actively licensed as an APRN in the State of California to qualify for admissions.

Are essays requested as a part of my application?
The UC Davis Graduate Studies application requires two essays as part of the application process. You may learn more about these two essays and their specific requirements on our UC PMHNP Certificate Program page and the “How to Apply” guide.

How many letters of recommendation are required?
We require three letters of recommendation from professional references. You may learn more about the letter of recommendation requirements within the “How to Apply” guide.

What if my GPA is below 3.0?
The minimum overall bachelor’s degree GPA requirement is 3.0. Applicants who have a GPA lower than a 3.0 are not eligible to apply to the UC PMHNP Certificate Program.

Do I need a furnishing license to apply?
Applicants are not required to have a furnishing number to be considered for admission into the UC PMHNP Certificate Program. However, applicants may be more competitive if they have recent active prescribing experience.

Do prerequisite courses expire for the PMHNP certificate program?
There is currently no recency requirement for any of the required prerequisite courses needed to apply to the UC PMHNP Certificate Program. It is ultimately up to the applicant to determine whether they will need to take a refresher course to be ready for the postgraduate certificate program and the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Lifespan) Board Certification (PMHNP-BC™) examination after program completion.

Can undergraduate courses in nursing apply towards the course requirements?
No, this is a postgraduate certificate program so all prerequisite classes need to be graduate level classes.

Where can I take prerequisite courses?
While we are not able to recommend any specific universities, courses may be taken in person or online, at an accredited institution. All prerequisite courses are required to be comprehensive graduate-level courses and must be included on the submitted transcript during the application process. Each prerequisite is expected to be one full course, either a quarter or a semester, and a minimum of three semester units. Prerequisites must be completed with a grade of C or better. Please refer to the prerequisites section within the UC PMHNP Certificate Program page to learn more.

Can I waive the prerequisite courses?
No. Applicants must complete all required prerequisite courses, regardless of their educational or professional backgrounds. Students whose previous graduate programs did not include the specified prerequisite courses, but who otherwise meet all other application requirements, may be considered for admission but must complete those courses before receiving the PMHNP postgraduate certificate and applying to sit for PMHNP board certification. 

What if my Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology course does not cover the entire lifespan?
Students must have taken a comprehensive, graduate-level Advanced Physiology/ Pathophysiology course that includes general principles that apply across the life span. Applicants who do not meet the life span requirement must take an additional course(s). For example, if your pathophysiology course was only pediatric focused you would need to take a lifespan graduate-level Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology course.  

Can I talk to someone about previous prerequisite courses that I have taken before and see if they satisfy the prerequisites needed to apply into the program?
Once we begin our application review process, we will assess all applicants’ credentials and prerequisite courses. We do not review transcripts prior to application. Once applicants apply to the program, our faculty will do a thorough gap analysis (analysis of a student’s prerequisite courses already taken versus those required for admission). If for some reason a prior course does not meet program prerequisite requirements, and they are admitted to the program, additional required courses will be specified at that time. Here are a few examples of individuals who may need to take additional course work:

  • A pediatric nurse practitioner reviews her transcript and course descriptions and sees that the pre-requisite courses are very pediatric specific, such as Pediatric Pathophysiology. Then this individual would need to take an across the life span Physiology/Pathophysiology course.
  • A midwife reviews her transcripts and course descriptions prior to applying and notices that her pharmacology course only covered content related to midwifery. This individual may need to take a graduate level pharmacology course that covers broad categories of agents.
  • A neonatal nurse practitioner reviews her transcripts and course descriptions prior to applying and sees that her health assessment course was pediatric specific. This individual may need to take a graduate level health assessment course that covers adult content.

What is the certificate that is awarded?
Graduates of the UC PMHNP Certificate Program will receive a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) (Across the Lifespan) postgraduate certificate.

When does the program start?
Each new cohort starts in June each year.

What is the program length?
The UC PMHNP Certificate Program is a hybrid 12-month program (4 Quarters, including 1 summer quarter), where students in a particular cohort take the same curriculum together, regardless of previous APRN focus (e.g., DNP vs. CNS vs. CRNA, etc.). As an example, the cohort of students who matriculate into the UC PMHNP Certificate Program in late June 2024 will complete their program together in early/mid-June 2025.

Is the program in person, online, or hybrid?
The UC PMHNP Certificate Program is a hybrid program meaning some content is delivered asynchronously while other content is delivered live. Three synchronous immersion sessions are required as part of the curriculum of the program and will be held during the student’s academic year. These immersions may be held online, or in person at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing on the Sacramento campus. Final immersion location will be announced closer to the student’s matriculating into the program. Students are present in university assigned clinical rotations approximately 16 hours per week for the entire duration of the program. Additionally, students attend a required weekly clinical case conference (group clinical supervision) via zoom. Students should expect that in some quarters they must complete courses and clinical experiences during evenings and weekends.

What is the time commitment for the program?
This hybrid program is a full-time commitment as all coursework and clinical rotations are completed within 4 quarters. With two days a week of clinical rotations in addition to didactic requirements, the program requires a great deal of flexibility and dedication on the part of learners. Most didactic course work is largely asynchronous with quarterly synchronous meetings as outlined within our curriculum page.

Where are the clinical placements?
Faculty assign clinical placements within the learner’s region of California. Students will be able to provide input on their preferences, but please keep in mind no guarantees can be made as clinical placements are subject to change. Students are also eligible to submit custom preceptor applications if they have a relationship with a MD, PMHNP or other qualifying preceptor, who is willing to precept them. While these applications are not guaranteed, our clinical team will do their best to create a partnership for our students.

What is the time commitment for the clinical placements?
Students are required to complete a minimum of 500 supervised clinical hours. The clinical internship begins in July or August and ends in June each academic year and requires an 11-month commitment to clinical rotations,16-24 hours/week (even if minimum hours are met early the student must continue in their site to meet competency throughout the entire program). Students are expected to be flexible and work around their preceptor’s schedule.

Do I need to arrange my own clinical placements myself?
Clinical placements will be arranged and assigned by UC Davis program faculty in collaboration with the School of Nursing’s clinical placements team. However, if you know of any potential placements and/or preceptors, faculty and staff welcome new placement leads and will do their best to work with you.

Can I do my clinical training at my current worksite?
Possibly. In some cases, students may be allowed to train at an agency where they are employed if it is clearly a different area within the agency and it is an approved site. If an applicant is admitted into the program, more information will be given about this process if they wish to learn more. Students may not be paid to complete clinical hours.

Can I work during the program?
While we understand that students may need to work during the program, flexibility is of utmost importance. Your clinical site and preceptor may only be available on certain days, so it is up to the student to accommodate your site and preceptor. We recommend that students limit employment to less than 20 hours per week during the program, due to clinical training and the curricular demands. You can expect a rigorous graduate level didactic curriculum which will require your time and focus. A lack of flexibility may result in delay in your clinical placement and ultimate completion of the program.

What is the cost of the program?
Information regarding program fees will be posted to the UC Davis Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis website when they are available late fall 2023 pending all approvals. Program fees for the UC PMHNP Certificate Program are set by the Regents of the University of California and can change without notice. Historical cost of the program at UCSF can be found on their UCSF Office of the Registrar under “Supplemental Studies in Advance Practice in Nursing – Distance” but as an important reminder, the program costs at UC Davis may be different once they are officially posted in late fall 2023.

Do you have any informational webinars?
Please check out our UC PMHNP Certificate Program Admissions and Aid page to learn more about future informational webinars, or to see a previously recorded session. 

I want to learn more about the UC PMHNP Certificate Program. Who can I contact?
You are welcome to send additional questions to hs-BettyIreneMooreSON@ucdavis.edu. This is the fastest way to receive answers about our programs and admissions process.