Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

On This Page

Let Your Future Add Up To Something More

Fairfield University's Master of Science in Nursing, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program prepares students to assess, diagnose, and provide primary mental health care for people of all ages from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic groups who are suffering from psychiatric disorders and mental health problems. Individual, group, and family therapy, as well as medication management are important components of the curriculum. Graduates of our program work in a wide variety of settings, including private practice, home care, emergency rooms, integrated behavioral clinics, extended care facilities, residential treatment centers, and community mental health centers. Fall term entry only.

Career & Professional Opportunities

In Fairfield's Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program, you'll develop skills to provide care for adults from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic groups in a wide variety of settings: in-patient, community-based, and private practice. You'll learn to care for patients with a variety of mental disorders, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and thought disorders. You'll also have the opportunity to develop expertise in caring for special populations, such as substance abuse, elderly, or forensic mental health. Skills you'll develop include:

  • Psychiatric assessment and diagnosis
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Family and group work
  • Medication management
  • Application of research findings for evidence-based practice
  • Professional and academic writing
  • Public speaking/oral presentation

As a graduate, you'll be prepared to work as clinical faculty in undergraduate nursing programs. After one year of practice, you'll be prepared to serve as a preceptor for graduate students in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner programs. Settings that have traditionally sought out Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners include:

  • In-patient psychiatric units
  • Emergency departments
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Home care agencies
  • Out-patient behavioral health clinics
  • Correctional facilities
  • K-12 schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Residential treatment programs
  • Staff development departments

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners frequently combine positions in one or more of the above settings with a private practice. As a graduate of Fairfield's program you'll be prepared to choose from a variety of private practice options, including psychotherapy, medication management, or a combination of treatment modalities. Many of our graduates work in multidisciplinary practices with psychologists, social workers, and licensed counselors.

Learn more about how the University's Career Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

Course Offerings

See Graduate Nursing course descriptions for more information.

First Year

Fall Semester (6 credits)

  • NS 521 Advanced Nursing Roles for Systems Leadership and Improvement (3 credits)
  • NS 640 Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology (3 credits)

Spring Semester (7 credits)

  • NS 604 Advanced Health Assessment (4 credits)
  • NS 641 Advanced Pharmacology (3 credits)

Summer Semester (6 credits)

  • NS 605 Advanced Healthcare Policy (3 credits)
  • NS 614 Information Technology for Healthcare Improvement (3 credits)

Second Year

Fall Semester (8 credits)

  • NS 608 Research Methods for Evidence-Based Practice (3 credits)
  • NS 650 Psychopathology (3 credits)
  • NS 665 Mental Health Nursing of Children & Adolescents (2 credits)

Spring Semester (9 credits)

  • NS 601 Epidemiology and Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • NS 652 Mental Health Nursing of Individuals Across the Lifespan (3 credits)
  • NS 659 Foundational Clinical Skills for Advanced Psychiatric Nursing Practice (3 credits)

Summer Term (6 credits)

  • NS 666 Practicum I: PMHNP (4 credits)
  • NS 667 Psychopharmacology (2 credits)

Third Year

Fall Semester (6 credits)

  • NS 661 Mental Health Nursing of Groups & Families Across the Lifespan (2 credits)
  • NS 666 Practicum II: PMHNP (4 credits)

Spring Semester (6 credits)

  • NS 663 Primary Mental Health Nursing of At-Risk Populations Across the Lifespan (2 credits)
  • NS 666 Practicum III: PMHNP (4 credits)

Total Credits: 54


At Fairfield, our dedicated faculty play a critical role in our student’s personal and moral development as healthcare providers. Meet the faculty and staff at The Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies.


Admission Requirements

Applicants for the MS in Nursing, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program must hold a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) with a quality point average of 3.0 or higher preferred. RN applicants who have a non-nursing bachelor's degree will be considered on an individual basis and may be required to complete select prerequisites to be eligible for admission to the MSN program.

Formal Admission Process

Applications are reviewed by the Graduate Admission Committee. Students seeking admission must submit:

  • A Completed application (Apply Now)
  • A Non-refundable $60 application fee made payable to Fairfield University (paid by credit card if applying online).
  • A Professional Resume. Applicants are required to submit a current resume that includes employment and education history.
  • An Admission Essay:
    • Discuss a practice problem in your field that, in your experience, has a broad impact on patient care outcomes
    • State professional goals for the next 5-10 years
    • Explain how the degree you are seeking will aid you in reaching your goals
  • Official transcripts verifying completion of an undergraduate degree. (All foreign transcripts must be evaluated by an approved evaluating service.)
  • Two Recommendation Forms and Letters, one of which must be from a current supervisor or professor.
  • Copy of current RN License to practice in the state of Connecticut.

International Students

Students from non-English speaking countries are required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report. A TOEFL composite score of 550 for the paper test, 213 for the computer-based, or 79-80 on the Internet-based test (IBT) is strongly recommended for admission. Fairfield's ETS code is 3390.

All application materials should be sent to:

Office of Graduate Admission
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824-5195
Phone: (203) 254-4184
Fax: (203) 254-4073

How to Apply

For detailed admission requirements, please refer to the links below:

Admission Deadline

Family Nurse Practitioner: Rolling until July 1
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: Rolling until July 1
Nursing Leadership: Rolling until July 1

Financial Aid

To be considered for financial aid, Fairfield University requires students to complete a FAFSA form. For further information, visit the Office of Financial Aid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Individuals can complete either a DNP or a Masters’ program in their chosen area of specialty in order to become certified as a nurse practitioner. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners apply for board certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC); visit their website for more information on the requirements for certification.

The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties is responsible for developing the nurse practitioner competencies. This is true for both MSN and DNP preparation.

Upon completing the program at Fairfield University, a certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner can work with clients across the lifespan and in all clinical settings including acute care, community clinic, Federally Qualified Health Centers, corrections facilities, academic health centers, and private practice.

Students can transfer up to six core credits if the courses are similar. Evaluation of transfer credits are approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.

The Egan School has developed a special program allowing certified Family Nurse Practitioners to complete all required didactic and clinical coursework as well as DNP coursework as full-time students in two years and as part-time students in three years.

Call or email Dr. Kate Wheeler, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2708 for more information.

Search Results