Top Online PMHNP Programs

9 Min Read Published May 15, 2024
Top Online PMHNP Programs in 2024

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) are a specialty type of nurse practitioner who treat patients facing complex mental health conditions. 

Online PMHNP programs provide the clinical skills students need to become a PMHNP and the flexibility to keep up with work and personal responsibilities.

With so many schools to choose from, finding the best PMHNP online program can be difficult. So, we examined the options and found the best ten programs based on tuition, accreditation, length, and other vital factors. Read on to find an online psychiatric nurse practitioner program that suits your needs.

Top 10 Online PMHNP Programs 

In selecting the top ten PMHNP programs, we based our ranking criteria on the following factors:

  • Accreditation
  • Reputation
  • PMHNP certification exam pass rate
  • Tuition
  • Acceptance rate

But you may want to consider additional factors when choosing the best online psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program for you. Consider whether the online lectures are synchronous or asynchronous or the school's in-person attendance requirements.

1. Yale School of Nursing

Yale offers a three-year PMHNP program online comprised of 52.5 total credit hours and 802.5 clinical hours. This program provides a diverse learning environment and uses many educational methods to develop aspiring PMHNPs, including:

  • Live online classes
  • Asynchronous assignments
  • In-person clinical training in accessible healthcare settings
  • Short-term on-campus immersions in the New Haven, CT area

Yale's online mental health nurse practitioner program graduates earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Applicants don't need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or a set number of clinical hours to be eligible for acceptance. However, applicants must have a bachelor's degree and an active RN license.

Currently, New York or Tennessee students cannot enroll in this program.

  • Tuition: $2,001 per credit hour 
  • Program Length: Three years 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Application Deadline: May 24th
  • Contact Info:
    • Email Address: ysn.admissionsonline@yale.edu
  • Online Options Available? Hybrid
  • Website

>> Show Me Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

2. Baylor University

Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing offers a 100% online BSN-Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) PMHNP track. This program prepares nurses to be leaders in mental health patient care, policy, and processes. It is 77 credits offered through 15-week courses in three terms per year, with 1,125 practicum hours required.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Baylor in the top 10% of DNP programs nationwide. The program incorporates both leadership and team-building strategies in its curriculum. Its admission requirements include a 3.0 GPA, one year of full-time nursing experience, and three letters of recommendation.

Baylor’s program does not currently accept students from all 50 states, so it’s important to speak to an admissions counselor and make sure you are eligible for online admission. Students from states such as Pennsylvania, California, Alaska, and New York are not eligible for enrollment. 

  • Tuition: $1,150 per credit hour
  • Program Length: Three years and four months (with BSN), 18 to 24 months (with MSN)
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Contact Info: 
    • Phone Number: (888) 227-5901 
    • Email Address: admissions@onlinenursing.baylor.edu 
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

3. Duke University

Duke University’s psychiatric mental health nursing program ranks #1 in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. This distance-based, interactive PMHNP program leads to an MSN degree. It develops the expertise and skills needed to provide family-centered, integrated mental health care to all ages in all settings.

The program comprises seven MSN core classes, nine clinical courses and electives, and three nurse practitioner intensives. Most students complete the program in two and a half years. 

Duke's clinical placement team facilitates students’ ability to complete clinicals near their homes. They do so by leveraging the school’s nationwide network of more than two thousand facilities and practices.  

  • Tuition: $2,166 per credit hour 
  • Program Length: Two and a half years 
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: December 1st
  • Contact Info:  
    • Phone Number: (877) 415-3853 
    • Email Address: SonAdmissions@dm.duke.edu 
  • Online Options Available? Yes 
  • Website

4. Ohio State University School of Nursing

Through coursework and clinical experiences, Ohio State University’s online PMHNP programs prepare graduates for professional opportunities in the field. Students may complete several PMHNP tracks online via OSU, including:

  • Traditional MSN
  • Post-Master's program
  • BSN-DNP
  • BSN-PhD

Students may complete their preceptorships at various sites in Ohio and other approved states. However, a PMHNP or psychiatrist must preceptor students' clinical experiences. The online PMHNP track requires that students complete 600 clinical hours during their final year of study. 

A PMHNP degree can also be completed on campus through the Graduate Entry Master of Science program, which is specifically geared for students holding a bachelor’s degree but who are not nurses. 

  • Tuition: 
    • MSN program 
      • In State: $52,904.70
      • Out-of-state: $53,904.70
    • BSN-to-DNP 
      • In State: $73,470.56
      • Out of State: $75,070.56
  • Program Length: 
    • Traditional MSN degree Full time – Two years
    • Full-time Graduate entry – Three years
    • Full-time BSN-DNP – Four years
    • Part-time BSN-DNP – Five years 
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: MSN Program and BSN-to-DNP Program
    • Round 1: October 31st
    • Round 2: March 1st  
  • Contact Info:
    • Phone Number: (614) 292-4041
    • Email Address: nursing@osu.edu
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

5. Drexel University

Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Science offers a robust online PMHNP program. Offered on a synchronous basis, clinically active faculty teach Drexel's online PMHNP courses. The highly interactive e-learning method that Drexel employs challenges and engages students and culminates in a master’s degree.

The program consists of 52 credits organized into four 10-week quarters per year. Students must attend a mandatory online orientation several months before starting clinical courses. They must also participate in on-campus or virtual intensives held during clinical rotations. 

Students can find and coordinate their clinical site and preceptor or seek assistance from the Division of Graduate Nursing. 

  • Tuition: $1,101 per credit hour 
  • Program Length: Two years 
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: August 1st 
  • Contact Info: 
    • Email Address: CNHPGraduateDivision@drexel.edu 
    • Phone Number: (215) 895-2400
  • Online Options Available? Yes 
  • Website

>> Show Me Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

6. Stony Brook School of Nursing

Stony Brook University’s School of Nursing offers a 45-credit hybrid online PMHNP program. This program combines distance learning with on-site requirements.

Stony Brook's hybrid PMHNP program prepares students to promote, maintain, supervise, and restore mental health. By the end of the degree, students can identify health risks and assess, diagnose, and manage patients’ mental health issues. The track emphasizes students' abilities to educate, lead, consult, advocate, and act as an agent of change for their patients.

Stony Brook’s Office of Clinical Placements processes clinical placement requests. It works collaboratively with faculty to secure clinical placement sites for students.  

  • Tuition: 
    • New York residents - $471 per credit
    • Out of State - $1,020 per credit
  • Program Length: One and a half to two years 
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: November 9th
  • Contact Info: pmhnp_nursing@stonybrook.edu 
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

7. Duquesne University School of Nursing

U.S. News and World Report notes Duquesne University's School of Nursing as one of the nation's top online graduate nursing schools - and the online PMHNP program is no exception. This program includes a unique substance abuse component and develops students' skills to assess, diagnose, and provide mental health treatment. It prepares graduates to work with individuals, families, and large groups.

Duquesne’s faculty are leaders in advanced practice nursing, and class cohorts are limited to 12-15 students. The program prides itself on the personalized support provided by a team of advisors from the time of enrollment through graduation. 

Students must attend campus twice throughout the entire program; otherwise, attending online asynchronous classes. The three-year program consists of 44 credits taught over 15 courses, which students may participate in full or part-time. The program is 100% online and offers three start dates throughout the year, increasing enrollment and flexibility. 

  • Tuition: $1,765 per credit hour 
  • Program Length: Three years 
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: July 10th 
  • Contact Info:
    • Email Address: admissions@onlinenursing.duq.edu
    • Phone Number: (412) 392-9857
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

8. Gonzaga University

Composed of 47 credits offered over nine semesters, Gonzaga University boasts one of the best online PMHNP programs in the US. It prepares graduates for clinical practice, treating mental health patients of all ages, from individuals and families to at-risk groups and communities. 

Gonzaga offers flexible classes that allow students to continue working and complete their studies on their schedule. The program includes:

  • 15 credits of 8-week MSN courses
  • 13 credits of PMHNP core courses (1 semester for each class)
  • Nine credits of PMHNP specialty courses (1 semester for each class)
  • 660 clinical hours (10 credits)
  • Five on-campus immersions

Other essential aspects of Gonzaga's PMHNP online program are as follows: 

  • Tuition: $1,160 per credit hour 
  • Program Length: 9 semesters
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: August 3rd
  • Contact Info: Ethan Lewan 
    • Phone Number: (509) 313-6243 or (866) 380-5323
    • Email Address: gradadmissions@gonzaga.edu 
  • Online Options Available? Yes 
  • Website

9. Rush University

Rush University's online PMHNP program is the #3 best DNP mental health degree, according to US News & World Report rankings. This track places a particular emphasis on preparing PMHNPs to practice autonomously. Students can take the 62-credit program part or full-time basis. 

The program focuses on treating psychiatric disorders in individuals, families, and groups within a relationship framework across the lifespan. There are 34 students per cohort, and the program takes two and a half to three years to complete.

The program is entirely online; however, a one-day on-campus orientation is highly suggested but not required. Students may also present their DNP thesis online or on campus with the expectation that they are present for all of their co-student's presentations. 

  • Tuition: $1,344 per credit hour 
  • Program Length: Three years 
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: January 3rd
  • Contact Info: Elizabeth Miranda, Admissions Specialist
    • Email Address: elizabeth_m_miranda@rush.edu 
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

>> Show Me Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

10. University of Rochester

The University of Rochester’s family psych NP program combines synchronous and asynchronous online learning with hands-on practice opportunities. The school offers this program entirely online with short on-site intensives. Two courses require travel to campus at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, each for a one to two-day intensive learning experience (scheduled during the weekday). During the program, there are also two full-day skills workshops held at the School of Nursing.

The school’s master’s nursing program ranks among the nation’s best at No. 22, according to U.S. News and World Report. The PMHNP curriculum totals 54 credits and 616 clinical hours, including five professional core classes and 11 clinical specialty classes. 

  • Tuition: $1,740 per credit hour 
  • Program Length: Two years 
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: 
    • Fall semester: April 15th 
    • Spring semester: September 15th
    • Summer semester: January 15th
  • Contact Info:  
    • Phone Number: (585) 275-2375 
    • Email Address: SON_Admissions@urmc.rochester.edu
  • Online Options Available? Yes  
  • Website

FAQS About Online PMHNP Programs

  • How long are online PMHNP programs?  

    • Most online PMHNP programs take 2-3 years to complete but can take up to 5 years. The actual length varies depending on your educational background, the level of PMHNP degree, and whether you attend school full or part-time.
  • How much do PMHNP programs cost?  

    • Most online PMHNP programs cost between $50,000 and $100,000. But, your tuition may vary depending on whether you attend a public or private college, full or part-time student status, and state residency.
  • What is a post-masters PMHNP program?  

    • Post-master's PMHNP programs are special tracks for students with non-nursing graduate-level degrees. These programs include core nursing courses, advanced practice nursing training, and specialty PMHNP courses.
  • What is a PMHNP Certificate Program?

    • PMHNP certificate programs are for students who already have an NP degree in another specialty. They allow NPs to specialize in psychiatric mental health without attending another MSN program. The shortest online PMHNP certificate programs last as little as 12 months.
*Indicates an affiliate link. At no additional cost to you, Nurse.org may earn a commission if you click through and use this service.
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
Nurse.org Contributor

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is a freelance writer and editor who is driven by details. She loves to dive into research, ensuring that the information she provides educates, engages and illuminates. Before starting her own business she spent years working in advertising and raising three kids. Today she lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where her she and her husband enjoy travel, the Jersey Shore, and spoiling their grandchildren.

Read More From Terri
Go to the top of page