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Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner


Millions of Americans have unmet mental health needs. Rise to the challenge: become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) in the top-ranked DNP program at Johns Hopkins and serve patients across the lifespan. You will learn to evaluate and treat concerns ranging from chronic conditions to acute crises.


Earn your online DNP through a curriculum focused on integrated mental health care delivered online with preceptors at clinical sites near you. With the added benefit of onsite course immersions and simulation, you will have the opportunity to travel to Baltimore and take advantage of the rich and varied learning opportunities found only at Johns Hopkins.


Graduates will be eligible to apply for American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) certification as a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP-BC).

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One in five American adults live with a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder, with even more gaps in access to care laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. Become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) in Johns Hopkins School of Nursing’s top-ranked DNP Advanced Practice track and help meet the deep demand for mental health services.

Students will have access to cutting-edge resources while learning to diagnose and manage acute and chronic mental health problems across the lifespan. Learn medicinal and therapeutic interventions while enhancing your skills in physical and psychosocial assessment, clinical decision-making, and health promotion and disease prevention. In addition to your NP training, the DNP provides you with the skills needed to develop, evaluate, advocate, and provide leadership to transform health care at the organizational or system level. The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing includes the use of the Perspectives of Psychiatry as an approach to the understanding and treatment of patients with psychiatric conditions. This inclusion offers systematic consideration of the patient's psychiatric condition from four perspectives: disease, dimensional, behavior, and life story.

DNP-prepared psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners will be able to:

  • Provide integrated mental health care for persons across the lifespan with mental health, substance use, and co-morbid mental and physical conditions
  • Provide a range of brief prevention, treatment and recovery services, as well as longer-term treatment and support for persons with persistent illnesses
  • Work in a variety of settings ranging from specialty behavioral health centers to primary care
  • Write prescriptions and order diagnostic tests
  • Demonstrate organizational and systems leadership for quality and safety in health care systems

DNP Final Project

DNP graduates remain in practice, leading cross-professional teams in the improvement and provision of informed quality healthcare. The knowledge, skills, and abilities to conduct such work is developed across the program and applied in the DNP final project.  The DNP final project is the student’s original work that establishes them as a Hopkins Nursing clinical scholar.

Project Requirements       DNP Projects


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Additional Information

View the recording of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner virtual information session.

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Priority Application Deadlines

Fall Entry
January 15

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Request Information

Speak with an admissions officer to learn more about our program.

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View Other DNP Tracks

Would you like to learn more about the other DNP Advanced Practice tracks?

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Tamar Rodney, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, CNE
Tamar Rodney
Mental health impacts every part of care. In order for physical health to be successful, we must address mental health at the same time.
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Admission Criteria

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree or an entry-level nursing master's degree from an ACEN or CCNE accredited college or university or an equivalent degree from a comparable foreign institution
  • Scholastic GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Applicants must submit evidence of current nursing license. Online students must have or obtain RN license from an authorized state.
  • One year of full-time RN experience preferred
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (both academic and professional references)*
  • Official Transcripts (from all previous colleges/universities)
  • Current Resume/CV
  • Goal statement
  • GRE scores are accepted but not required
  • Interview with faculty (if moved forward by admissions committee)
  • TOEFL or IELTS if English is not your first language

Information for applicants with international education

Admissions Application

*References should be recent, written for the purpose of your application to this program and from professors who know you as a student or employers who know you as a professional in a job setting preferably in a supervisory role. Personal references from colleagues, friends, or family members do not meet the requirement.


Undergraduate Statistics  Take at Hopkins Nursing. Course must be completed at a regionally accredited college or university with a letter grade of B or better. Grade of B- will not be accepted.


Students currently cannot conduct clinical activities in Louisiana, New York and Oregon. For more information, please contact an admissions representative. Students should be aware of additional state-specific  information for online programs.

Student Sponsorship

This program does not qualify for F-1 or J-1 student sponsorship. Legal Permanent Residents and non-immigrants who are otherwise physically present in the U.S. and in a status that allows for full or part-time study, may pursue this program.

Transfer of Credit

Transfer of credit is granted on an individual basis. Please see the transfer of credit policy and complete the form to make a request.

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Plan of Study

3 Year Plan

  • Fall I (11 Credits)
    • Biostatistics for Evidence-Based Practice (3)
    • Context of Healthcare for Advanced Nursing Practice (3)
    • Health Finance (2)
    • Human Growth and Development (1)
    • Health Information Systems and Patient Care Technology (2)
  • Spring I (14 Credits)
    • The Research Process and Its Application to Evidence-Based Practice (3)
    • Advanced Pathophysiology/Physiology (4)
    • Advanced Nursing Health Policy (2)
    • Philosophical, Theoretical & Ethical Basis of ANP (3)
    • Health Supervision (2)
  • Summer I (10 Credits)
    • Health Promotion and Risk Reduction Across the Lifespan (2)
    • Clinical Pharmacology (4)
    • Problem Discovery (2, 56 cl)
    • Nursing Inquiry for Evidence-Based Practice (2)
  • Fall II (12 Credits)
    • Advanced Health Assessment and Measurement (3)
    • Organizational and Systems Leadership (2)
    • Neurobiology of Mental Disorders (1)
    • Psychotherapeutic Frameworks and Modalities (2)
    • Differential Diagnosis of Mental Disorders (2)
  • Spring II (9)
    • Diagnostics Skills and Procedures for APN (2)
    • Clinical Practicum I – Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (4, 224cl)
    • Clinical Reasoning I (1)
    • Project Advancement (2)
  • Summer II ( 9 Credits)
    • Clinical Reasoning II (1)
    • Clinical Practicum 1I – Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (5, 280cl)
    • Analysis &Evaluation of Individual & Population Health (3)
  • Fall III (9 Credits)
    • Nursing Inquiry for EBP (3)
    • Clinical Practicum IV - Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (4, 224 cl)
    • Project Application (2, 56 cl)
  • Spring III (10)
    • Translating Evidence into Practice (3)
    • Clinical Data Management and Analyses (2)
    • Project Evaluation and Dissemination (2, 56 cl)
    • Clinical Practicum IV - Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (3 168 cl)
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Tuition & Other Costs

(September 2022 - August 2023 ESTIMATED COSTS)

Tuition: $52,3311 (full-time per year)
Health Fee: $849
Matriculation fee: $500 (one time only fee for first-time enrolled JHU students)
Health Insurance: $4,3572
Total Billed Expenses: $58,037

Estimated Other Expenses3

Room and Board: $21,024
Books & Supplies: $1,500
Loan fees: $1,716
Personal Expenses: $2,868
Travel Expenses: $5,112
Total Expenses: $90,257

1Full-time: 9 credits per semester. Tuition is based on an estimated per credit cost for 2022-23 of $1,919 per credit and is less for students enrolling in less than full-time.

2All students must have health coverage.  Purchase of the School’s plan is optional.

3Amounts for other expenses vary based upon student's selection of books, supplies, and living arrangements.

Billed expenses are subject to change without prior notice. Changes to a student’s program or course load may result in additional tuition charges and fees.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a DNP?

    The DNP is a doctoral degree focused on the clinical practice of nursing. The degree represents the highest academic preparation for nursing practice. The DNP curriculum focuses on the knowledge needed to provide comprehensive direct care across settings. It can be conferred in conjunction with any specialty in advanced practice.

  • What academic preparation is preferred in a DNP Advanced Practice candidate?

    A strong foundation in courses such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment with a grade of B or above is one key to success.

  • What is the program of study?

    The curricular content will enable the graduate to make complex diagnoses, provide evidence-based treatment modalities, utilize sophisticated informatics and decision-making technology, and assimilate in-depth knowledge of biophysical, psychosocial, behavioral and clinical sciences.

  • How is this different from current APN practice?

    The expanded competencies of the Doctor of Nursing Practice enable graduates to independently provide complex care across all settings including ambulatory, acute, community and home settings. For example, the expanded curriculum will focus on the utilization of evidence-based decision-making to admit and co-manage hospitalized patients, to provide advice and treatment initiated over the phone, and to initiate specialist referrals and evaluate the subsequent advice and initiate and participate in co-management.

  • How long will it take?

    Three year plan only.

  • Can I work while in the program?

    The DNP Advanced Practice Track is completed over a 3- or 4-year period.  Students who are enrolled in the 4-year plan may be able to work in the first year as a Registered Nurse in settings that offer flexible scheduling.  As students begin to take specialized courses that prepare them for the respective role (i.e., NP or CNS), they will be engaged in settings to learn their future role and in which the DNP Scholarly Project is situated. Hence, it will be challenging to maintain employment that is not flexible beyond the first year.

  • How does the DNP differ from the PhD or other research doctorates?

    The DNP, or clinical doctorate, prepares the graduate to practice independently with the most complex patients, in any setting where the patient requires care, utilizing complicated informatics and evidence-based decision-making. Research doctorates prepare graduates to initiate and conduct sophisticated research projects, serving as the principal investigator.

  • How many credits can I transfer?

    The school accepts up to six credits of transfer from outside the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Once admitted into the program you can request to transfer credits by completing the transfer of graduate credit form.

  • What academic terms do students attend?

    The School of Nursing follows the regular academic schedule (prospective students should note that these courses are not self-paced). Students are enrolled for the fall, spring, and summer terms. Prospective students should refer to the plans of study found on the curriculum pages for each specialty.

  • What is the cost per credit hour?

    Please visit School of Nursing’s Tuition and Fees page for the current program costs.

  • How are courses delivered?

    The program is offered online with preceptors at clinical sites near you and onsite course immersions and simulation that give you the opportunity to travel to Baltimore and take advantage of the rich and varied learning opportunities at Johns Hopkins.

  • How will I get clinical experience if I don’t have experience working as a RN?

    The DNP program requires a minimum of 1000 practice hours.  The majority of these hours will be in the clinical practicum where you will apply what you learn in the theory courses to gain the competence required for your particular specialty.  The balance of the practice hours are devoted to the DNP practicum which focuses on the DNP Scholarly Project. Ideally, you will have one-year of RN experience before starting the first specialty clinical.

  • How many students are in a class?

    Many of the core courses will be taken by all DNP Advanced Practice students at the same time. This could be as many as 60 students. However, the track specialty courses will be taken with only students in that specific specialty. In clinical courses, there is a ratio of 1 to 6 students per clinical instructor with each student assigned to a preceptor.

  • Do we attend the same classes with our cohort?

    Students in the same specialty and the same plan of study will move through as a cohort. 

  • If I have a specific area that I would like to focus in, for example oncology, are there additional electives I can take or other opportunities where I could gain more insight and experience in that particular area? 

    It is possible for students to negotiate a clinical site within their area of interest, but these cannot be guaranteed. The DNP Scholarly Project could allow students to identify a problem within a specific area and bring that together with the specialty role. 

  • How are clinical sites for clinical practicum determined? 

    Clinical practicum experiences are determined by the student’s NP or CNS focus area, student interest, site and preceptor availability, and the student’s programmatic needs. The student will work collaboratively with the specialty Track Coordinator and the Clinical Placement Team to request sites and preceptors, with final approval by the Track Coordinator. There will be an orientation to the Exxat software system where the student will take responsibility to complete requests and upload appropriate documentation. The Clinical Placement Team will work with each student several months prior to a placement to ensure a site contract is in place. Closer to the clinical semester preceptors will be requested through the placement office. The student is encouraged to work collaboratively and proactively with the team on an all-hands approach for optimal preceptor opportunities.

  • What is included in a DNP Project?

    The American Association of Colleges of Nursing requires that all DNP Projects should:

    1. Focus on a change that impacts healthcare outcomes either through direct or indirect care.
    2. Have a systems (micro-, meso-, or macro- level) or population/aggregate focus.
    3. Demonstrate implementation in the appropriate arena or area of practice.
    4. Include a plan for sustainability (e.g. financial, systems or political realities, not only theoretical abstractions).
    5. Include an evaluation of processes and/or outcomes (formative or summative). DNP Projects should be designed so that processes and/or outcomes will be evaluated  to guide practice and policy. Clinical significance is as important in guiding practice as statistical significance is in evaluating research.
    6. Provide a foundation for future practice scholarship.
  • What is the process for the DNP practicum?

    There are four DNP Scholarly Project courses that sequentially reflect the stages of evidence based practice quality improvement: Problem Discovery, Project Advancement, Project Application, and Project Evaluation and Dissemination. Each of the four courses has incorporated practicum hours. The DNP Scholarly Project is situated in the clinical setting where the student will carry it out.  As the project is a quality improvement focus, key stakeholders in the practice setting are necessary to identify clinical problems they want to address and for which they want to partner with a student or team of students. See your plan of study for the number of practicum hours associated with each course associated with the DNP Scholarly Project. 

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Funding Opportunities

Scholarships & Grants

Grants are awards based on financial need that do not have to be repaid. Many students also benefit from scholarships and awards based on merit.

Scholarships & Grants


Many students will avail themselves of loans to help finance their School of Nursing education. If necessary, we encourage you to borrow only what is absolutely essential to cover your educational costs.



Many students locate part-time employment to help pay education expenses. Numerous positions are available on campus and within various community based organizations. These jobs provide students with opportunities to gain practical work experience. Most positions are funded through the Federal Work-Study Program. 


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