DNP: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

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Rise to the Challenge

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.

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

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.

Program Details

Tuition & Fees

Estimated Tuition Cost: $1,939 per credit See Cost of Attendance Details
Financial Aid: There are numerous options for financing your education including grants, scholarships, federal loans, and employment programs. Learn more.

Upcoming Deadlines

Fall entry: Nov 1 and Jan 15


 No. 1 in the nation for its Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (DNP)


No. 2 in the nation for its Nursing Master’s Program (MSN)


No. 3 nursing school in the world, according to 2023 QS World University rankings


This program is offered in the online with course immersions format. Program may be completed in 76 credits and provides 1040 clinical hours and 160 DNP practicum hours. Please note below the semesters in which an onsite visit is required.

Plan of Study

For Current Students Admitted Fall 2023 and prior, please reference your Plan of Study.

3 Year Plan

  • Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology I (2)

  • Clinical Pharmacology I (2)

  • Biostatistics for Evidence Based Practice (2)

  • Health Promotion and Risk Reduction Across the Lifespan (2)

  • Advanced Nursing Health Policy (2)

  • Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology II (2)

  • Clinical Pharmacology II (2)

  • Organization Systems and Leadership (2)

  • Advanced Health Assessment and Measurement (3)

  • Human Growth, Development and Supervision: Birth to Adolescent (2)

  • Elective (2)

  • The Research Process and its Application to EBP (2)

  • Diagnostics Skills and Procedures for Psych APN (1)

  • Intro to PMHNP practice-Interview Techniques (2)

  • Neurobiology of Mental Disordersy (1)

  • Health Finance (2)

  • Clinical Psychopharmacology (2)

  • Differential Diagnosis of Mental Disorders (3)

  • Psychotherapeutic Frameworks and Modalities (2)

  • Nursing Inquiry for Evidence-Based Practice (3)

  • Problem Discovery (2)

  • Clinical Reasoning I: PMHNP Practicum: Adult/Gero (1)

  • Clinical Practicum I (3, 240cl)

  • Integrated Care I (1)

  • Translating Evidence into Practice (2)

  • Project Advancement (3, 80PPR)

  • Clinical Reasoning II PMHNP practicum: Peds/Family (1)

  • Clinical Practicum II (2, 160cl)

  • Analysis and Evaluation of Individual and Population Health Data (2)

  • Health Information Systems and Patient Care Technologies (2)

  • DNP 3 Practicum with Advisors (2, 80PPR)

  • Clinical Practicum III (4, 320cl)

  • Integrated Care II (1)

  • Clinical Data Analysis and Management (2)

  • Practicum with Advisors (2)

  • Clinical Practicum IV (4, 320cl)

  • Elective (1)

* Curriculum, credit hours, and sequencing are subject to change.
** Up to 8 credits can be applied from the JHSON MSN (Entry into Nursing) Program to the DNP Advanced Practice Track.
*** A minimum of 1000 practice hours is required for DNP.
****Transfer of credit is granted on an individual basis. Please see the transfer of credit policy and complete the form to make a request.

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

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Tuition & Other Costs

Financial aid

View the costs for the DNP Advanced Practice Program.
2023 – 2024

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. Learn more.

Loans: 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. Learn more.

Employment: 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. Learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

Three year plan only.

The DNP Advanced Practice Track is completed over a 3-year period. As students begin to take specialized courses that prepare them for the respective role, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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. 

Clinical practicum experiences are determined by the student’s advanced practice 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 an electronic software system where the student will take responsibility to complete requests and upload appropriate documentation.  Students will be working with the Clinical Placement Team from the time they enter the program until they graduate. The Clinical Placement Team will be a part of advising sessions, orientation and immersions.  The student is encouraged to work collaboratively and proactively with the team on an all-hands approach for optimal preceptor opportunities. Unauthorized states for clinicals include LA, NY and OR.

Admitted students who decide to enroll will be required to sign the “Student Expectations in the Clinical Placements Process” document prior to their first term in the program.

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.

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. 

  • At least one letter should come from a recent or current direct supervisor/manager (the person who is responsible for your performance evaluation)

  • At least one letter should come from an academic faculty member who can speak to your ability to successfully complete a demanding graduate level academic and clinical program.

  • The third letter can come from a second academic faculty member or an individual in a leadership position who can speak to your clinical abilities.

  • Personal references from colleagues, friends, or family members do not meet the requirement.

  • If you are unable to provide one of the reference letters above, please upload a statement of explanation to your application.

Please include the following information in your resume or CV:

  • Work experience (include dates, sites and locations; paid and unpaid; any residency participation)

  • Education Background

  • Scholarly activities (research, presentations, publications, honors, awards)

  • Professional activities (leadership, certifications, professional organization membership, service on committees)

  • Community Service/Volunteerism

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