This certificate program prepares nurse practitioners to fill the workforce gaps in the mental health system, offering an important perspective on both the physical and mental health needs of people who seek care.

This certificate fills a significant and severe community need, preparing advanced practice psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) to provide advanced mental health treatment to individuals with mental health disorders. Advanced care includes the capacity to use individual and family counseling, as well as prescribe and manage psychiatric medications. These advanced mental health treatments are built on a foundation of advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment.


Career Outlook and Opportunities

Psychiatric care professionals are in demand. Un-met behavioral needs are a significant problem locally and across the country. CDC research indicates that over 20% of those being seen in primary care offices have behavioral health needs. Traditional behavioral health has not managed to meet the needs of this population. A report by the National Council for Behavioral Health (pdf) states by 2025 the demand for psychiatrists will outstrip supply by 25% (15,600 psychiatrists). Additionally, AAMC 2015 data stated that 60% of the practicing psychiatric population was over 55, and nearing retirement age, which will make demand greater. GVSU has recognized the need for mental healthcare is now offering a Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Certificate to fill it. This certificate is a tremendous opportunity for Nurse Practitioners who would like to be PMHNPs and address the regional and national gap.

The Skills Employers Want

This unique certificate at GVSU will develop the skills Nurse Practitioners need to get the job they want. Whether advanced or general, the following skills correlate with those pulled from actual job postings in Michigan.

Advanced Skills

  • Mental Health
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Behavioral Health
  • Mental Diseases
  • Treatment Planning
  • Mental Status Examination

Common Skills

  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Research
  • Written Communication
  • Consulting

Source: EMSI, 2019.

Course Offerings

Courses focus on growth and development across a person's lifespan, psychopharmacology, theories of mental health and personality, treatment modalities (individual, group, and family), and practicum experiences. The following pre-requisite courses must be completed before beginning the program: NUR 620 Clinical Pharmacology, NUR 610 Advanced Assessment, and Diagnostic Reasoning, and NUR 621 Clinical Pathophysiology.

The certificate content will be delivered in a series of six courses that can be completed in four semesters:

  • NUR 628—Psychopharmacology for Advanced Practice
  • NUR 631—Human Development Across the Lifespan
  • NUR 676—Theoretical Perspectives: Mental Health
  • NUR 677—Mental Health Practicum:  Diagnosis and Treatment of Individuals
  • NUR 678—Mental Health Practicum:  Group and Family Therapy
  • NUR 679—Advanced Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Practicum


Applications accepted throughout the year for fall cohort start. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University. Please visit the graduate application page.

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA at the graduate level.
  • Graduate of accredited Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) MSN or DNP program with a specialty focus of Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Nurse Practitioner (NP), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
  • Licensed as a registered nurse (RN) in the State of Michigan.
  • Completed online application, with an educational and professional goal statement and writing sample.
  • Curriculum vitae or resume.
  • Interview with KCON faculty.
  • Successful completion of a background check and drug screen, as well as compliance with health records, immunizations, and other KCON graduate program requirements.



For more information on tuition and fees, scholarship search, and filing for FAFSA, please visit the GVSU financial aid website.

Note: Grand Valley does not charge a higher tuition rate based on residency. Tuition is based on the program in which you chose to enroll.


When you became a Laker, you opened up a lifetime of learning, and now alumni like you can use your Laker Lifetime Learning (L3) account for classes that provide greater knowledge and new skills. Your account is waiting for you to use for future classes at GVSU. All you have to do is click on the button below to find out more.

Find Out More About Your Laker Lifetime Learning Account (L3)

Page last modified April 30, 2020