7-1-7 Model 

Take one course at a time, with a break between

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Two Degrees

Earn your BSN degree along the way

enrollment to graduation

Dedicated Support

From Enrollment to Graduation

RN to MSN-PMHNP Program

Provide Critical Access to Psychiatric Mental Healthcare in Your Community

Communities across the United States are reporting significant shortages of mental health professionals to treat mental health and substance abuse disorders, a rising concern since the pandemic. Accelerate your career and expand your scope of practice by becoming a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner through an online, faith-based program that aligns with your life and values. 

Spring Arbor University’s online RN to MSN Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program will equip you with the clinical expertise to diagnose and treat psychiatric and mental health conditions for patients across the lifespan. As a student in the online RN to PMHNP you will: 

  • Establish an advanced clinical practice for assessing, diagnosing, and intervening in individuals, groups, and families' dysfunctional coping patterns and psychiatric disorders.
  • Develop skills to serve patients with major psychiatric disorders, considering factors like epidemiology, age, socioeconomic background, cultural norms and level of disease risk.
  • Deliver compassionate care and advocate for the healthcare needs of underserved populations, as exemplified by the Christian worldview.
  • Earn your BSN degree along the way, so you can gain the benefits of working as a BSN-prepared nurse.
  • Continue working full-time as you earn your degree on your schedule.
  • Learn from highly educated, talented faculty who build close relationships with students in small class sizes.
  • Graduate prepared to take the national PMHNP certification exam (PMHNP-BC™)*.

SAU is CCNE-accredited and recognized by Colleges of Distinction for its engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes.

NUR712 Neurobiology and Psychopathology Across the Lifespan

This course builds on the knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology, providing a rigorous examination of neurobiology as it relates to mental health disorders across the lifespan. Students will explore the relationship between neurobiology and psychopathology, examining epidemiology and etiology of select mental health disorders. Emphasis will be placed on genetics, development, and trauma as they relate to neurobiology and psychopathology. This course introduces the students to mental health assessment strategies that are sensitive to the psychosocial needs of mental health clients. 

NUR713 Psychopharmacology Across the Lifespan

This course builds on the knowledge of neurobiology and psychopathology, applying evidence-based principles and best practices related to psychopharmacology to treat psychiatric mental health disorders across the lifespan. Students will gain advanced knowledge about pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, neuro-pharmacological mechanisms, risks, benefits, and adverse effects of psychotropic medications. Focus will be on examination and application of neuropsychopharmacology and diagnostic reasoning with a focus on comorbid physical and mental health conditions commonly seen in psychiatric/mental health settings. Integration of psychotherapeutic interventions in the treatment planning of psychiatric mental health symptoms and disorders will be explored. Pre-Requisite: NUR 712

Program Details
  • 4-year program
  • 82 credits total
  • 570 clinical hours
  • One 3-day campus residency during the third year

Designed for Working Nurses

  • Online, asynchronous coursework
  • 4 intakes per year
  • Take one seven-week course at a time and enjoy a week off in between
  • Flexible login times — complete your assignments on your schedule

Inspiring Outcomes

  • Ranked on a national and regional level for its academic quality and value
  • One of the top fastest-growing job fields in nursing 
Admission Requirements
  • Associate degree in nursing or diploma in nursing leading to RN licensure
  • Official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended
  • 3.0 GPA calculated from the most recent 60 academic credits
  • An unrestricted, unencumbered, current nursing license from the state of employment; license must be kept current throughout the program
  • Short personal statement
  • Completed online application
NUR714 Advanced Practice in Psychiatric-Mental Health I: Adults

This course will focus on developing advanced knowledge and skills required to assess, diagnose, and interpret appropriate screening tools, laboratory tests, and behavioral assessments related to mental health disorders affecting adults and older adults. This course examines major adult disorders; looking at epidemiology, health and mental health promotion and prevention, risk factors, taxonomy, cultural factors, assessment issues specific to adults and older adults, use of rating scales, as well as evidence-based adult-specific treatments. Individual therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychopharmacological interventions, trauma-based interventions, and combinations of these treatments will all be emphasized. Students will develop treatment plans to address the psychiatric mental health disorders affecting this population

NUR780-M PMHNP Clinical Practicum

This course builds on previous knowledge and practice of care of individuals and families, evidence-based practice for the advanced practice nurse, and theoretical application of care for the psychiatric mental health population across the lifespan. Health promotion, health protection, health maintenance, health restoration, and disease prevention at the individual and family level are emphasized. Students will be engaged in mastering competencies introduced, practiced, and evaluated progressively over the clinical experience. Students will work closely with a clinical preceptor and nursing faculty to gain experience in assessment, primary prevention, and intervention with populations with mental illness or at risk for mental illness, developing, implementing, and evaluating psychiatric mental health care across the lifespan. The application of legal, ethical, and policy issues for the psychiatric mental health population will be addressed throughout the course. Students should plan to engage in different clinical placements over the course to gain a wide variety of clinical experiences. Pre-requisite: NUR 712 

Program Tuition

Spring Arbor University (SAU) is recognized as a “Best Value” school by U.S. News & World Report. The online RN to MSN Psych Mental Health NP program provides academic quality with competitively priced tuition of $621/$782 per credit hour.

You may also be eligible to receive financial aid. SAU will work with you to determine any benefits for which you qualify, including student aid, military discounts and tax benefits.

Accreditations & State Authorization

The nursing programs at Spring Arbor University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE),* which ensures students, employers and graduate nursing programs that SAU graduates have received an education that meets CCNE’s rigorous standards. 

*The master's degree program in nursing at Spring Arbor University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791. Graduates are prepared to take the national PMHNP certification exam (PMHNP-BC™)*

RN to PMHNP Fast Facts
Upcoming Start Dates

Next application deadline:

  • July 30, 2024

Next start date:

  • September 3, 2024
Online RN to PMHNP Program Curriculum

This in-demand specialization concentration is taught by faculty who draw on their own experiences providing psychiatric mental health care. Below are a few sample courses in this degree.

For a complete listing of courses, download a program guide.

How long will it take to complete my degree?

SAU’s online RN to MSN-PMHNP program can be completed in as few as 48 months.

Example Site - Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
What is the duration of SAU Online courses?

Enjoy a week off in between classes with our 7-1-7 model (7-week courses, 1-week breaks).

How many people are in each class?

Typically, our nursing classes have 20-25 students.

What are the entrance requirements for the RN to PMHNP Program?

To be accepted in SAU Online’s RN-MSN programs, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Associate degree from an accredited program or diploma in nursing
  • Official transcripts
  • A 3.0 GPA calculated from the most recent 60 academic credits
  • Short personal statement
  • Current nursing license
  • Online application
PMHNP Facts and Figures

PMHNP’s can make up to 50% more than RNs


52% growth anticipated in Nurse Practitioner roles by 2030


18% of adults in the U.S live with some form of mental illness


There are only enough mental health care professionals available across the country to meet roughly 26% of the need for services

RN to Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Career Outlook

Over half of U.S. counties have no practicing psychiatrists, according to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. Help fill the critical need for psychiatric-mental healthcare through Spring Arbor University's online RN to MSN Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program.

Similar to psychiatrists, PMHNPs can prescribe medication, perform examinations, diagnose illnesses and provide treatment for patients with mental health disorders and substance abuse problems.

PMHNPs are becoming increasingly integral to medical teams as more hospitals and healthcare facilities utilize their expertise. In some states, PMHNPs can practice independently.


PMHNPs may work in:

  • Mental health private practice
  • Inpatient centers
  • Public health organizations
  • Schools and universities
  • Correctional institutions

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual wage of PMHNPs is $125,000, which is 50 percent higher than RNs (American Association of Nurse Practitioners). PMHNPs also tend to earn higher salaries than nurse practitioners certified in other specialties.

Grow as a Christ-Centered Nurse

At Spring Arbor University, it is a privilege to provide a Christ-centered nursing education to our students and to participate in their journey. You will grow spiritually, personally and professionally throughout this program and will gain a better understanding of what it means to live out your faith as a nurse. 

While the Christian faith is the foundation of our program, we welcome all students regardless of personal faith. All students will benefit from introspection and critical thinking as they consider how to meaningfully care for patients of different faith backgrounds.

Watch this video for more information on our faith-based philosophy.