Academically challenging and rigorous, the UW-Madison online Certificate in Post-Graduate Psychiatric Nursing prepares you to address the serious need for psychiatric mental health services, particularly in rural and underserved populations.

Is this Program Right for You?

As a practicing nurse, you may already work with patients needing psychiatric mental health services and respond to the challenges of their care. An online certificate in Post-Graduate Psychiatric Nursing from the UW-Madison School of Nursing provides you with the skills and knowledge to be an expert mental health practitioner in your community, no matter where your career takes you. Numerous vacancies for psychiatric advanced practice nurses mean that our graduates can often select the placement that meets their lifestyle and location preferences.


As a student in our certificate program, you will complete four semesters of foundation content and clinical application, with time spent working online, in your community, and on the UW-Madison campus. As part of a very small cohort of nurses, you will get to know your peers and our faculty very well. With support from each other, you will improve your ability to deliver complex diagnoses, expand your knowledge and understanding of psychiatric nursing methods, and improve the care of psychiatric patients in underserved populations.


Taught by board certified faculty from the UW-Madison School of Nursing, our certificate in Post-Graduate Psychiatric Nursing gives you the benefits of studying at home, learning in your community, and collaborating on our campus. This blended approach provides access to our courses even if you live several hours from Madison. You will complete readings and discussions online. Then, you will join us for two classes, once each month, on the UW-Madison campus, where you, your fellow students, and your professors will collaborate to improve your health care proficiencies.


You will also work two full days per week in clinical practice. Our faculty will actively seek to secure for you a clinical placement that provides you with a balance of skills and breadth of professional experience across the full lifespan of patients, while doing their best to accommodate your family and professional responsibilities.


You will complete your Post-Graduate Psychiatric Nursing Capstone Certificate in just sixteen months. During that period, you’ll contribute a great deal of hard work and a significant expenditure of time for your clinical training and coursework. The rewards make it all worthwhile.


What You Learn

  • Apply concepts of psychopharmacology to assess, monitor, evaluate, and educate patients across their lifespan
  • Make clinical decisions that connect concepts of health promotion, illness prevention, and common health conditions, with a population focus; includes complex and chronic health conditions and coordination of complex care across systems and settings
  • Apply advanced mental health assessment skills
  • Collaborate with faculty and a clinical preceptor to build clinical leadership skills

Where & How You Learn


  • Online plus monthly face-to-face sessions at UW-Madison


  • Each semester, take one foundation course online (including readings, case studies, and etc.) and one clinical course (totaling 170 clinical practice hours)
  • Each month, come to the UW-Madison campus for two classes; classes usually meet on Wednesdays
  • Each week, spend 20-25 hours at a clinical site and working on course assignments

Apply Now

All applicants must:

  • Thoroughly review the admission requirements and admissions frequently asked questions
  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing program
  • Have a master’s degree from an accredited nursing program
  • Have an RN license
  • Have certification as an advanced practice nurse or be eligible (meet all requirements) to apply for certification as an advanced practice nurse
  • Have completed prerequisite courses in advanced assessment across the lifespan, pathophysiology, and pharmacotherapeutics prior to starting the certificate
  • Complete an online application
  • Submit three letters of recommendation
  • Submit your Post Graduate Education Statement, Application Checklist, Psychiatric Nursing Transcript Instruction Sheet, transcripts, curriculum vitae or résumé, photocopy of nursing license from current state of residence, and a photocopy of advanced practice certification if you are an APN; international applicants must also submit an English proficiency test score

Apply Now or For More Information.