The UW–Madison School of Nursing offers this hybrid Post-Graduate Psychiatric Nursing Capstone Certificate.  It provides the opportunity for nurses who already hold a Master's or doctoral degree in advanced practice nursing to gain skills and knowledge to be an expert mental health practitioner.

The certificate program requires a minimum of 18 credits. It begins in summer and takes a year and a half to complete. Students spend the first summer taking a three credit psychopharmacology course. During the fall/spring/fall semesters, students take one foundation course and one application course, which brings together classroom and online learning with clinical experiences. Students spend a full day on campus every other week for class meetings and spend two to three days per week in clinical placements. This blended approach provides access to courses even for those who live outside of Madison, with readings and discussions online.

Students work two full days per week in clinical practice. Faculty will actively seek to secure a clinical placement that provides a balance of skills and breadth of professional experience across the full lifespan of patients, while doing their best to accommodate the student's family and professional responsibilities. Students will be expected to travel for their clinical placement.

The Post-Graduate Psychiatric Nursing Capstone Certificate will be completed in just 18 months.

Further detail, including current tuition and costs, is available at the program's website or by contacting the School of Nursing.

UW–Madison School of Nursing
Signe Skott Cooper Hall
701 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
Phone: 608-263-5200

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing program
  • Master’s degree from an accredited nursing program
  • RN license
  • Certification as an advanced practice nurse or eligible to apply for certification as an advanced practice nurse
  • Completion of prerequisite courses in advanced assessment across the lifespan, pathophysiology, and pharmacotherapeutics prior to starting the certificate

The School of Nursing conducts a holistic review of all application materials. Regardless of experience level, ideal candidates possess a desire to improve their ability to deliver complex care and expand their knowledge and understanding of the specialty. The program seeks candidates who are committed to providing care to underserved populations in need of services. Since the program requires a significant time expenditure for clinical training and coursework, candidates must understand these demands and indicate they are prepared to make time in their schedules accordingly.

Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) is the admitting office for all University Special students. However, the School of Nursing which offers the capstone certificate program makes the final admission decision upon review of all applicant materials.

ADMISSIONS TIMELINE

  • Application opens: Early September
  • Application deadline: February 1. All materials, including transcripts, must be received by the deadline.
  • Applications reviewed: February-March
  • Notification of admission decision: April
  • Program start date: The program begins with the summer session.

REVIEW OF APPLICATIONS

We conduct a holistic review of all application materials. Regardless of experience level, ideal candidates possess a desire to improve their ability to deliver complex care and expand their knowledge and understanding of the specialty. We also look for candidates who are committed to providing care to underserved populations in need of services. Our program requires a significant time expenditure for clinical training and coursework, and we look for candidates who understand these demands and are prepared to make time in their schedules accordingly.

TO APPLY

Note: More guidance regarding application materials is available on the Frequently Asked Questions tab.

  1. Apply for this Capstone Certificate as a University Special Student through the Division of Continuing Studies
    • Reason for Applying = Capstone Certificate
    • Program = Post Graduate Psychiatric Nursing Program (UNCS830)
  2. Seek three (3) letters of recommendation
  3. Submit the following materials:
    • Application Checklist (download from this page)
    • Psychiatric Nursing Transcript Instruction Sheet (download from this page)
    • Official transcripts
    • Postgraduate Education Statement
    • Curriculum vitae or resume
    • Photocopy of nursing license from your current state of residence
    • Photocopy of advanced practice certification (if you are an APN)

SUBMIT ALL MATERIALS TO:

PMHC Coordinator/Graduate Admissions
UW–Madison School of Nursing
Suite 1100 Cooper Hall
701 Highland Avenue
Madison WI 53705

ENROLLMENT

Admitted students receive a formal letter of admission to UW–Madison from Adult Career and Special Student Services along with general enrollment information.  Additional detail is provided on the ACSSS enrollment page

The Graduate Academic Services Coordinator will send an email to admitted students with specific information pertaining to enrollment in and completion of the capstone program. 

The program begins each summer term. All coursework is completed by the end of the fall term in the second year of the program.

N590 Pediatric Assessment for Mental Health APNs is a 1 credit course designed to supplement the previously taken assessment content for advanced practice nurses who are not already certified across the lifespan. Those students already certified across the lifespan do not need to complete this course.

Semester 1Credits
NURSING 6573
 3
Semester 2Credits
NURSING 7263
NURSING 7282
 5
Semester 3Credits
NURSING 7273
NURSING 7292
 5
Semester 4Credits
NURSING 590 (Pediatric Assessment for Mental Health APNs (optional))1
 1
Semester 5Credits
NURSING 8263
NURSING 8282
 5
Total Credits 19

1. Conduct a comprehensive and systematic assessment of health and illness parameters in complex situations, incorporating diverse and culturally sensitive approaches.

2. Design, implement, and evaluate therapeutic interventions based on nursing science and other sciences.

3. Develop and sustain therapeutic relationships and partnerships with patients (individual, family,  or group) and other professionals to facilitate optimal care and patient outcomes.

4. Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment, systems thinking, and accountability in designing, delivering, and evaluating evidence-based care to improve patient outcomes.

5. Guide, mentor, and support other nurses to achieve excellence in nursing practice.

6. Educate and guide individuals and groups through complex health and situational  transitions.

7. Use conceptual and analytical skills in evaluating the links among practice, organizational,  population, fiscal, and policy issues.

Accreditation

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Accreditation status: Next accreditation review: 2026-2027.