FAQ: Are there any online PMHNP programs that do not require the GRE for admission?

Answer: Yes – There are online psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) degree programs that do not require applicants to submit GRE scores. In fact, this is true for many Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and post-master’s certificate programs in the specialty. However, the admission requirements for these programs vary by school, and there are some that do require submission of GRE scores as part of the application process. Students interested in pursuing a PMHNP degree program should carefully review all admission criteria before applying to fully understand the necessary requirements.

There are several different paths students can take to earn a graduate degree in the PMHNP specialty, each with its own set of standard admission criteria. In order to qualify for any of these programs, applicants must hold an active, unrestricted registered nurse (RN) license in their state of residence. Depending on the particular pathway students pursue, they will also need to possess an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from a school accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

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For students interested in an RN to MSN PMHNP program, some schools may accept a diploma in nursing in lieu of an ADN. In contrast, others actually require both an ADN and a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. Additionally, certain MSN to DNP PMHNP programs and post-master’s PHMNP certificate programs require students to already be certified in a different APRN specialty. For details about the different PMHNP degree paths and their admission requirements, check out our Online Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs page.

Instead of relying on standardized test scores, many online PMHNP degree programs have GPA requirements that applicants must meet in order to qualify for admission. Depending on the school and degree path, this requirement can range from a minimum GPA of 2.75 to a GPA of 3.5, but the typical threshold that students must meet is an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Some schools look at students’ overall undergraduate GPA to calculate this number, while others focus only on students’ GPA in undergraduate nursing courses. In most cases, applicants will need to submit transcripts from all their previous postsecondary institutions in order to verify past academic performance, as well as prove that they have completed any prerequisite courses required for enrollment. Often, students must complete certain undergraduate coursework in topics such as statistics or human physiology to be eligible for an online PMHNP program, with some degree paths, particularly DNP and post-master’s certificate programs, requiring more advanced training in areas like health assessment or pharmacology.

In many cases, students interested in pursuing an online PMHNP program will also need to have a certain amount of professional nursing experience to be eligible for enrollment. This varies by program, with many requiring one or more years of full-time nursing experience as an RN or APRN, depending on the degree path. Some PMHNP programs may even require that applicants already have some clinical experience in a psychiatric or mental health setting. During the admissions process, students typically must submit their resume, along with several letters of recommendation from past employers or instructors to verify this professional experience and confirm that they are qualified for advanced nursing instruction.

Students may be required to submit GRE test scores for certain online PMHNP programs. Some include them as part of the standard application process, while others only require them if applicants fail to meet other admission criteria. For example, a school might ask a student for GRE scores if their undergraduate GPA does not meet the program’s minimum threshold, and allow them to be accepted on a provisional basis. Other programs may not explicitly require the GRE for admission, but recommend that students submit their scores to increase their chances of being accepted. When researching online PMHNP programs, students should be sure to check with admissions staff to see if this is the case. It is important that prospective PMHNP students understand all the necessary admission requirements before applying to any degree program in the specialty.