Program Details

The Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing program is a 45-credit degree completion program designed for RPNs who wish to pursue their passion for psychiatric/mental health nursing by further extending their knowledge and skills in their chosen field. The program brings together RPNs from diverse backgrounds who share a commitment to engage in academic scholarship and contribute to optimal wellness of individuals, families, groups and communities.

Core and elective coursework is outlined in the program of study.

The BPN program has two intakes per year:

  • Fall term (September)
  • Winter term (January)

Graduate Outcomes

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing program, graduates will:

  • Promote excellence in psychiatric nursing by practicing in accordance with: (a) professional, ethical and legal standards, (b) health care and societal needs, and (c) the demands of the health care delivery system.
  • Integrate political and global perspectives in applying nursing and psychiatric nursing knowledge and skills to the promotion of optimal wellness (with consideration of physiological, psychological, developmental, socio-cultural and spiritual variables) for individuals, families, groups, and communities as context.
  • Synthesize empirical and theoretical knowledge from the humanistic, scientific, general and psychiatric nursing perspectives in formulating professional practice decisions.
  • Integrate therapeutic communication skills at an advanced level in conjunction with health education, counselling, and implementation of a range of specialized therapies/modalities for individuals, families, groups and communities.
  • Employ critical reflectivity and integrate principles of social justice in the analysis of mental health and practice issues and the provision of safe, competent, ethical care with diverse populations.
  • Challenge assumptions and serve as an advocate for change on societal and practice issues that impact the mental health of communities.
  • Utilize and contribute to research that advances psychiatric/mental health nursing knowledge, evidence-informed practice and best practices.
  • Utilize technology and other resources to support on-going learning and professional psychiatric nursing practice.
  • Provide leadership in autonomous and collaborative practice with inter-professional team members.

Degree Regulations

Degree Regulations for the 2017-18 academic year

Program Time Limits - Exemption for the Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing Program

A student in the Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing program (BPN) has five years from the first day of the term of acceptance to complete all requirements to be eligible for a credential (C2075 Program Time Limits).

Academic Residency

Meeting of the academic residency requirement for the Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing degree program requires completion of a minimum of 23 program credits through MacEwan University, including the 4-credit Capstone Course (PNRS 423). Courses completed to meet the admission requirements or completed through other institutions and assigned transfer credit, if any, cannot be used to meet the program’s residency requirement.

Required English Course

Learners who do not have a three-credit post-secondary English course at the time of admission to this program will be required to complete the course prior to the second term of study (Policy C1030, Required English Course).

Registration Requirements

Achievement of optimal learning outcomes is facilitated through concurrent assimilation of knowledge with practice. Learners completing the BPN program in Canada must therefore maintain a current active practice permit as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) in Canada and be in good standing with the regulatory body. Those completing the program outside of Canada must maintain current registration on the practice register as a psychiatric/mental health nurse in the other country. Learners wishing to temporarily change to non-practicing status must do so in consultation with the department chair.

Elective/Option Requirements

The Program of Study for this program enables learner choice in the selection of the three specified 3-credit baccalaureate theory course options (statistics course, philosophy course at the 200 level or higher, and social science course at the 200 level or higher) and two electives (Open and Senior elective). The Open Elective (100 level or higher) and Senior Elective (200 level or higher) exclude subject codes PNRS and NURS and may be chosen to extend knowledge within an area of interest. A post-secondary English course completed to meet the English course requirement cannot be used to meet an Elective requirement for this program.

Progression of Studies

Learners are responsible for ensuring they meet the prerequisite and/or co-requisite requirements as specified in descriptions for program courses. Some flexibility in sequencing of courses is permitted, provided that specified pre- and co-requisites are adhered to. Course registration is required for participation in all program courses.

Professional Code of Conduct

Learners must adhere to the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Code of Ethics and Standards of Psychiatric Nursing Practice, the professional code of conduct and the confidentiality agreements signed with MacEwan University and, as applicable, work integrated learning host agencies.

Program Standards

Learners admitted to this program are presumed to be capable of fulfilling the academic requirements of the program with, if applicable, provision of reasonable accommodation. The reasonable accommodation of learners with disabilities shall not require the university to lower its standards, academic or otherwise, nor shall it relieve a learner of the responsibility to develop and demonstrate the essential skills and competencies expected of all learners pursuing this program (Policy E3400, Students with Disabilities).

Police Information Check

A current, clear Police Information Check (PIC) that includes a Vulnerable Sector Search is required for program admission. This check must be completed no earlier than 90 days prior to the program start date and submitted no later than the published document deadline. Having a pardon in progress does not meet the admission requirement for a clear PIC.

Regulations Governing Work Integrated Learning Activities

Selected field study or work integrated learning experiential activities may be incorporated into one or both of PNRS 420 (Community Mental Health) and PNRS 423 (Capstone Course). These can generally be completed within the learner’s home community. The learner is responsible for any costs they incur for materials, meals, travel and, where applicable, accommodation for these experiences. Learners must comply with policy C2060 Work Integrated Learning and other applicable policies and regulations of the university, professional regulations, and policies and procedures of the host organization. In accordance with policy C2060, the university reserves the right to remove a learner from the work integrated learning experience at any point in the experience for serious performance issues (i.e., engaging in behaviour that places the client and/or others at risk or that is contrary to the professional or safety requirements of the placement). In such cases, the Chair, through consultation with the Dean, will assign a grade of F in the course. Although the decision may be appealed according to policy E3103 Appeals, the learner will not be permitted to remain in the work integrated learning experience during the appeal.

Host agencies may specify additional prerequisite requirements for work integrated learning experiential activities, for example, currency of immunization against specified communicable diseases, N95 fit-testing, and Health Care Provider Level C Basic Life Support (BLS) certificate, and a current clear PIC with or without a child welfare check. Learners whose PIC status changes or who lack other specified additional requirements compromise their ability to complete the program requirements, as they may be denied work integrated learning experiences and, therefore, unable to meet graduation requirements.


Study Options

The Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing can be completed through either full-time or part-time studies. The program of study distributes the 14 required program courses (core courses, electives and options) over three 15-week terms. Thus a learner who wishes to complete the program through full-time studies could complete the entire program in 1.5 years.

Students who choose to undertake the program through part-time studies must plan for completion of the program within five (5) years of program commencement. It is also important to avoid lengthy interruptions in studies. As noted in MacEwan University’s Academic Calendar, students who were registered in a program, and who have taken a break in their studies of twelve (12) months or more are required to apply for re-admission to their program, pay the appropriate fee, and meet the admission and graduation requirements in effect at that time.

Program Delivery

The program courses are delivered through various distance and on-line learning technologies. This methodology enables you to complete the program from your home community and maintain employment as an RPN while completing your post-diploma degree. The academic residency requirement for this program does not require that students be physically present on campus for any component of the program.

Students new to on-line learning--and those wanting a refresher--can obtain Blackboard Support information on such topics as technical requirements, getting started, resources, accessing support and Blackboard tutorials from the Blackboard Support page in .

The nine core HLST, NURS and PNRS courses are organized in modular/unit format, each comprising four to six units. The courses are completed over a 15-week academic term. The faculty tutor for each course is actively engaged in the learning process with the students.

Field Placements

Selected work integrated learning field placement or directed field study experiential activities are incorporated into two of the courses within this program: PNRS 420 (Community Mental Health) and PNRS 423 (Capstone Course). These experiences are planned in consultation with faculty and can generally be completed within the student’s home community. The student is responsible for any costs they incur for materials, meals, travel and, where applicable, accommodation for these experiences.

The program concludes with the capstone course, which is designed to integrate previous learning and extend depth and breadth of knowledge and skills in an area of interest within psychiatric/mental health nursing. The field experience associated with this course may take a variety of forms, including focused observation and data collection, role shadowing in leadership or clinical education, counselling, facilitation of groups, or psychiatric nursing practice.


MacEwan University confers the degree in psychiatric nursing. With a baccalaureate degree in psychiatric nursing, graduates may apply for graduate studies in psychiatric/mental health nursing or a related field.

Managing Your Workload

Once accepted to the program, you will be contacted by the program’s University Advisor, who will assist with program planning.

Core Courses, Electives and Options

There is some flexibility in sequencing of the program courses, provided that specified pre- and co-requisites are met. The core HLST and PNRS program courses are accessible within the fall and winter terms. NURS 341, electives and options can be completed in either the fall, winter or spring/summer term. The program’s University Advisor is available to assist with program planning.

The program's PNRS and HLST courses are available only through MacEwan University. If you wish to take an elective, option or course equivalent to NURS 341 through another institution, you must first request permission by completing a Visiting Student Application. In accordance with MacEwan University's Policy C2035 (External Course Taking), written permission is required prior to enrolling in a course at another post-secondary institution, in order for transfer credit to be awarded once the course is successfully completed.

If you have previously completed course work that may be applicable to the BPN program, please refer to the Transfer Credit web page for information about management of transfer credit at MacEwan University.

Prerequisite and Grading Considerations

Students must ensure that they meet the course prerequisite and co-requisite requirements for enrolment in program courses. Requisite information is available in the MacEwan University Academic Calendar or through the website course listing. Each course requires a minimum grade of C- in order to be usable for course credit in this program.

Maintaining Good Academic Standing

In accordance with MacEwan University’s Academic Standing policy (C2071), students require a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.00 to be considered in Good Standing.