Academic Calendar

Psychiatric Nursing - Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing


Faculty of Nursing

The Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing (BPN) builds on the foundation of a diploma in psychiatric nursing. This program is designed for diploma-prepared Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) who wish to pursue their passion for psychiatric/mental health nursing by further extending their knowledge and skills in their chosen field. The BPN is learner-centred, innovative, and offers a contextually relevant curriculum. The balance between liberal and professional education offers depth and breadth of studies, a global perspective, and an opportunity to enhance knowledge, skills and other professional attributes in such areas as community mental health, child and adolescent psychiatry, the criminal justice system, mental health and addictions, application of therapeutic modalities, nursing research, and leadership. With two intakes per year, opportunities for full- or part-time studies, and delivery through a variety of distance and online learning technologies, the 45-credit BPN program facilitates ease of access for RPNs from both urban and rural settings.

Career Potential

MacEwan University Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing graduates have advanced preparation for employment within complex health care environments. Attainment of a BPN facilitates opportunities for increased scope of practice and professional psychiatric/mental health nursing practice in a broader range of settings, including such areas as community mental health, counselling, family/group therapy, and forensics.

Contact Information


Program Requirements

HLST 320Health and Society 13
HLST 321Advanced Skills in Therapeutic Modalities 14
NURS 341Nursing Research Processes (or NURS 344) 13
PNRS 320Trends and Issues in Mental Health Care 13
PNRS 321Child/Adolescent Mental Health 13
Elective - University Level Elective (excludes PNRS and NURS courses) 13
Option - Senior-Level (200+) Philosophy Course 13
Option - Senior-Level (200+) Social Science Course 13
Senior Elective - Senior (200+) Level Elective (excludes PNRS and NURS courses) 13
Statistics - 100 or 200 level University Level Statistics course, please see program regulations for approved courses 13
PNRS 420Community Mental Health 14
PNRS 421Mental Health and the Law 13
PNRS 422Leadership for Psychiatric Nursing Practice 13
PNRS 423Capstone Course 14
Total Credits45

The minimum passing grade for this course is a C-.

The minimum passing grade for a course at MacEwan University is a D unless otherwise noted next to the appropriate course in the program of study.

Course Substitutions

Program Regulations

Students are strongly encouraged to seek advice from a Faculty School Advisor about fulfilling these degree requirements.

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 (Program Time Limits policy).

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.

Program regulations also require all transfer credit(s) meet currency requirements. To be considered for credit all PNRS, NURS and HLST equivalent courses must have been completed within five years immediately preceding a student's program start date. All other courses being considered for transfer credit must be completed within the 10 years immediately preceding a student's program start date. The decision to award transfer credit rests with the program and cannot be appealed. 

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 (Required English Course policy).

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 university-level 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 Conduct

Learners must adhere to the current professional code of ethics and standards of psychiatric nursing practice for Registered Psychiatric Nurses, as well as 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 (Students with Disabilities policy).

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 the Work Integrated Learning policy and other applicable policies and regulations of the university, professional regulations, and policies and procedures of the host organization. In accordance with the Work Integrated Learning policy, 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, may assign a grade of F in the course.  

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.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing program reflects the educational philosophy and goals of Grant MacEwan University. Faculty are committed to advancing the mission of MacEwan and the vision of the Faculty of Nursing by preparing graduates who demonstrate leadership, are committed to excellence in professional psychiatric nursing practice, and contribute to optimal wellness of individuals, families, groups, and communities.

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

1. Promote excellence in psychiatric nursing by practicing in accordance with professional, ethical, and legal standards, health care and societal needs, and the demands of the health care delivery system.

2. 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.

3. Synthesize empirical and theoretical knowledge from the humanistic and scientific disciplines, general and psychiatric nursing, in formulating professional practice decisions.

4. 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.

5. 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 to diverse populations.

6. Challenge assumptions and serve as an advocate for change on societal and practice issues that impact the mental health of communities.

7. Utilize and contribute to research that advances psychiatric/mental health nursing knowledge, evidence-informed practice, and best practices.

8. Utilize technology and other resources to support ongoing learning and professional psychiatric nursing practice.

9. Provide leadership in autonomous and collaborative practice with interprofessional team members.

Admission Requirements

Applicants may be admitted to one of the following:

Regular Admission 

Applicants must present a Psychiatric Nursing diploma (or equivalent) with an Admission Grade Point Average (AGPA) of 2.3 on a 4.0 scale. In addition, applicants must present:

  • Current registration on the practicing register as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse in Canada.


  • A current registration as a psychiatric/mental health nurse in another country and be eligible for registration on the practicing register as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse in Canada.

*Provisional Admission may be assigned to applicants who have completed the academic requirements of a Psychiatric Nursing diploma but have not written the Canadian Registered Psychiatric Nurse Examination. The examination must be successfully completed within the first term of their program.

Additional Admission Criteria

All applicants must meet the following:

1. English Language Proficiency

To be evaluated through the Office of the University Registrar

Applicable to All Admission Categories

All applicants must meet an acceptable level of English language proficiency. We will require official documents such as high school or post-secondary transcripts or proof of successful completion of standardized language evaluation. Full details are available in MacEwan University’s academic calendar or online at

2. Spoken English Proficiency

To be evaluated through the Office of the University Registrar

Applicable to All Admission Categories

Applicants who speak English as a second language – regardless of citizenship – are required to submit official documents such as high school, post-secondary transcripts or proof of successful completion of standardized language evaluation. Full details are available in MacEwan’s academic calendar or online at

3. Other Admission Criteria

To be evaluated through the Program

Applicants offered admission must present a clear Police Information Check (or equivalent from another policing agency) that includes a Vulnerable Sector Search. The Police Information Check must be submitted by the published document deadline and have been issued within three months of the start of the program intake term.

Applicants who have two or more unsatisfactory academic records from any post-secondary program or institution will not be considered for admission or re-admission to the Program. For the purpose of admission or re-admission, an unsatisfactory record is defined as a transcript with the notation ‘required to withdraw’ or equivalent.