Psychiatry Master Degree Program Information

Find information related to psychiatry degree programs, which are not available at the master's degree level. Learn about the psychiatry course options in a Doctor of Medicine program instead. Check the prerequisites for these programs, and get career info for psychiatrists.

Essential Information

There is no master's degree program specifically dedicated to aspiring psychiatrists. These medical professionals must complete an undergraduate program in psychology, medicine or a related field, and then gain acceptance into a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program and undergo physician training. Once there, learners can elect to focus on a psychiatry specialty.

They will have opportunities to explore the specialty of psychiatry through focused clinical electives and clinical training in medical school. After that time, they can go on to complete an additional 3-4 years of training in a clinical psychiatry residency. In the initial medical school training, however, they learn how to manage medication for patients, handle inpatient and outpatient treatment and perform psychiatric assessments.

The first two years of any Doctor of Medicine program focus on science, human anatomy, pathology and similar subjects. During the second two years, aspiring psychiatrists also study professional ethics, psychotherapy and other topics related to mental health. They then apply those topics to actual patients during their clinical rotations at hospitals, medical facilities and mental institutions.

Education Prerequisites

In order to enter medical school and study psychiatry as a specialization, individuals must complete four years of high school, then four years of undergraduate study. They must earn bachelor's degrees and complete premedical courses. Applicants to medical school must also score strongly on the MCAT (Medical Admission Test), which is given twice a year nationwide.

Program Coursework

Some of the courses that might be found in a medical school program with a focus on psychiatry are listed below:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Histology
  • Pathology
  • Immunology
  • Psychosomatic medicine
  • Psychotherapy
  • Neuroscience

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Psychiatrists can take several different focused career paths once they complete their medical school and residency requirements, such as forensic psychiatry, child psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry or psychiatry research. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( estimates the mean annual wage for this profession, as of May 2012, to be $177,520. The BLS also projects that employment of all physicians and surgeons, including psychiatrists, will grow by approximately 24%, faster than the average for all occupations, between 2010 and 2020.

Continuing Education and Certification

After completing a M.D. program, prospective psychiatrists must complete a clinical residency that focuses on psychiatry. Upon completion they may seek certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to become board certified psychiatrists. The certification process includes both an oral and a written exam; practicing psychiatrists must renew their certification every 10 years.

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