Colleges with a Psychiatry Major: How to Choose

The study of psychiatry is only available through medical schools and colleges. Students aspiring to become psychiatrists must first earn an undergraduate degree, graduate from medical school and complete a psychiatry residency before seeking a state license to practice in this field; some students also complete fellowship programs.

Psychiatrists are trained medical doctors (M.D.s) who specialize in treating mental illness. Medical school typically includes coursework and a clinical rotation in psychiatry, but to become a practicing psychiatrist, doctors must complete a residency and/or fellowship program and pass a licensure exam.

10 Medical Schools with Psychiatry Residency and/or Fellowship Programs

These schools offer psychiatry residency and fellowship programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered
Harvard University Boston, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Residency, Fellowship
University of California- Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Residency, Fellowship
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, Private not-for-profit Residency, Fellowship
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Residency, Fellowship
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Residency, Fellowship
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Public Residency, Fellowship
University of California- San Diego San Diego, CA 4-year, Public Residency, Fellowship
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, Private not-for-profit Residency, Fellowship
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Residency, Fellowship
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 4-year, Private not-for-profit Residency, Fellowship

College Selection Criteria

Here are some considerations for students who are considering psychiatry residency programs:

  • Prospective residents should find a program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
  • It can be helpful to find out what the pass rate is for graduates on the American Board of Psychology and Neurology Board Exam for licensure.
  • Some schools offer general residency programs, while others allow students to specialize in either adult or child and adolescent psychology. Prospective students can choose between these options based on their academic interests and career goals.
  • Prospective residents who want a career in a more highly specialized area of psychiatry, such as addiction psychiatry, forensic psychiatry or psychosomatic medicine may want to find out what the fellowship placement rate is for graduates of the school.

Psychiatry Residency Programs

After finishing medical school, aspiring psychiatrists must complete a residency program. A psychiatry residency is a requirement to earn state licensure and board certification - as well as a paid medical position. Residencies allow trained doctors to specialize their expertise through clinical training in child and adolescent psychiatry, adult psychiatry or general psychiatry. Residencies last approximately 3-4 years and cover a variety of topics, such as inpatient and outpatient care, clinical practices and research methods.

Psychiatry Fellowship Programs

After completing a residency, psychiatrists who want to further focus their training may complete a fellowship program. Areas of emphasis include addiction psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, global mental health, psychosomatic medicine and public psychiatry. These programs typically take 1-2 years to complete. Some emphasize clinical practice, while others focus on psychiatry research. Like residents, psychiatry fellows receive a stipend for their work.

Trained doctors can get the education they need to become psychiatrists by completing residency and fellowship programs. Prospective residents should look for accredited programs that offer training that is consistent with their future career goals.


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