Best Psychiatry Schools in the United States

Nov 27, 2019

A prospective psychiatrist must complete both medical school and post-graduate training in psychiatry. Read on for program details on the best medical schools for psychiatry.

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Essential Information for Psychiatry Programs

To prepare for a career diagnosing and treating mental health issues, psychiatrists must complete extensive education requirements after earning a bachelor's degree. First, they must complete medical school, which takes approximately four years. During this time, students take classes in a full range of medical topics including anatomy, pharmacology, and psychology. Prospective medical students can get a feel for some medical school subjects by taking online courses in areas like anatomy and physiology. In addition, schools for psychiatrists incorporate hands-on laboratory work and rotations through medical disciplines, including psychiatry.

After graduating from medical school, a psychiatrist completes a residency within the field, generally requiring around four years. Based on rankings from U. S. News & World Report, some of the best medical schools for psychiatry include Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Yale University, and Columbia University.

Harvard University Medical School

Harvard University was ranked #1 in psychiatry in 2019 by U.S. News & World Report. The school also received the top ranking for Best Medical Schools: Research. At Harvard Medical School's Department of Psychiatry, students complete a core course in psychiatry and a psychiatry clerkship at one of four Massachusetts health care facilities. In addition, the department offers a range of electives in areas including child and adolescent psychiatry and addiction psychiatry. The medical school provides opportunities for residencies, internships, and fellowships, and it works in conjunction with seven area teaching hospitals.

Johns Hopkins University

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University ranked second on U.S. News & World Report's list of top psychiatry programs in 2019. The school was also ranked #2 for Best Medical Schools: Research. The psychiatry residence program prepares graduates for work in both clinical and academic settings. Residents move through a curriculum and a set of clinical experiences over the course of four years. After beginning with foundational work in neurology and with inpatient psychiatric treatment modalities, residents take on greater responsibilities. By the end of the program, residents have completed rotations in outpatient and inpatient facilities and have developed knowledge of a chosen subspecialty within psychiatry.

Yale University

The Department of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine offers education in psychiatry for medical students as well as residency and fellowship opportunities. U.S. News & World Report ranks Yale's psychiatry program as third in the nation in 2019, and Yale University tied for 13th place in Best Medical Schools: Research. Yale offers its medical students pre-clinical studies in psychiatry. I addition to training in a variety of hospital settings, psychiatry residents at Yale can conduct research in areas including neuroscience and translational research. They can also develop individualized projects to develop expertise in specific areas through the CASE Selective Program.

Columbia University

Columbia University ranked fourth in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 rankings of psychiatry programs. The school also tied for sixth in 'Best Medical Schools: Research.' Columbia's residency training program combines coursework and clinical rotations spread over four years. The core curriculum includes work in behavior therapy, interviewing, psychotherapy, and specialized areas like geriatric psychiatry. Residents can devote up to 80% of their fourth year conducting research in subjects including psychobiology, brain stimulation, and mental health policy.

University of California - San Francisco

The University of California - San Francisco ranked fifth in both psychiatry and Best Medical Schools: Research in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 assessment. UC San Francisco offers residencies in adult psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry. Additionally, residents can choose the Research Resident Training Program to prepare for careers in psychiatric research. The department also offers the Medical Student Education program within the medical school curriculum.

Additional Top Psychiatry Programs

Below is a list of additional psychiatry programs ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report.

School Location Program Ranking
Duke University Durham, NC #6 (tie)
UCLA Los Angeles, CA #6 (tie)
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA #8
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA #9
Stanford University Stanford, CA #10

Through their medical school and residency programs, these schools consistently prepare psychiatrists to enter careers in clinical practice or academic research. Medical students who know they wish to specialize in a particular area can also find programs tailored to their interests; for instance, some psychiatry programs allow a specific focus on child psychiatry.

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