Psychiatric Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

After completing medical school, aspiring psychiatrists must complete a residency. Read on to learn more about educational opportunities in this field.

In order to become a practicing psychiatrist, it is necessary to earn a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree and complete a residency in psychiatry. Trained psychiatrists may also choose to specialize their training through a clinical fellowship program.

10 Medical Schools with Psychiatry Programs

Here are a few medical schools that offer a residency program in psychiatry. Residents do not pay tuition to a school; rather, they earn a salary.

College/University Location Institution Type Program Offered
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private Residency
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private Residency
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 4-year, Private Residency
University of California - San Francisco San Francisco, CA 4-year, Public Residency
University of Pennsylvania (Perelman) Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private Residency
Washington University in St. Louis Saint Louis, MO 4-year, Private Residency
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, Private Residency
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, Private Residency
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, Private Residency
University of Chicago (Pritzker) Chicago, IL 4-year, Private Residency

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

When searching for a medical school residency program, aspiring psychiatrists may want to consider the following:

  • It can be helpful to find out what the pass rate for graduates of the school on the psychiatric board certification exams.
  • Students may want to consider the school's ranking among other medical schools for research and/or primary care, as reported by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Prospective residents should look for schools that allow them to train in a setting similar to the one in which they one-day hope to work, such as an urban hospital or a rural practice.
  • It can be helpful to find out whether the school offers general residency programs or allows students to specialize in a particular type of psychiatry.

Doctor of Medicine (MD) Programs

After finishing a bachelor's degree, the first step to becoming a psychiatrist is to earn an MD degree. Training for doctors begins with two years of classroom- and laboratory-based biomedical coursework. After that, students complete clinical rotations in each area of the medical field, including psychiatry. In total, these programs take four years to complete.

Psychiatry Residency

Upon graduation from an MD program, trained doctors who choose to pursue psychiatry must enroll in a residency program. These programs last for four years and include a mixture of practical clinical training and psychiatry research experience. Some programs allow students to focus on a particular type of psychiatry, such as adult or child psychiatry, while others provide a broad overview of the field.

Fellowship Programs

Graduates of residency programs who want to specialize in a particular subfield of psychiatry, such as addiction psychiatry, forensic psychiatry or psychosomatic psychiatry can enroll in a fellowship program. These programs last for one to two years and provide highly focused clinical training in the fellow's area of interest. Like residents, psychiatry fellows receive a stipend.

Aspiring psychiatrists typically seek out psychiatric residencies after earning their MD; from there, they can choose a specialized fellowship or start practicing in the field. School reputation and graduate success rates are important considerations when choosing between programs.

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