Psychiatrist Schools in the U.S.

Psychiatry degree programs teach students about mental illnesses and the general workings of the mind, and focus on various forms of treatment and prevention. Aspiring psychiatrists can study this field through Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) programs, postdoctoral residencies and fellowships.

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Medical school, residency and fellowship programs for aspiring psychiatrists may all be found at 4-year universities. After completing medical school and a psychiatry residency, an optional fellowship in psychiatry allows psychiatrists to further specialize their practices.

Psychiatry Schools

According to the 2016 rankings of U.S. News and World Report, the following schools provide the necessary training for aspiring psychiatrists:

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition (2015-2016)*
Harvard University Boston, MA 4-year, Private $55,850
University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public $31,731 in-state, $43,976 out-of-state
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, Private $55,680
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private $52,491
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, Private $55,418
University of California-San Diego Sand Diego, CA 4-year, Public $31,731 in-state, $43,976 out-of-state
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Public $50,010 in-state, $51,464 out-of-state
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, Private $53,575
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public $32,428 in-state, $50,854 out-of-state

Source: *U.S. News & World Report

School Selection Criteria

Prospective psychiatrists may consider the following when choosing a program:

  • At the M.D. level, students should choose a program that allows for some additional concentration in psychiatry, which could be available through elective coursework or clerkships.
  • At the residency and fellowship levels, aspiring psychiatrists may want to compare salary, location, benefits, housing allowances, educational allowances, leave time, malpractice insurance and other working conditions when choosing a school.
  • Dual-degree options could allow students to earn an M.D. alongside a Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Health or Doctor of Philosophy in a subject like microbiology or neuroscience.
  • All practicing medical doctors are required to hold state licensure, so choosing an accredited school is of utmost importance.

Doctor of Medicine - Psychiatry Training

An M.D. program is a 4-year experience that is mandatory for all aspiring doctors, including psychiatrists. An appropriate bachelor's degree, which has satisfied prerequisites in subjects like physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics, is required for admission. Throughout the program, students will complete coursework as well as clinical experiences, commonly known as clerkships, in a variety of subjects, such as surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine, gynecology and psychiatry. Psychiatry clerkships can last 1-2 months and can be completed in various hospital settings.

Postdoctoral Psychiatry Residency

At the residency level, residents will gain exposure to many types of psychiatric concepts, patients, lectures and research opportunities. Psychiatric residency programs are paid positions. Residents can practice medicine at on-campus medical clinics, at local hospitals and at treatment centers. Individual rotations may last weeks or an entire year. As they gain proficiency, residents will usually teach less-experienced residents.

Psychiatry Fellowship

Psychiatric fellowships are available to individuals who have completed or have almost completed their psychiatry residencies. Fellows spend a portion of their time working at hospitals or clinics and a portion attending seminars, consulting with doctors and supervising residents. Individuals who complete these 1-year programs are suited for clinical, educational and research-based careers.

Post-bachelor's training for psychiatrists is extensive, so it is important for aspiring professionals to choose a medical school that can support their educational needs and career goals.

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