Our Mission

The Department of Psychiatry's commitment to education and training is reflected in the variety of educational programs offered to medical students. An understanding of human behavior, behavioral manifestations of illness and psychopathology is considered to be an essential component in the education of all physicians, regardless of future specialty or practice plans. Accordingly, there are academic and clinical offerings available to students at all levels of medical education.

Faculty involvement in medical student teaching is emphasized. Many of the members of the faculty of the Department devote time to teaching and supervising medical students. Faculty involvement includes team or multidisciplinary teaching in a number of undergraduate courses as well as individual supervision and intensive clinical training during clerkships and acting internship electives. Several faculty serve as advisors to medical students or serve on high level curriculum shaping committees on campus as well. 

Program offerings

The formal offerings of the Department include both required and elective courses and clerkships. In addition, interested students are encouraged to formulate and design elective courses to address their particular interests under faculty supervision.

Required course work includes the second year Behavioral Science course and the five week Clerkship in Psychiatry.

Behavioral Science

This course has been redesigned as a high yield course that teaches to USMLE1, prepares students for Psychiatry Clerkship and ideally provides clinical behavioral applications that may be applied in any medical field.   The course is offered in Phase 1 (first/second year) of medical school. Under the direction of Dr. Thomas Schwartz, faculty from the Department of Psychiatry as well as several related disciplines introduce students to a biopsychosocial model for understanding human behavior. The course is streamlined and organized around a short textbook and utilizes many active techniques to improve learning.

Clinical Clerkship in Psychiatry

The five week Clinical Clerkship in Psychiatry introduces students to the practice of psychiatry in a variety of settings. Most students are placed in two or more clinical services to provide breadth of clinical experience.   Affiliated sites include: Hutchings Psychiatric Center, University Hospital, Veterans Affairs, Brownell Center, St. Joseph’s, Community General Hospital.  General adult psychiatry is the default content area, but options for work in inpatient psychiatry, outpatient psychiatry, child psychiatry, consultation psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, and forensic psychiatry are available.  At clinical sites, students work closely with residents and attendings in the evaluation and treatment of patients. During evenings and weekends on call, students have the opportunity to work in emergency psychiatry, learn triage, and participate in emergency evaluations. The clinical experiences are complemented by a rich didactic program including daily lectures that are generally case-based learning and spiral based upon more traditional PowerPoint teaching from the Behavioral Science Course in the second year.  Performance in the Clerkship is assessed through evaluations by the students' supervisors at their clinical sites, as well as a written and a practical examination.

Acting Internship

After completion of the Clinical Clerkship, students may elect an Acting Internship at any of our sites and in any content area of psychiatry.   During this advanced rotation, students are given more independent responsibility for patient care under direct faculty supervision, and specific areas of interest can be explored in greater depth. Those students considering a career in Psychiatry are encouraged to elect an Acting Internship. Acting Internships are also valuable for those students planning on other specialties who want additional experience in diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders.

Students are welcome to design their own Psychiatry elective in consultation with a member of the faculty and the Psychiatry Director of Undergraduate Education. Students interested in research are encouraged to arrange an elective in this area and to pursue their interests and are likely to find faculty support and guidance.