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Which Courses Can Be Expected in a Psychiatry Degree Program?

Strictly speaking, one does not earn a degree in psychiatry. Typically, a student earns an MD at a four-year medical school and then undergoes a four-year residency in psychiatry, followed by a one-year fellowship in a sub-specialty if desired. Read on to learn about the psychiatry-related coursework you might take during medical school and your residency.

Psychiatry Overview

Advanced medical students and new residents, who are medical school graduates getting hands-on training, specializing in psychiatry usually choose between adult psychiatry or child and adolescent psychiatry. They work at hospitals and provide diagnoses and treatment for inpatients and outpatients. Common rotations are in substance abuse, consultation-liaison, forensics and community psychiatry. Explore the medical school and residency programs described below to learn more about what aspiring psychiatrists learn during their training.

Important Facts About Psychiatry Degree Programs

Degree Levels M.D. degree; doctorate
Prerequisites High school diploma or GED equivalent and a bachelor's degree
Common Courses Diseases, human health, clinical medicine, microbiology
Possible Careers Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Clinical Director, Consulting Psychiatrist
Median Salary (2019)$215,226 (Child Psychiatrists)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026)11% growth (Psychiatrists)**

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Psychiatry During Medical School: University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota offers a good representation of typical psychiatry courses for medical students. In the first year, students study human behavior, concentrating on neuroscience, immunology, physiology, and human sexuality. Students learn the association and classical learning models of human behavior.

Second-year medical students prepare for the transition to clinical education. Courses focus on health and disease, with a detailed examination of clinical medicine.

Students in the third and fourth year externship phase of their medical education learn to recognize disorders, offer diagnoses and treat patients. They still write papers and attend lectures, but they also begin to work directly with outpatients and in-hospital patients.

Psychiatry During Residency: Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education

At the Mayo Clinic, first-year residents do rotations in neurology, family medicine, emergency psychiatry, medical psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, internal medicine and acute psychiatry. The second year adds consultation-liaison psychiatry and addiction psychiatry. Year three begins outpatient work in consultation, community, forensic, emergency, public and geriatric psychiatry. In the fourth year, students learn public psychiatry and electroconvulsive therapy, act as senior residents and participate in a hospital program. Residents can undergo a similar residency focused on child and adolescent psychiatry.

Those wishing to pursue a psychiatry subspecialty participate in a fellowship program, such as psychosomatic medicine, addiction psychiatry or geriatric psychiatry. Fellowships last one year and prepare candidates to take the appropriate sub-specialty test from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.