Psychiatry Training for Medical Students | NYU Langone Health

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Department of Psychiatry Education Psychiatry Training for Medical Students

Psychiatry Training for Medical Students

In NYU Langone’s Department of Psychiatry, we offer medical students preclerkship courses, a clinical psychiatry clerkship curriculum, extensive electives and selectives, and myriad opportunities for student research.

Our program’s primary mission is to enhance the psychiatric literacy of the next generation of physicians across all specialties. In the past few years, we have seen extraordinary advances in the understanding of etiologies underlying psychiatric disorders and mechanisms of symptom production. We now have an increasingly sophisticated appreciation for the ways in which the environment can alter gene expression and brain structure and the mechanisms by which emotion may impact physical health.

As a participant in our department’s preclerkship curriculum, you acquire a basic understanding of core psychiatric illnesses, as well as rapidly unfolding advances in this area of medical science. Our clinical psychiatry clerkship, led by Dr. Molly Poag at, teaches you how to put this knowledge into practice. After completing your clerkship, you can pursue a variety of clinical and research topics in greater depth through an array of electives and selectives. A research concentration in psychiatry is also available.

Our department offers students access to world-class leaders in many areas of psychiatry, including post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, addictions, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, dementias, and brain imaging. You also have opportunities to work with national experts in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in areas such as trauma, imaging, attention deficit disorders, and anxiety disorders. Whatever your interests in psychiatry, we look forward to your studies with us.

Preclinical Curriculum in Psychiatry

The Department of Psychiatry contributes to the multidisciplinary, organ system–based teaching modules with associated mechanisms of disease at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in several ways. Psychiatry faculty, as one example, work alongside other clinicians as preceptors in the Practice of Medicine module.

Most preclinical teaching in psychiatry is offered via the seven-week module, The Nervous System, and is devoted to the study of behavior, the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders, and psychopathology. As a medical student, you attend class lectures, which frequently feature video demonstrations, covering the phenomenology, neurobiology, and taxonomy of major psychiatric disorders. Lectures on introductions to psychiatric treatments, providing overviews of both psychopharmacology and psychotherapies, are further enhanced by small group seminars on selected topics.

You also participate in supervised small group sessions, during which you interview psychiatric patients—an exciting first exposure to patient care. In addition to making connections between lecture material and actual patients, these sessions help you develop clinical interviewing skills, understand the phenomenology of psychiatric disorders, learn to take a psychiatric history, and conduct a mental status examination. Our small group clinical sessions take place on the clinical inpatient units of NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital, and the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System.

Midterm and final examinations are fully integrated with the neuroscience, neuropathology, and clinical neurology portions of The Nervous System module.

Core Clinical Clerkship in Psychiatry

The required psychiatry clerkship, under the leadership of Dr. Poag, is a full-time, six-week experience in the care and treatment of psychiatric patients. You are assigned to an inpatient service at Bellevue, Tisch Hospital, or the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System. You have the choice of working on a general adult inpatient service or on one of the specialized services at Bellevue: the forensic service, the dual-diagnosis service, the adolescent service, or the child service. In addition, you spend one afternoon a week in an outpatient clinic or other off-unit site. A general adult Spanish language unit welcomes students fluent in Spanish.

Under close supervision of psychiatry faculty and house officers, you are given primary responsibility for the care of patients. You conduct initial psychiatric evaluations with attending faculty supervision, write admission notes and treatment plans, and follow patients through to discharge. We provide a series of case-based seminars throughout the rotation covering major clinical psychiatric disorders, substance use disorders, and more advanced psychopharmacology. You also learn to write comprehensive data-based case reports. During the clerkship, you touch back on the basic and clinical sciences related to your clinical work.

Examinations include a psychopharmacology clerkship exam, an objective structured clinical examination, and the psychiatry subject examination of the National Board of Medical Examiners.

Bellevue Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program On-Call

As part of the six-week clinical clerkship in psychiatry, you take two on-call shifts in the adult Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) and one on-call shift with the Consultation–Liaison Service at Bellevue.

You also take one call in the Children’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (C-CPEP), a unique experience among medical student education programs nationally. As one of the busiest psychiatric emergency services in the country, the C-CPEP offers an unparalleled setting for learning how to evaluate and manage psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents.

Electives in Psychiatry

After satisfactorily completing the core clerkship, you are eligible to take one or more psychiatry electives. Electives are available through most of our department’s clinical services, including the consultation–liaison service, our psychiatric emergency services, the forensic service, and the outpatient clinics and inpatient services of our teaching hospitals. Some electives do not require the core psychiatry clerkship as a prerequisite. These can be elected in advance during your elective or selective blocks during the clerkship year.

We also offer numerous research electives in clinical, basic science, and translational research with leaders in the field. Other current electives include psychoanalytic medicine and psychiatric publishing with the author of Kaplan & Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry. Specific elective descriptions are outlined in the Department of Psychiatry elective catalog.

A wide array of electives in child and adolescent psychiatry are offered separately through the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Selectives in Psychiatry

We offer MD degree selective courses in topics such as geriatric psychiatry, autism spectrum disorders, reproductive psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry.

Research Concentrations in Psychiatry

NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s curriculum allows you to customize your education by engaging in the MD degree scholarly concentration, a 12-week, full-time research experience that builds in-depth knowledge in psychiatry. These projects foster student–faculty mentoring opportunities and enhance core competencies in preparation for specialty training.

The Department of Psychiatry offers concentrations in many areas of psychiatry and neuropsychiatry under the mentorship of our internationally recognized research faculty.

Research Concentration Proposal and Application

Your research concentration proposal must demonstrate clear and attainable goals, significant preparation, and appropriate methodology, and lead to a worthwhile and high-quality deliverable. Contact Molly E. Poag, MD, director of medical student education, to arrange a time to discuss potential interests or a specific project. She can identify possible mentors and help you refine your project.

Before beginning your research concentration, you must complete the concentration application form and NYU Grossman School of Medicine mentee agreement form, available through the Scholarly Concentrations Program Guide (a Kerberos ID is required for login). These documents should be submitted to Hetal Patel at in the Office of Medical Education at least four weeks before you initiate your project, unless otherwise approved by a mentor and the director.

The Department of Psychiatry Student Concentration Committee reviews your project proposal’s feasibility and potential value. If there is a disagreement regarding approval, conditional approval, or denial, you have a brief period to address the items in question and resubmit for final approval.

Scholarly Product

After you complete your research, you provide information about your scholarly product to Dr. Poag and a final copy to the Office of Medical Education, as outlined in the concentration application.

Time Commitment

Concentrations are a full-time responsibility for the 12 weeks. You should expect to spend eight hours a day dedicated to your project. At least once a week, you should plan to meet with your mentor to ensure the success of the experience.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Dr. Molly Poag, director of medical student education in psychiatry at or Jeffrey Sanchez, program coordinator, at