Skip to main content

Psychiatry Residency Core Curriculum

The core curriculum of our residency program is rich, varied and innovative. Some seminars and opportunities are available to the entire residency group while others are designed specifically for the different levels of training. The core curriculum includes: didactic seminars, departmental Grand Rounds and Visiting Guest Lecturer series, journal clubs, Psychiatry Boards preparation, and special seminars (Hypnosis and Literature of Madness).

The Curriculum Committee, made up of faculty and residents, oversees and coordinates the curriculum, and regularly receives and incorporates resident and faculty feedback.

Residency Program Didactics

Resident Rounds and Didactic Schedules

Didactic Threads

(Coordinated Curriculum taught over 4 years)

Much of the curriculum is organized in "threads," which reflect a particular disease state or content area (for example, "psychosis" or "consult-liaison psychiatry"), and is overseen and frequently updated by faculty thread leaders who specialize in that area, with the goal of having a coordinated four-year arc of learning.

  • Cultural/Community Psychiatry
  • Geriatrics
  • Neuroscience
  • Professionalism/Ethics
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Teaching

All Years

  • Journal Clubs
  • Case Conferences
  • Specialty Clinic Seminars
  • Other Seminars


First year residents receive a "Crash Course" in psychiatry that covers essential information they will need to know in order to capably treat patients in the emergency rooms and inpatient units. They then begin their "Introduction to Psychiatry" (ITP) course, which provides a clinically relevant introduction to major disease states and areas in psychiatry, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, anxiety disorders, consult-liaison psychiatry, addictions, and geriatric psychiatry. The course is designed to be interactive and to cover elements such as pathophysiology, psychopharmacology, and practical clinical skills in each domain. There is also an extensive neurology series, as well as introductory modules on neuroscience, child psychiatry, and community psychiatry.

  • Crash Course 1: Emergency and Survival Skills
  • Crash Course 2
  • Interviewing, Communication and Supportive Psychotherapy (Weekly Sept–June)
  • Introduction to Diagnosis and Patient Care (Weekly Sept–June)
  • Basic Neurology


Second year residents continue to attend the Thursday morning seminar series which expands on topics that were first presented in the PGY1 year. Additional topics include: therapeutic interventions, geriatric psychiatry, consult-liaison psychiatry, child development and psychopathology, behavioral neurology, cross-cultural psychiatry, marital and family therapy and reading the literature. In addition there are 2 weekly seminars on psychotherapy: one on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and another on Dynamic Psychotherapy."

  • Crash Course 2
  • Child, Adult, and Geriatric Development, Psychopathology, and Treatment (Weekly)
  • Behavioral Neurology
  • Foundations of Psychotherapy (Weekly Sept–June)
  • Dynamic
  • Cognitive and Other Evidence-Based Therapies
  • Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry
  • Process Group


Third year residents attend seminars, conferences, or rounds multiple mornings a week. This comprehensive and sophisticated series includes: in depth exposure to all contemporary forms of psychotherapy (supportive, group milieu, hypnotherapy, insight-oriented, marital and family, short- term dynamic, cognitive and integrative psychotherapy), outpatient psychopharmacology, Axis II disorders, ethics, forensic psychiatry, board preparation, teaching skills, cross-cultural/diversity issues, and human sexuality. All PGY3 residents also lead a Professors Rounds, in which they present a complicated patient and/or topic area to their resident colleagues and faculty during Resident Rounds. This is often a highlight of their training experience.

  • Advanced Psychopharmacology
  • Advanced Dynamic Psychotherapy
  • Advanced Evidence-Based Psychotherapies
  • Other Therapies (Group, Marital, Family, Short-term, etc.)
  • Cross-Cultural Psychiatry
  • Ethics / Forensics
  • Human Sexuality
  • Hypnotherapy Workshop
  • Teaching to Teach


Fourth year residents attend advanced level seminars on Thursday mornings in transition to private practice, history of psychiatry, neurology review, advanced case-based psychopharmacology, and an advanced workshop on short-term dynamic psychotherapy. They also have time built in to hone and complete their Independent Study Project. Each year, senior residents help develop their own modification and additions to their senior seminars based on the recognized needs and unique interests of each class.

  • Advanced Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy
  • Neuropsychopharmacology Review
  • Foundations of Neuroscience
  • History of Psychiatry
  • History of Psychotherapy
  • Intensive Board Review
  • Neurology Review
  • Psychiatric Research
  • Transition to Private Practice

Residency Program Seminars

Thursday mornings are protected seminar time for all residents. The morning begins with "Resident Rounds," attended by residents from all four classes. This series features topics that are relevant to all training levels, and is also the venue for Professors Rounds. Following Resident Rounds, each class attends its own didactic series for the rest of the morning.

Grand Rounds and Visiting Guest Lectures

Grand Rounds is a department-wide educational activity. Directed by the chairman of the department and the residency training director, Grand Rounds includes clinical presentations by the residents as well as clinical and research presentations by faculty and visiting academic clinicians. Topics range from molecular biological approaches for psychiatric disorders to the public policy implications of international psychiatry. Grand Rounds is an exciting and stimulating teaching experience for all concerned.

Go to Grounds Rounds.

Specialty Rounds

A wide assortment of specialty rounds are available to the residents. PGY3 residents have the opportunity to present challenging cases to the chairman or other senior faculty in the forum of Professors Rounds. Clinical Case Conferences are hosted at each of the major sites of the program.

Journal Clubs

One of the goals of UC San Diego’s Residency in Psychiatry is to insure that residents learn how to think critically about clinical and research issues. The journal club format facilitates this process — therefore, journal clubs and a geropsychiatry journal club are available all four years. Residents learn how to read and critique current and classic medical and psychiatric literature. Through this process, the resident develops an ongoing ability to critically weigh the relative merits of contemporary psychiatric practices.

Literature Of Madness Seminar

One of the truly unique features of the program is the Literature of Madness Seminar. It is co-led by the former training director, Dr. Robert Nemiroff, and the present training director. Meeting at least quarterly, this seminar covers both classical and contemporary literature, theater, and other arts as they apply to modern psychiatry. All residents, fellows, and faculty are invited.

Boards Preparation

All of our residents and fellows take part in the National Psychiatry Resident-in-Training Examinations (PRITE), a standardized computer self-assessment test. This examination is a designed self-assessment and to prepare residents for the written portion of the Psychiatry and Neurology Boards. Individual test scores are given to the resident and his or her performance, including both strengths and weaknesses, are discussed with the residency training director. In addition, the residency groups scores are compared with other programs nationally. This information is given to the Core Curriculum Committee for continued program improvement and evolution.

Residents are required to complete at least 3 Clinical Skills Verification (CSV) Oral Examinations before graduation. These have replaced the old Part II ABPN examinations. We are moving towards incorporating these examinations as core features of each clinical rotation throughout training, In the fourth year of training, residents receive an extensive board review course in psychiatry and neurology to prepare them for the ABPN certifying examination which are given following graduation (akin to the old Part 1 ABPN examinations).