Educational Goals and Objectives

Year 1

During year 1, psychiatry is divided into two teaching sessions. In Foundations of Medical Sciences, students learn about human development and lifecycle, as well as grief and dying. The Neurosciences System course offers comprehensive teaching of the major categories in psychopathology, e.g., mood disorders, schizophrenia, substance abuse and anxiety disorders. This instruction is complemented by lectures on psychopharmacology and Standardized Patient Program cases to illustrate practical clinical implications of the lectured material.

Year 3

During the year 3, six-week psychiatry clerkship, students are involved in myriad experiences within specific psychiatric environments ranging from consultation and liaison in a private or public hospital to adult and adolescent inpatient or Emergency Department settings. Before the start of the academic year, students are contacted by the clerkship scheduling team regarding their site preferences.

Other opportunities for students include observing electroconvulsive therapy treatment, participating in cultural competency and ethics workshops.

External rotation sites include:

  • Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
  • Las Encinas Hospital
  • Ventura County Medical Center

On-campus sites include:

  • Los Angeles General Medical Center Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry
  • Keck Hospital
  • Adult or Adolescent Inpatient at Augustus Hawkins
  • Adult or Child Emergency Service

Medical Students Psychiatry Interest Group

This student-organized interest group for medical students interested in psychiatry meets on regular basis to allow interaction with faculty and discussion of various topics related to psychiatry. Planned activities also include movie nights, patient forums and small group journal club-style discussions.

Research Opportunities

Numerous research projects are available for student involvement throughout medical school, including ongoing research in:

  • Deep-brain stimulation in OCD
  • Dementia
  • Mental health care in minority population
  • Psychiatric genomics
  • Trauma in children
  • Traumatic brain injury

Students may choose laboratory research or more clinically based projects.

Elective Psychiatry Clerkship

If you are a senior U.S. medical student and interested in an elective with our department, please email Ms. Lorrie Peña, (student coordinator) at to ask about the opportunities. Inquiries are welcome.

For more information about clerkships, contact:

Lorrie Peña

Project Specialist