Best Psychiatry Schools

Updated on January 5, 2024

Psychiatry is a competitive medical specialty to get into, but selecting the right medical school can help set you on the path to success. The top psychiatry residency programs look for students from medical schools that provide exceptional clinical rotations, research opportunities, and mentoring. Here are 10 of the best medical schools for matching into an excellent psychiatry residency.

Harvard Medical School

Location: Boston, MA

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 3.8%

Avg SAT Score: 1510

Tuition: $67,580 per year

Avg Salary: $242,390


Harvard Medical School is world-renowned for its research and training opportunities in psychiatry. As one of the top medical schools in the world, Harvard enables students to work closely with experts at affiliated hospitals like Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital. Class sizes are small, ensuring abundant mentorship and research experiences to prepare for competitive residencies.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Location: Baltimore, MD

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 3.8%

Avg SAT Score: 1518

Tuition: $55,850 per year

Avg Salary: $251,890


Johns Hopkins has an excellent department of psychiatry and behavioral sciencesoffering outstanding clinical and research training. Students have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking neuroscience and genetic research on mental illness. Johns Hopkins also partners with top-ranked hospitals to provide exceptional clinical rotations.

New York University Grossman School of Medicine

Location: New York City, NY

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 2.2%

Avg SAT Score: 1515

Tuition: $59,476 per year

Avg Salary: $253,900


NYU Grossman enables students to train at highly ranked NYU Langone Health and Bellevue Hospital Center. The variety of clinical settings and patient populations provides rich exposure to mental health conditions. Extensive research opportunities allow students to work alongside NYU psychiatry faculty making breakthroughs in areas like neuroscience, genetics, mood disorders, and addiction medicine.

University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

Location: San Francisco, CA

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 2.8%

Avg SAT Score: N/A (does not consider SAT)

Tuition: $40,921 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $246,500


UCSF offers exceptional research and clinical training in mental health through its partnerships with elite medical centers like Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Students gain exposure to diverse patient populations and faculty who are pioneers in brain imaging, neural circuits, computational psychiatry, mood disorders and more.

Stanford University School of Medicine

Location: Stanford, CA

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 2.2%

Avg SAT Score: 1523

Tuition: $64,750 per year

Avg Salary: $251,900


Stanford Medical School provides abundant research opportunities, including collaborating with neighboring UC San Francisco faculty. Students benefit from Stanford’s expertise in genetics, neuroscience, brain stimulation, and precision mental health. Exceptional psychiatry mentorship prepares students to match into top-choice residency programs.

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Location: New York City, NY

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 2.7%

Avg SAT Score: 1512

Tuition: $58,030 per year

Avg Salary: $253,900


The Icahn School of Medicine offers abundant exposure to diverse psychiatric conditions through rotations at esteemed hospitals across New York City. Students collaborate with psychiatry experts on genetics, neuroimaging, neural circuits, substance abuse, mood disorders, and more. Unique global mental health opportunities supplement exceptional clinical and research training.

University of Michigan Medical School

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 5%

Avg SAT Score: 1516

Tuition: $48,273 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $242,390


Michigan Med enables students to work with world-class psychiatry faculty conducting innovative research on depression, addiction, PTSD and child psychiatry. Exceptional clinical sites include University of Michigan Health and Ann Arbor VA Medical Center. Abundant global mental health opportunities supplement the strong foundation in psychiatry research and clinical work.

Washington University School of Medicine

Location: St. Louis, MO

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 3.4%

Avg SAT Score: 1520

Tuition: $67,000 per year

Avg Salary: $242,390


Washington University School of Medicine offers superb training in psychiatry through partnerships with Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Students collaborate with nationally recognized researchers studying mood, anxiety, psychotic disorders, substance abuse, and more. Global mental health opportunities allow students to make an impact abroad as well.

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

Location: New York City, NY

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 4.6%

Avg SAT Score: 1530

Tuition: $64,880 per year

Avg Salary: $253,900


The Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons provides exceptional psychiatry training through clerkships at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital and partnerships with Columbia doctors at institutions like Harlem Hospital. Students learn from pioneers in addiction, precision psychiatry, child mental health and underserved populations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a good psychiatric medical school?

Good psychiatric medical schools have strong research programs, abundant clinical experiences at highly regarded hospitals, and opportunities to work closely with mentors. Global mental health options are also beneficial. The best schools enable students to build a strong foundation in psychiatry.

What are the highest ranked psychiatry residency programs?

Some of the highest ranked psychiatry residency programs are: Massachusetts General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Hospital, New York Presbyterian Hospital (Columbia Campus), UCLA Medical Center, UCSF Medical Center, Yale New Haven Hospital, and UPenn Medical Center.

What is the lifestyle like as a psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists often have a good work-life balance compared to other medical specialties. They usually work standard business hours and see patients in an outpatient office or hospital setting. Psychiatrists do not have to be “on-call” frequently or have emergency night duties often.

What is the job outlook for psychiatrists?

The job outlook for psychiatrists is excellent due to the significant shortage of mental health specialists nationwide. Positions are predicted to grow by around 5,000 over the next 10 years.

How do I choose the right psychiatric residency program for me?

Consider your interests, desired location, and research/clinical opportunities when selecting residencies to apply to. Reach out to current residents to learn about program strengths, call schedules, mentorship quality, etc. Use audition electives to evaluate programs firsthand.

What are common subspecialties in psychiatry?

Common subspecialties include child & adolescent psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, geriatric psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, psychopharmacology, sleep medicine, and brain stimulation interventions. Many fellowships are 1-2 years long after finishing residency.

What is the salary range for psychiatrists?

The average salary for psychiatrists ranges from $220,000 to $280,000 depending on years of experience and subspecialization. Those working in private practice tend to have higher earnings potential as well.

How competitive is matching into psychiatry residency programs?

Psychiatry is moderately competitive with an average Step 1 score around 230. Strong grades in third year clerkships, excellent letters of recommendation, and an outstanding Step 2 score help in matching to top programs. Research and leadership experiences also boost residency applications.

What is required to apply to psychiatric residency programs?

You’ll need to register for the NRMP, take USMLE board exams, obtain letters of recommendation, have grades for clinical clerkships, write a personal statement tailored to psychiatry, go on audition electives, and apply to individual programs offering psychiatric residency training.

Are there any fellowships after completing psychiatric residency?

Yes, many psychiatrists pursue 1-2 year subspecialty fellowships after finishing their general psychiatry residency. Common ones include child psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, addiction medicine, geriatric psychiatry, and psychosomatic medicine fellowships allowing for further specialization.

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