Spotlight Interview: Matching in Psychiatry

 A Psychiatry Resident’s Perspective:  From an interview with Dr. Frazier a psychiatry resident at UC Irvine Medical Center in Irvine, California

Part of an interview series entitled, “Specialty Spotlights“, which asks medical students’ most burning questions to physicians of every specialty.  See what doctors from every specialty had to say about why they chose their specialty and how to match in their residency.


  • How competitive is the psychiatry match?

Overall, it is not a very competitive specialty.


  •  What must a student do to match well in psychiatry?

Mainly, you must show interest in the field. Let people know you’re interested when you’re in your rotation. Doing some research also helps you know if you like the field. Research may also help to get a good letter from someone at your university.


  • What are residencies looking for in a psychiatry applicant?
Solid letters of recommendation, a good personality (more important here than in many other specialties), to a lesser extent good board scores (not as important, but they will definitely help you!)


  • What should students look for in a psychiatry residency?

Look for a program that trains physicians in what you want to do. Are you interested in research? Choose a program that supports that. Are you interested in clinical work? Choose one that focuses more on that. Also, make sure you get along with the residents. I recommend an away rotation to your top school(s) if you can.


  • Do you have any advice on the application, letters of recommendation, personal statements, or how to rank programs?

Identify your letter writers early on. A few from psychiatry, one from medicine, one from family medicine or something else. For ranking, just choose the place that you want the most. Don’t try to game the system!


  • What do you wish you knew before application/interview season?  

Interviews are generally very laid back. Still prepare, but don’t stress them too much. Have a few questions for the interviewers.


  • What other advice do you have for students applying to psychiatry residency?

Again, identify letter writers early. They mean a lot for residency in general, but maybe even more for psychiatry. Other than that, enjoy your career!


Editor's Note: Applying for residency or preparing for your interviews? I highly recommend First Aid for the Match, The Successful Match: 200 Rules to Succeed in the Residency Match, and The Residency Interview: How To Make the Best Possible Impression .


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