Overview of Courses

The University of Chicago Residency Training Program in Psychiatry offers a broad range of courses, while focusing in particular on several domains of learning within psychiatry:

  • psychopathology and phenomenology
  • psychopharmacology
  • neuroscience,
  • research, and
  • psychotherapy.

Training in each domain builds from one year to the next, as each year residents take courses that relate to each domain. Integration among the domains is a major task of psychiatric education, and takes place within case conferences, supervision and individual courses.

The Psychopathology and Phenomenology sequence begins in the PGY-1 year with the summer Orientation to Emergency Psychiatry and Psychopathology courses at the University of Chicago, the two-month Northshore inpatient courses on Becoming a Psychiatrist and Management of Major Psychiatric Disorders, and in Morning Report, Professor's Rounds, and the Consultation/Liaison-Emergency Room Case Conference attended by PGY-1 and PGY-2 residents.  It continues in the PGY-2 year with Addictions, Developmental Psychiatry, Child Psychopathology, Neuropsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry. Further discussion of psychopathology and phenomenology occurs in the general and specialty clinics in PGY-3, and in the PGY-3 forensic psychiatry course.

The Psychopharmacology sequence offers basic psychopharmacology in the PGY-1 year with Psychopharmacology I and the PGY-2 course, Psychopharmacology II. The PGY-3 Psychopharmacology Conference is open to all residents but targeted to PGY-3’s, and focuses on clinical problem-solving. Additional psychopharmacology is taught within specialty clinic settings.


The Neuroscience sequence includes Neurobiology I in the PGY-2 year, followed Neurobiology II and a six-month PGY-3 course in Neuroscience.

The Research Sequence, led by Dr. Kristen Jacobsen, begins in the PGY-2 year with an introduction to critical thinking and critical reading of the research literature, followed with a course on statistics in the autumn, and then an introduction to the basic science, translational and clinical research topics and laboratories within the Department. By the PGY-3 year, each resident is engaged in work with a research group, and in the PGY-4 year, each resident makes a research presentation to the Department. 

The Psychotherapy sequence begins in the summer of the PGY-2 year and is organized into specialized sequences of courses:

  • supportive psychotherapy—introduced in PGY-2
  • cognitive behavior therapy—introduced at the end of PGY-2 and continuing for six months in PGY-3, offering both didactic sessions on the use of CBT in mood, anxiety and emotional regulation disorders, and supervision for CBT cases
  • group therapy—introduced in PGY-3, and augmented by an ongoing process group open to all residents over the course of the entire time of residency
  • family therapy—introduced in PGY-3, with both didactic and supervisory components
  • psychodynamic psychotherapy—introduced in PGY-2 with Introduction to Psychodynamic and Supportive Psychotherapies and the two-quarter Psychodynamic Psychotherapy course, continuing in PGY-3 with the Longitudinal Case Conference and Advanced Psychodynamic Theories, and continuing electively in PGY-4 in the Intensive Sequence.

Throughout the four years, residents attend the Clinical Case Conference, CBT Case Conference, and the Interdisciplinary Case Conference, where a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches are discussed.

Courses for all residents

All residents come together on Thursday afternoons for a series of case conferences and seminars. They include the following:

Clinical Case Conference—led by Drs. Tom Kramer and Deborah Spitz, this weekly conference provides a forum for residents to present “problem” cases of all types. Discussion includes diagnostic dilemmas, various psychotherapeutic approaches, transference and countertransference issues, pharmacologic challenges, and other problems residents encounter in treating complex and difficult patients.

Interdisciplinary Case Conference—attended by trainees in psychiatry and psychology and led by interdisciplinary senior faculty, this monthly conference focuses on cases being treated by both residents and trainees in other disciplines. Topics discussed include Issues encountered with patients receiving medication and psychotherapy, or individual therapy plus family or couples therapy, from different treatment providers.

CBT Case Conference--led by Dr. Shona Vas and attended by psychology and psychiatry trainees, this seminar considers formulation and treatment issues in cases being treated with cognitive behavior therapy.

Psychopharmacology Conference—led by Drs. Royce Lee, Tom Kramer and Michael Marcangelo, this weekly conference presents lectures on each of the major psychotropic medication groups, as well as case-based discussions of side effect management and complex pharmacologic approaches to refractory psychiatric disorders of all types. Topics include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, sedative hypnotics, stimulants and other agents, in adults and child patients. PGY-3 residents share responsibility for presenting lectures and leading discussions.

Journal Club--led by the Chair, Dr. Emil Coccaro, this seminar for all residents critically examines the psychiatric literature.

Cultural Psychiatry--this summer conference, led by Niranjan Karnik, M.D., Ph.D., addresses differences in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders across cultures and sub-cultures.

Residents as Teachers--led by Drs. Deborah Spitz and Michael Marcangelo, this summer course introduces residents to the principles of bedside teaching and reviews skills in communicating teaching points, giving and receiving feedback, evaluation, and mentorship. The class includes role playing and other experiential learning techniques.

Departmental Grand Rounds are held throughout the year from September through June. Attended by all faculty and residents, Grand Rounds offers presentations by national and international leaders in the field as well as presentations by our own faculty, residents and other trainees. A listing of Grand Rounds speakers can be found elsewhere on this website.

Residents’ Process Group—led by Dr. Jeffrey Roth, this group meets 30 times throughout each academic year. Participation is open to all residents.

PGY-1 Courses

The clinical rotations and course curriculum in the PGY-1 year foster the resident’s developing identity as a competent and caring physician, through rotations in medicine, neurology, and inpatient, ECT and consultation-liaison psychiatry that offer broad clinical experience, excellent teaching, and appropriate levels of responsibility. All PGY-1 residents attend the Psychiatry Summer Orientation,  designed to introduce residents to basic concepts in psychiatry and prepare them for taking call, and introductory courses on Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology. While rotating on psychiatry at Northshore, residents attend the two-month PGY-1 courses on Becoming a Psychiatrist and Management of Major Psychiatric Disorders, and residents attend the year-long seminars and case conferences at the University of Chicago

Summer Introductory Courses

  Emergency Psychiatry—Marie Tobin, M.D.

Two-month Inpatient Courses at Northshore

  Becoming a  Psychiatrist-- Scott Gordon, M.D.

  Management of Major Psychiatric Disorders--Fred Miller, M.D.

SummerCourses at University of Chicago

   Psychopharmacology - Royce Lee, M.D.

   Psychopathology - Danielle Anderson, M.D.

Year-long PGY-1 Courses

  Morning Report—Inpatient Chief Resident

  • Professor’s Rounds—Eliot Gershon, M.D. and faculty
  • C/L Case Conference—Marie Tobin, M.D. and CL Chief Resident

PGY-2 Courses

The PGY-2 year builds on the PGY-1 experiences in medicine and psychiatry, exposing residents to inpatient psychiatric treatment in academic, public and private settings with more complex, dually diagnosed and medically complex patients. Residents rotate on the psychiatric consultation liaison and emergency psychiatry services at The University of Chicago Hospitals. Courses in the PGY-2 year are organized to solidify the resident’s understanding of phenomenology, psychopathology and psychopharmacology, to build a foundation in neuroscience, and to develop an understanding of diverse approaches to psychotherapy. Residents attend the Research seminar and identify a research group with which to work. PGY-2 residents continue to attend Morning Report, Professor’s Rounds and the Thursday afternoon courses for all residents, as well as Departmental Grand Rounds on Thursdays at noon.

Psychopathology/Phenomenology Sequence

  Developmental Psychiatry—Sharon Hirsh, M.D. and Child faculty

  • Child Psychopathology—Sharon Hirsh, M.D. and Child faculty
  • Neuropsychiatry—Fred Ovsiew, M.D.
  • Geriatric Psychiatry—Danielle Anderson, M.D.
  • C/L Case Conference—Marie Tobin, M.D. and CL Chief Resident

Psychopharmacology Sequence

 Psychopharmacology II—Tom Kramer, M.D.

Neuroscience Sequence

  Neurobiology I—Royce Lee, M.D.

Research Sequence

  Indroduction to Research; Statistics; and Departmental Research--Kristen Jacobsen, Ph.D.

Psychotherapy Sequence

 Introduction to Supportive and Psychodynamic Psychotherapies—Deborah Spitz, M.D.

  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy—Allen Kodish, M.D.
  • Introduction to Cognitive Behavior Therapy—Shona Vas, Ph.D.

Other Courses:

  Systems of Care—Daniel Yohanna, M.D.

  • Ethical Issues in Psychiatry—David Berrier, M.D.

PGY-3 Courses

The PGY-3 year is an outpatient year designed to enable residents to function more independently and to follow a large number of patients longitudinally, Through a year-long experience in the general psychiatry clinics, subspecialty clinics and sessions set aside to see psychotherapy patients, residents gain a sense of the breadth and depth of psychiatric disorders and their treatment. Courses deepen the resident’s understanding of psychopathology, psychopharmacology, neuroscience and psychotherapy, and further the resident’s understanding and practical experience of research in the Research Seminar. Third-year residents collaborate with faculty to develop and present lectures in the psychopharmacology conference attended by all residents. PGY-3 residents attend the Thursday afternoon courses for all residents, as well as Departmental Grand Rounds on Thursdays at noon.

Psychopathology Sequence

  Forensics lectures—Daniel Yohanna, M.D.

Psychopharmacology Sequence

  Psychopharmacology Conference—Royce Lee, M.D., Tom Kramer, M.D. and Michael Marcangelo, M.D.

Neuroscience Sequence

  Neurobiology II—Royce Lee, M.D.

  • Neuroscience--Stephanie Dulawa, Ph.D, Royce Lee, M.D. and faculty

Psychotherapy Sequence

  CBT for Mood and Anxiety Disorders—Shona Vas, Ph.D.

  • CBT for Disorders of Emotional Regulation—Shona Vas, Ph.D.
  • Group Psychotherapy—Julia Wernke, Ph.D.
  • Longitudinal Case Conference—Deborah Spitz, M.D.
  • Advanced Psychodynamic Theories—Susan Fisher, M.D.
  • Family Therapy and Supervision- John Rolland, M.D.

PGY-4 Courses

In the PGY-4 year, residents solidify administrative and leadership skills, enlarge clinical confidence and autonomy, and focus on individual specialized areas of interest. Each resident assumes a Chief Resident position with significant administrative, supervision and teaching components. Each resident completes a research project and makes a presentation to the Department. Residents continue to follow outpatients in a variety of psychotherapeutic modalities, and may choose elective clinical experiences in specialized psychotherapies, such as group or family therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, or dialectical behavior therapy, to name a few. In conjunction with faculty advisors, each resident develops an individualized schedule for the fourth year that reflects the serious pursuit of particular interests. The year is designed to allow maximum flexibility so that each resident may pursue a meaningful area in depth. Courses reflect the clinical, administrative and research activities of the resident. All residents attend the Research Seminar, receive Chief Residency Administrative Supervision, and attend Grand Rounds and the Thursday afternoon courses.

  • Research Elective—Emil Coccaro, M.D. and research faculty
  • Intensive Sequence—Harry Trosman, M.D.
  • Chief Residency Administrative Supervision—individual faculty