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Medical Student Education

The Division of Medical Student Education in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior organizes and administers three core medical school curriculum courses and various elective courses:

Course No. Course Title Contact Hours Year
611 Human Behavior  36 

Spring, 1st year

621 Introduction to Clinical Psychiatry  14 

Spring, 2nd year

631 Psychiatry Clerkship    140 

Rotation, 3rd year


  • Psychiatry 611. This 36-hour, ten week course is designed to provide an overview of ordered and disordered behaviors. Initially, the focus of the course is on three neural circuits that play major roles in the generation of individual normal and abnormal behaviors. Then, as the course progresses, the focus is on how clusters of abnormal behaviors become grouped into specific psychiatric syndromes as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). As specific psychiatric syndromes are introduced, so too, will basic treatment modalities. Note: Beginning in 2017, this course will merge with others as an interdepartmental course, "Medical Neuroscience and Behavior."
  • Psychiatry 621. This 20-hour,10-week course is designed to focus in depth on the most frequently encountered mental illnesses presented in the M1 year. Each class includes online course material to be completed prior to class, a one hour class focused on that material and a one hour small group interview of Standardized Patients (SPs - actors playing the role of patients with the specific mental disorder that is the focus of the class). For each week, 2-3 students will be assigned to interview the SP and, after 30 minutes, discuss their findings with the rest of the team and the facilitator. The goal of this course is to reinforce behavioral science concepts that the student learned in the first year in preparation for 1) the STEP1 examinations; and 2) the students' clinical clerkship in psychiatry.
  • Psychiatry 631. This four-week clerkship of approximately 200 hours is designed to introduce the medical student to the clinical practice of psychiatry in both inpatient and outpatient settings. In addition, this clerkship practically reinforces the theoretical principles of the psychiatric interview, differential diagnosis and individual treatment plans for a wide variety of patients. The bulk of time in this course (75-80%) is spent in clinical settings under the supervision of attending psychiatrists and psychologists as well as residents in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. The remaining time (20-25%) is spent in study of self-directed learning using online modules and recent primary care practice review articles that cover critical topics in psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, didactics in clinical psychopharmacology, and formal case presentations, discussions and write-ups. The clerkship consists of one mandatory assigned inpatient rotation in either the Adult Inpatient Unit (7 West) or the Medical Psychiatric Inpatient Unit (7 East). In addition, students spend one week in the outpatient Behavioral Health Specialty Clinics. Finally, students have an elective week of rotation in one of five Department inpatient or outpatient units.
  • Psych 653. General Psychiatry. Students may propose their own plan of study which must be approved by the Department prior to the start of the block. Opportunities are available for students to design, with guidance, a clinical elective that meets their specific needs, e.g., combining inpatient and outpatient work, or participating in ongoing clinically relevant basic research projects within the department. Such projects can be supervised by faculty members in any of the disciplines (psychiatry, psychology and research) represented within the department. (Three (3) students each month. Available all months.)
  • Psych 658. Sleep Disorders. The senior student spends four weeks assigned to the Sleep Disorders Center at UMMC. The rotation exposes the student to the evaluation, differential diagnosis, and treatment of sleep disorders. Under close faculty supervision the student participates in initial patient evaluations, follow-up appointments, and reviewing polysomnograms. (One (1) student each month. Not available in December and January.)
  • Psych 851 and 852. Psychiatry Extramural. Extramural rotations for four weeks or longer can be arranged with the course director or chair's approval for students who are interested in the specialty. (Available for senior medical students only. Available all months.)