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General Adult Psychiatry Residency Didactic Curriculum

Our didactic curriculum emphasizes the fundamentals of psychiatry and pays special attention to the latest developments and trends in the biological, psychological and social determinants of mental health.

In order to ensure that residents can enjoy the didactic component of the curriculum apart from the daily activities of clinical work, time is protected for didactics over all four years, for six hours each Wednesday. This schedule also aims to foster a cohesive group in the residency program, as all residents from all years are present together at the same time, in the same location, every week.

Learn more about our clinical curriculum.

Drexel's General Psychiatry Residency didactic curriculum fosters a cohesive group in the residency program, as all residents from all years are present together at the same time, in the same location, every week.


The PGY-1 year begins with the "jump-starter" course in order to prepare first-year residents for the exciting start of work as a psychiatrist. Residents are introduced to the clinical management of common scenarios in emergency psychiatry; the mental status exam; the major classes of psychotropic medications; management of common medical comorbidities in emergency and acute care psychiatry; commitment laws; how to document evaluations and clinical encounters; common community resources relevant for patient care; and approaches to medical student teaching. Other didactics include:

  • Psychiatric Interview Series 
  • Psychopathology Series I
  • Addiction Medicine Series I
  • Psychopharmacology Series I
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry I 
  • Emergency Psychiatry I
  • Clinical Research Series
  • Neuroscience in Psychiatry Series
  • Cultural Psychiatry
  • Managed Care in Behavioral Health

In addition, PGY-1 residents are required to attend and present in the morning report which takes places three times a week. Monthly case conference at Friends Hospital is another platform for the PGY-1 residents to work on their skills in interviewing, diagnosis and treatment planning.


PGY-2 classes are aimed at preparing residents for their increasing responsibilities. A highlight of the PGY-2 curriculum is the Introduction to Psychotherapy course, which emphasizes brief, multi-modal treatment that integrates psychodynamic, supportive and cognitive behavioral techniques. Role play, taped observation of patient care, and experiential and writing exercises augment the learning experience. Listed below are the major didactics:

  • Psychosomatic Medicine
  • Psychopathology Series II: Advanced Psychopathology and Personality Disorder
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry II
  • Emergency Psychiatry II
  • Neurology Update
  • Trauma Series
  • Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Addiction Medicine II
  • Psychotherapy
  • Neuroscience in Psychiatry Series
  • Clinical Research Series
  • Advanced Somatic Therapy
  • Professionalism and Physician Leadership Series
  • Team Based Learning : Clinical Psychopharmacology

PGY-2 residents are required to attend and present in the Morning Report. In addition, there is a regular case conference held.


In PGY-3 year, the didactic curriculum is designed to help prepare residents to transition from acute care to outpatient care and to help foster the development of more independent roles as therapist and physician with an appropriate balance of autonomy and oversight. Psychotherapy courses are the main focus of the didactics. Below are the courses offered in PGY-3:

  • Psychotherapy Series III
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
    • Group Psychotherapy
    • Family Therapy
  • Evidence Based Advanced Psychopharmacology
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Neuroscience in Psychiatry Series
  • Social Psychiatry
  • Neuropsychiatry
  • Clinical Research Series
  • Cultural Psychiatry
  • Team Based Learning: Clinical Psychopharmacology

There is a weekly continuous case conference on psychodynamic case formulation, in which members of the group formulate an ongoing case from various theoretical perspectives including a Freudian approach, ego psychology, object relations, and self-psychology; in an additional continuous case conference, the residents observe an experienced psychotherapist in session weekly with a patient in order to discuss all issues of the therapeutic approach.


The PGY-4 curriculum concludes the formal didactic curriculum of the residency program. One highlight of the PGY-4 year includes a course on advanced differential diagnosis in which psychopathology, phenomenology, comorbidity and approaches to diagnosis are discussed. Courses include:

  • Case Conference
  • Supervision
  • Evidence Based Advanced Psychopharmacology
  • Neuropsychiatry
  • Neuroscience In Psychiatry Series
  • Team Based Learning: Clinical Psychopharmacology
  • Advanced Topics in Psychiatry
  • Classic Readings in Psychiatry
  • Transition to Practice

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Please note that residents and fellows are employed by and insured by the hospital; they are not employees of Drexel University.

Drexel University College of Medicine general adult psychiatry residents and faculty