Didactic Curriculum


In order to train future leaders, we have developed a didactic curriculum that simultaneously exposes residents to foundational knowledge and the leading edges of inquiry. The didactic curriculum is organized into five, longitudinal modules:

  • Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Neuroscience
  • Professionalism, Leadership and Systems
  • Psychopathology, Diagnosis and Pharmacotherapy
  • Theories of the Mind & Psychotherapy

The majority of learning sessions occurs on Wednesday afternoons – a time set aside for residents to engage in didactic learning and professional development.  Each resident class, PGY-1 through PGY-4, has its own series of didactic sessions.  In addition, multiple times throughout the year, combined educational events are held with all four classes of trainees together to facilitate cross-class learning and teaching. Examples include risk assessment workshop, medical education workshop, cultural psychiatry workshop, and a post-suicide workshop.

Courses and seminars occur within each of the five modules across the different years of the program, particularly in the first 3 years. The modules are organized to cover topics at increasing levels of sophistication and depth to match the development of the residents. As an FYI, some example seminar titles include:

PGY-1 Seminars: Psychiatric interviewing; Basic Psychopharm for Mood, Anxiety, Thought, and Substance Use Disorders; Definition of “mind” and “mental illness”; Supportive and Cognitive Psychotherapy; Neuroscience; Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine; Teaching to Teach; Psychiatric Aspects of Medicine; Cultural Issues in Psychiatry.

PGY-2 Seminars: Psychopathology, Diagnosis, & Pharmacotherapy for each of the major disorders; Cognitive, Psychodynamic and Group Psychotherapies; Formulation & Psychotherapy of Personality Disorders; Family and Couples Psychotherapy; Substance Abuse; Evidence-Based Medicine.

PGY-3 Seminars: Advanced Outpatient Psychopharmacology; Sexual Orientation and Identity; Child Development and Psychopathology; Women’s Mental Health; Neurobiology of Mental Illness; Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, and Interpersonal Psychotherapies.

PGY-4 Seminars: Leadership in Psychiatry as a core didactic plus elective seminars are offered in Transcultural Psychiatry; Jungian Psychotherapy; Advanced Psychodynamic Psychotherapy; Couples and Sex therapy.


Residents as Educators

Psychiatry residents are involved in medical student teaching throughout the program, and seminars on “Teaching to Teach” are part of the core didactic program described above.  In the PGY-1 and PGY-2 years, residents work with students on the inpatient and consultation-liaison services teaching them about acute psychiatric evaluation and treatment.  During the PGY-3 and PGY-4 years, residents work with students in outpatient settings primarily, and trainees also have the option to work with students as part of their senior resident elective options including teaching on both acute and ambulatory services.  PGY-4 residents are all expected to participate in the Brain, Mind and Behavior course for first year medical students where they co-lead a small group session with a faculty member.

In addition, advanced residents are involved in teaching more junior residents in the program. PGY-2s work directly with PGY-1 residents on tandem call at San Francisco General Hospital, teaching acute inpatient care as well as principles of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. PGY-3s and PGY-4s are on outpatient teams together and meet weekly to discuss cases, and PGY-4 residents can co-lead small group supervision for PGY-3s with a faculty member where they teach Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT).  Multiple additional opportunities exist to teach across many different venues during the PGY-4 year.

The Department also offers a fourth year elective for those residents who want to learn about and do educational innovation and scholarship.  This elective is especially helpful to trainees planning to pursue a career in medical education.


Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service