Competitiveness: Low

Psychiatry is the key specialty for medical professionals looking to delve into diagnosing and treating a wide variety of mental illnesses and disorders. Training for Psychiatry is four years, though, unlike most specialties with 4-year programs, most Psychiatry programs are Categorical (full training) while a handful start in the PGY-2 year. Overall, Psychiatry is considered a more flexible and laid back specialty, however, like any other specialty it requires proof of dedication and passion for the specialty. As Psychiatry does not always have a clear cut solution, Program Directors look for candidates that are good listeners, strong mediators, flexible and creative thinkers. The most important boosts to your application are how well you do in your Psychiatry sub-Internship and that you volunteer/extracurricular activities. Other helpful actions Psychiatry applicants can take is to obtain research or Externship experiences.

ENTER YOUR CREDENTIALS Customize your Psychiatry program list

IMG Profile

Average Stats for a Matched US IMG in 2018:

  • USMLE Step 1 score: 214
  • USMLE Step 2 CK score: 227
  • Research: 1.8
  • Abstracts/Presentations/etc: 2.4
  • Work: 3.7
  • Volunteer: 5.2

Average Stats for a Matched Non-US IMG in 2018:

  • USMLE Step 1 score: 222
  • USMLE Step 2 CK score: 232
  • Research: 2.5
  • Abstracts/Presentations/etc: 6.4
  • Work: 6.1
  • Volunteer: 4.4

Specialty Factors

Every specialty has unique factors they want each candidate to have in their residency application. NRMP conducts regular Program Director surveys to identify which parts of the residency application are most important in differing specialties. Among the information gathered, Program Directors were asked to to cite factors they used to select candidates for interviews. They were also asked to rate each factor on a scale from 1 (least important) to 5 (most important).

The Top 5 Most Important Psychiatry Application Factors

Percentage of Programs Citing Each Factor

  1. USMLE Step 1 score (91%), MSPE (91%)
  2. Personal Statement (90%)
  3. Specialty specific Letters of Recommendation (84%), USMLE Step 2 CK score (84%), Perceived commitment to specialty (84%)
  4. Personal prior knowledge of applicant (76%)
  5. Any failed attempt in USMLE (74%)

Average Importance Rating for Each Factor (scale of 1 to 5)

  1. Any failed attempt in USMLE (4.9)
  2. Evidence of professionalism and ethics (4.5)
  3. Any failed attempt in USMLE (4.4), Perceived commitment to specialty (4.4), Perceived interest in program (4.4), Visa Status (4.4)
  4. MSPE (4.3), Personal prior knowledge of applicant (4.3), Fluency in language spoken by patient population
  5. Personal Statement (4.2), Grades in clerkship in desired specialty (4.2), Audition elective/rotation within department (4.2), Consistency of grades (4.2), Lack of gaps in medical education (4.2)

Fast Facts

Total Training 4 years
Average Residency Salary $56,000
Average Work Week 46.5 Hours
Peak Interview Months October, February
Key Organizations and Societies: American Psychiatric Association (APA)
The American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry (AACDP)
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Psychiatry is one of the few medical specialties that truly cares more about you as a person and professional than about your USMLE exams

Match Statistics

Main Residency Match and Post-Match Stats


IMGs Matched

256 /

Number of Programs/Positions


Post-Match SOAP Unfilled Positions

Main Residency Match


Post-Match SOAP

Program Track Categorical
Participating Programs 5
Filled Programs 5
Positions Available 12
Filled Positions 12


  • Clinical neurophysiology
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Addiction psychiatry
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Geriatric psychiatry
  • Hospice and palliative medicine
  • Pain management
  • Psychosomatic medicine (also known as consultation-liaison psychiatry)