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Medical School Education

The Department of Psychiatry is active in foundational science coursework, teaching psychopathology and early clinical skills. Psychiatry clerkship experiences are available at all nine IU School of Medicine campuses with accomplished faculty in robust clinical settings. Elective opportunities in many areas are available to medical students enrolled at IU School of Medicine students as well as guest medical students.

Early Medical Education

The Department of Psychiatry participates in education in the first phase of instruction covering the foundations of clinical work. Psychiatry faculty also guide medical students in exposure to basic psychopathology and treatment of psychiatric disorders in the organ system course addressing neuroscience and behavior.


Medical students enrolled at a medical school in the United States are eligible to apply for guest student elective study at Indiana University School of Medicine.

Guest Student Information

Clerkship in Psychiatry

The Psychiatry Clerkship is a part of the core clinical training offered at Indiana University School of Medicine. The Department of Psychiatry recognizes that a foundational understanding of mental health issues is important to all areas of medical practice and is committed to preparing students to integrate psychiatric principles in diverse sorts of patient care. The four-week clinical clerkship gives medical students the opportunity to see a broad range of psychiatric illness to prepare them for the general practice of medicine. Students develop the ability to elicit symptoms, formulate diagnoses and basic treatment plans, and consider the immediate illnesses as well as the social an economic impact of psychiatric illness.

The Clerkship is offered at all nine IU School of Medicine campuses. Clinical settings include acute adult and child inpatient settings; outpatient clinics for adults, children, veterans and special diagnostic groups; and emergency services and hospital consultation services. All clinical sites offer a common core experience combined with the unique qualities of each site. Depending on the site, students may work with a small resident/faculty team or directly with faculty for close one-to-one supervision.


Psychiatry electives are open to all IU School of Medicine fourth-year medical students, and many are open to third-year students and, on an availability basis, to visiting students. All visiting students must apply through the national American Association of Medical Colleges Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS).

Students pursuing a career in psychiatry are encouraged to take at least one elective in an area of clinical psychiatry. The hospital based electives are an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and interest, explore the discipline further, and potentially ask for a letter of recommendation for residency. Research electives are also encouraged.

Psychiatry electives are generally one month in length, although research electives may be longer based on scope of project. Standard electives are available in the IU School of Medicine elective catalog, and wide latitude is available to design psychiatry special electives.

Clinical Electives

  • Clinical Electives

    Students interested in experiencing clinical psychiatry beyond the required clerkship can consider electives in psychiatry. In addition, students considering primary care specialties as a career are especially encouraged to consider a clinical elective in psychiatry.

  • Research Electives
    The Department of Psychiatry maintains a standard elective in research. The department deeply values student contribution and projects. Psychiatry faculty hope to foster interest in research through meaningful experience. The department is pursuing many areas of research, including genetics of major disorders, substance abuse issues, issues of development and aging, and women’s issues. Student projects span from basic psychiatric research to broader-reaching topics such as student education and art in psychiatry.
  • Career Exploration
    The residents and faculty in the Department of Psychiatry are deeply committed to advancing the field and serve as excellent resources to gain more information about the experience of being a psychiatrist. 

    IU School of Medicine students who are interested in learning more or are actively pursuing a career in psychiatry are recommended to put in a mentor request. A mentor can provide information on various career options/experience in psychiatry, application procedures, suggested electives, activities and general information regarding residency.

    Another great avenue to learn more about the exciting field of psychiatry is through the IU School of Medicine student interest group led by medical students and a faculty member. Interested students can email the group leaders at for more information.