Department of Psychiatry

Undergraduate Education in the Department of Psychiatry has a strong presence in Faculty of Medicine training in both pre-clerkship and clerkship with educators in our department contributing over 8000 hours of teaching per year at the Undergraduate level.

Under the leadership of Dr. Raed Hawa, the Undergraduate Education Committee directs the implementation and promotion of Psychiatry course elements and educational enrichment programs to both medical students from the University of Toronto and medical schools across Canada and abroad.

Preclerkship Curriculum

Currently in the preclerkship there is a total of 50 hours of teaching in Psychiatry in lectures, and small group learning. With preclerkship renewal being launched in September 2016, the amount of time that Psychiatry faculty will be involved in teaching will be approximately doubled. The Medical Psychiatry Alliance curriculum also will impact the “face time” of psychiatry in the preclerkship years.

The new Foundations Curriculum will have a special unit for clinical exposure of psychiatry across the life span including child, geriatric and complex care.

A number of preclerkship initiatives have been launched since Dr. Hawa has taken over as Undergraduate Director. These include the Advocacy Mentoring Initiative (AMI), the Psychiatry Longitudinal Experience (PsycLE  and PsycLEr) and Making Each Encounter Therapeutic (MEET) programs and the Psychiatry Hub. 

Clerkship Curriculum

The core clerkship in psychiatry is a comprehensive 6 week rotation with a mix of didactic teaching, seminars and clinical teaching. There is one day of central didactic teaching which covers a variety of topics. The psychiatry leads for the preclerkship courses and the year 3 psychiatry core sessions meet annually to ensure better integration along the three years. Seminars are also held at a local level on a weekly basis. The local offerings use a combination of real patient experiences, role-play and standardized patients.

Interprofessional learning opportunities are available and are part of the students’ clinical experience on the inpatient units, ACT teams, Consultation-Liaison Service, and ER psychiatry.

All students have 2 half days of clinical time with a child psychiatrist with an opportunity to do an extra half-day in their selective time. Geriatric psychiatry exposure is achieved for approximately 35 students who do a 3 week inpatient geriatric psychiatry placement but is not available to all students. Students take call until 11pm in a 1 in 5 schedule.

Students at Mississauga Hospital and Credit Valley Hospital have an outpatient experience integrated during their clinical rotation. All students get two half days to do a mini-selective in week 6 in areas they feel they need more exposure. Also, all students get 10 hours of self-study time during their clinical placement. They also have virtual office hours with Dr. Hawa (5 hours spread over the first 5 weeks of their Block) where they can post questions and queries.

Medical students are encouraged to review the Psychiatry PSS310Y Course shell on Portal for detailed, up-to-date curriculum and contact information for their rotation.


Undergraduate Psychiatry encourages all students interested in the field of Psychiatry as a career or for global professional development to explore our array of potential Elective options. Applicants may wish to contact prospective supervisors in advance, but all students must adhere to application regulations as laid out by the UME Electives office. For guidance on Psychiatry electives, please feel free to contact


Selectives are experiences that take place in the second half of the fourth year of medical training.  Selectives refer to a set of clinical experiences undertaken by the University of Toronto students with the goal of preparing them for residency. The department of Psychiatry provides a list of selectives through our experienced teachers and clinicians. For guidance on Psychiatry selectives, please feel free to contact

The Hub

The Hub – Psychiatry is an online resource and study guide for second and third year medical students learning about Psychiatry at the University of Toronto (U of T).

This online interactive tool was created in response to the student need for up to date, relevant and distilled resources to use for clinical reference and studying Psychiatry and Mental Health topics. This resource contains 18 essential topics or presenting complaints that a medical student is expected to encounter during their exposure to psychiatry.

For each topic there may be clinical cases, videos, PowerPoint presentations, clinical decision rules, guidelines, quizzes, and references to use for learning and self-assessment purposes.

Enrichment Initiatives

Undergraduate Psychiatry hosts a number of non-curricular enrichment programs to promote exposure and interest to the psychiatry specialty with the following initiatives:


(open to: University of Toronto first year medical students)

PsycLE (the Psychiatry Longitudinal Experience) aims to increase medical students’ knowledge in the area of Psychiatry and allow them to become more comfortable interacting with patients with mental illness. It also provides an opportunity to get a sense of what it is like to specialize in the field of psychiatry in either a hospital or office setting.

PsycLE offers two blocks of placements timed to integrate with the first year medical student program. Between sixty and seventy Year 1 medical students (30-35  per block) are accepted each year.

More details about PsycLE


(open to: University of Toronto  second year medical students)

MEET (Making Every Encounter Therapeutic) is a second-year elective experience in therapeutic communication that is situated within the Medical Psychiatry Alliance (MPA). The elective offers an opportunity for medical students to receive 1:1 coaching in communication skills that focuses on making connections: between patients and physicians; mental and physical health; care of self and others; competence and caring.  MEET-MPA is expanding (with over 60 students from all UME academies).  For more information please contact Eileen Waweru at 



(open to: University of Toronto first year medical students)

AMI provides a select group of first year medical students to become Mentors through The Peer Project to youth who are identified as living in “at-risk” communities.

Medical students will be partnered to youth residing in Toronto. They will also meet in groups of five with two Residents each who will help support their match. Medical students will get to know the other members of their group and the two residents who are mentoring them over the course of the project, intended to run for over 18 months. Medical students will learn more about child development, community health and principles related to Advocacy through regular seminars and other scholarly activity.

Summer Institute

(open to: first and second year medical students across Canada)

This is a one-week program held at the end of the academic year for junior medical students from universities across Canada to expose them to potential role models and mentors in the field of psychiatry. It consists of morning interactive seminars and afternoon elective placements. A kind of “Psychiatry Summer Camp”, the week serves both an educational and social function and is meant to give those who may be uncertain about a life as a psychiatrist a chance to explore the field firsthand.

For application information, click here.

Department of Psychiatry Facebook Group

Join us on our Department of Psychiatry Facebook group

As a part of our endeavour to explore new modalities of connecting with students, the Department of Psychiatry is launching a Facebook group, with the aim of engaging with students by sharing mental health related news and events as well as information about our Department’s programs and psychiatry as a career. We hope to use this group to further bolster interest in and knowledge about our specialty and aid in strengthening our recruitment efforts.

Undergraduate Medical Education Posts