Undergraduate Education

Undergraduate Education in the Department of Psychiatry has a strong presence in Faculty of Medicine training in both the Foundations and Clerkship years. Educators in our Department contribute over 8,000 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.

Foundations Curriculum

The Foundations Curriculum contains 50 hours of psychiatry teaching in lectures and small group learning. 

This curriculum has a special unit for clinical exposure of psychiatry across the life span including child, geriatric and complex care. For more information on the Foundations Curriculum please visit: http://www.md.utoronto.ca/foundations-curriculum

Clerkship Curriculum

The Core Clerkship in Psychiatry (PSS310Y) is a comprehensive 6-week rotation with a mix of didactic teaching, seminars and clinical teaching. Seminars are also held at partner hospitals on a weekly basis. These involve 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 two half-days of clinical time with a child psychiatrist, with the opportunity to do an extra half-day in their selective time. Some (but not all) students gain exposure to geriatric psychiatry via a 3 week inpatient placement . 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. In addition, all students get 10 hours of self-study time during their clinical placement. They also have virtual office hours with Dr. Hawa (five hours spread over the first five weeks of their Block) where they can post questions and queries.

Clerkship students may refer to the Psychiatry PSS310Y Course shell on Elentra for detailed, up-to-date curriculum and contact information for their rotation.

For more information regarding the Clerkship Program please visit: http://www.md.utoronto.ca/clerkship


We encourage all students interested in 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 (http://www.md.utoronto.ca/electives-office).  For guidance on psychiatry electives, please visit the Electives Catalogue (http://medsis.utoronto.ca/electives/).


Year 4 students of the MD Program participate in a 14-week Transition to Residency (TTR) course.  Selectives are offered with the goal of preparing them for residency.

Enrichment Initiatives

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


(Open to: MD Program Year 1 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 Year 1 of the MD Program.  


(Open to: MD Program Year 2 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. For more information please contact Eileen Waweru at eileen.waweru@utoronto.ca


(Open to: MD Program Year 1 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 with youth residing in Toronto. They will learn more about child development, community health and principles related to Advocacy through regular seminars and other scholarly activity.

Summer Institute

(Open to: MD Program Years 1& 2 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.

Department of Psychiatry Facebook Group

Join us on our Department of Psychiatry Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/762480473857373/

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