Program Overview

The University of Wisconsin Psychiatry Residency provides rigorous but humane training in general psychiatry in the highly livable city of Madison. We also offer fellowships in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine. We accept nine PGY1 residents each year.

Residency Tracks

There are several different pathways through the University of Wisconsin Psychiatry Residency:

  • Traditional. Residents without prior residency training start at the PGY1 level and complete 4 years of training.
  • Advanced. Residents who have had least one year of prior residency experience start at the PGY1 level and graduate at the end of the PGY3 level. They are compensated as PGY2-4s, depending on prior experience.
  • Clinical Educator. Residents enter this track as PGY2s in order to develop their skills as educators via mentorship and developing an educator project.
  • Community Psychiatry. One resident dedicates a substantial portion of her or his PGY4 year to community psychiatry experiences at the Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT), with optional additional time at the VA Community Support Program.
  • Public Health Track. Through a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Human Services, we are able to expand our residency and to offer a Public Health Track. This track will allow one PGY4 resident per year to pursue a number of activities around the state, with the goal of learning how to provide mental health care to underserved populations around the State of Wisconsin.

All tracks fulfill American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology requirements for certification in general psychiatry.

Residents interested in a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship, either at UW or elsewhere, start at the PGY1 level and finish at the PGY3 level. They apply for a fellowship at the start of the PGY3 year.

PGY1 Rotations

  • Inpatient Psychiatry at UW Hospital and the Madison VA Hospital (8 months)
  • Inpatient Family Medicine at UW Hospital (1-2 months)
  • Inpatient Pediatrics at UW Hospital (1-2 months)
  • Emergency Medicine at UW Hospital (1 month)
  • Ambulatory Family Medicine (1 month for Public Health Track resident)

Residents with prior residency experience take Neurology & Electives instead of Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine.

PYG2 Rotations

  • Adult Outpatient Psychiatry at the Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute and Clinics (WisPIC), the primary site for long-term treatment and psychotherapy (4 half-days per week, including 1 half-day for psychotherapy)
  • Addiction Psychiatry at the Madison VA (1 half-day per week)
  • Geriatric Psychiatry at WisPIC (1 half-day per week for 6 months)
  • Emergency Psychiatry: Immediate Treatment Clinic at WisPIC (1 half-day per week for 3 months) and Emergency Department at UWHC/VA (1 half-day per week for 3 months)
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at WisPIC (1 half-day per week, plus seminar time)
  • Madison VA Mental Health Clinic (1 half-day day per week)
  • VA Integrated Primary Care Behavioral Health Clinic (1 half-day per week for 3 months)

PYG3 Rotations

  • Adult Outpatient Psychiatry at WisPIC (4 half-days per week, including 1 half-day for psychotherapy)
  • Marital-Family Therapy clinic at WisPIC (approximately 2 hours per week for 6 months)
  • Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at UW Hospital and Madison VA Hospital (40% time for 6 months)
  • Quality Improvement Rotation at UW, VA or WisPIC (1 half-day per week for 9 months)
  • Forensic Psychiatry at Mendota Mental Health Institute (1 half-day per week for 3 months)
  • Neurology & Neuropsychology clinics at UW and VA (50% time for 3 months)
  • Community Psychiatry: VA Neuroleptic Clinic (1 half-day per week for 3 months) and Access Community Health (1 half-day per week for 3 months)
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy at UW Hospital (3 half-days per week for 6 weeks)
  • Geriatric Psychiatry at the VA (2 half-days per week for 6 weeks)

PYG4 Rotations

  • Adult Outpatient Psychiatry at WisPIC (50% time)
  • Electives (approximately 50% time)
  • Remainder of Neurology requirement
  • Chief Residency (3 selected per year, 20% time each)

Residents on the Public Health Track will be able to spend a significant amount of time in rotations around the State of Wisconsin and use modalities such as telepsychiatry.


PGY1 seminars occur during protected time on Wednesday afternoons (3 hours). They include the fundamentals of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment as well as more innovative courses such as the Biopsychosocial Case Formulation Conference. PGY1s receive a "crash course" in June and July to better prepare them for inpatient psychiatry

PGY2 seminars occur during protected time on Wednesday afternoons (3 hours) and Thursday mornings (3 hours), and include intensive exposure to Psychotherapy, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and disease-specific topics.

PGY3 seminars occur during protected time on Wednesday afternoons (3 hours), and include additional Psychotherapy topics, Community Psychiatry, Consult-Liaison Psychiatry, Quality Improvement, Forensic Psychiatry, Neurology.

PGY4 seminars occur during protected time on Wednesday afternoons (3 hours), and include advanced psychotherapy and other topics helping prepare residents for practice.

Residents also attend Grand Rounds, Journal Clubs, Clinical Case Conferences, and Morbity and Mortality Conferences on Fridays throughout much of the year.


The in-house team overnight and on weekends includes two residents, in some combination of PGY1, PGY2, PGY3 or PGY4. Early in the year a PGY3/4 is the senior resident, and a PGY2 is the junior resident; as the year progresses, the PGY2s take on the senior role, with PGY1s as junior residents. PGY1s participate in the Night Float system, and PGY2s, PGY3s and PGY4s share call responsibilities. Faculty join the residents in house for their first six calls (“accompanied call”) in order to provide adequate supervision, and then are available by phone for the rest of the year. A Call Committee comprised of residents is responsible for developing the call schedule and for suggesting improvement. We review our call system each year and make adjustments as necessary to ensure the quality of the call experience.


All residents have the opportunity to participate in research throughout their residency. The Department of Psychiatry has world-class scientists that are involved in cutting edge research investigating the causes of major mental illness, their pathophysiology and new treatment strategies. The Department is especially distinguished in the areas of the basic science of human emotion, the effects of stress, sleep disorders and functional brain imaging.

The Health Emotions Research Institute, based in the Department, is a University-wide institution dedicated to exploring the links between emotions and health. Directed by Department Chair Ned Kalin, the overall aim of HealthEmotions is to develop a better understanding of the brain mechanism involved in the positive and negative emotions. Additional research efforts explore the psychosocial factors that predispose to mental illness and the brain mechanisms underlying successful psychotherapy.

The Department's on-site research resources include molecular biology facilities, sleep laboratory, transcranial magnetic stimulation and the Lane Neuroimaging Lab. PET, microPET and EEG equipment is available at the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior. The University offers numerous other resources and opportunities for research and collaboration.