Didactic Curriculum

UCSF emphasizes innovation and creativity, and the Adult Psychiatry Residency Program continues to evolve to best prepare residents to become expert clinicians and leaders in the field. The program provides broad exposure to a diversity of patients, modalities, therapies, and environments, while also stressing longitudinal relationships through communities of patients and teaching of fellow residents.

In order to train future leaders, UCSF has developed a didactic curriculum that supports residents to develop expertise in a number of authentic health care roles. The didactic curriculum is organized around the following seven roles:

  • Clinician
  • Consultant
  • Service Innovator
  • Team Leader
  • Educator
  • Scholar
  • Specialist

Cutting across these seven roles are four key areas of knowledge and skill that link the didactic curriculum to the clinical curriculum:

  • Assessment and Formulation
  • Developmental Foundations
  • Treatment Delivery
  • Scientific Inquiry

Below is an outline of the UCSF didactic curriculum and the current PGY-1 didactic schedule as an example:

Roles chart Roles chart


The majority of learning sessions occur on Wednesday afternoons – a time set aside for residents to engage in didactic learning and professional development. Each resident class, PGY-1 through PGY-4, has its own series of didactic sessions. In addition, multiple times throughout the year, combined educational events are held with all four classes of trainees together to facilitate cross-class learning and teaching. Examples include the risk assessment workshop, medical education workshop, cultural psychiatry workshop, and a post-suicide workshop.

Individual seminars are organized into “role blocks”, periods of several weeks to several months, where didactic teaching will focus on the clinical experiences most salient to trainees at each PGY level. Over the four years of training, role blocks cover topics at increasing levels of sophistication and depth to match the development of the residents. Some example role blocks include:

  • PGY-1 Role Blocks: DSM5 and RDoC Diagnosis, Acute Assessment, Acute Treatment and Discharge Planning, Acute Consultation, Access to Care and Disparities, Landmark Studies, Medical Education Bootcamp
  • PGY-2 Seminars: Outpatient Assessment, Neuro-development, Attachment and Alliance, Diagnostic Formulation, Interdisciplinary Teams and Leadership Styles
  • PGY-3 Seminars: Outpatient Management and Anticipatory Guidance, Complex Formulation, Collaborative Care, Fellowships, Areas of Distinction, Cutting Edge Science
  • PGY-4 Seminars: Leadership and Career Development, plus elective seminars are offered in Transcultural Psychiatry; Jungian Psychotherapy; Advanced Psychodynamic Psychotherapy; Couples and Sex therapy.

UCSF recognizes the importance of alternatives to classroom-based lectures, and dedicated time (“white space”) is also allocated for learning through independent readings, research, online learning, and project/problem-based learning.