Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About Applications and Interviews

Are there minimum requirements for USMLE scores, research experience, etc.?

Our program does not have firm cut-offs for any thing. We believe it is important to look at all aspects of the application in order to determine if we will offer an interview.

When should I submit my application?

We receive the vast majority of our applications within the first several weeks of ERAS opening. We will frequently review applications before they are complete so it is best to submit materials as soon as they are ready. We frequently offer interviews before an application is complete so we would recommend that you send us your application as soon as you can.

I have already scheduled a date for my interview but want to change it. What do I do?

It is not uncommon that people need to change their interview date. We understand this and will be as accommodating as possible. While a minimum of two weeks notice is needed before cancelling or rescheduling an interview as per AADPRT policy, it typically takes several weeks to create a schedule for a particular day. Thus, you should call us as soon as you know that you need to make a change so that you have the best chance to get the date you want and we have the needed time to create your schedule. Cancelling with less than a two-week notice, unless for an emergency, is considered unprofessional and prevents other applicants from visiting us. We have been encouraged to report such occurrences to ERAS.

What is the USMLE Step 3 policy?

The goal is for all residents to pass Step 3 of the USMLE (or the equivalent COMLEX exam for DOs) by the end of the PG-1 year. All residents are required to pass USMLE Step 3 by the end of PG-2 year.

Questions About the Program

How friendly is the program to families/marriage?

Our program has a good mix of single and married residents, and many have children. The program definitely stresses the work/home balance, and is very accommodating. Our call schedule is very reasonable, especially in third and fourth year where there is no required call. St Louis also has a lot to offer to growing families, including great neighborhoods to live in, good schools and tons of activities.

How much diversity is there in faculty?

No matter what your interest, you will be able to find someone here to work with in order to learn. From a research perspective, there are faculty focused on cutting edge investigation and treatments in any niche of psychiatry from neuroimaging to neurosteroids. From a clinical side, faculty range in focus across treatment settings -- inpatient, outpatient, child, ECT, forensics, and geriatrics are all well represented. We have a strong group of female psychiatrists who are very willing to discuss the challenges and benefits of being a woman in the field. A lot of our faculty trained at Wash U but even among them the differences all are still great. Despite our strong focus on the medical model of psychiatry we also have faculty who make groundbreaking contributions to work in personality and psychotherapy.

How is the faculty guidance/oversight?

One of our highlights is the strong focus on independence with supervision from extremely talented faculty. As a PGY1, you work on an inpatient team that consists of the intern, attending, and medical students. During that first year, you work with the majority of our inpatient attendings and they are able to learn your strengths and weaknesses, helping you improve along the way. That one-on-one time with our faculty allows you to learn from a varied group and take away strengths of each attending to add to your own skill-set. By the second year, when you are looking for clinical supervisors, the faculty know you by name. We also have a strong group of alumni across the country, who are willing to help with the job search after training.

How diverse are the patients we see? Do you see a wide variety of mental illness?

Patients seen at Barnes-Jewish Hospital are quite diverse. We predominately care for individuals from the local area of St. Louis, but patients routinely come to us for treatment from the broader state of Missouri as well as nationally. St. Louis also has a good mix of citizens who have immigrated here from different parts of the world (e.g. the Middle East, Bosnia, and Nepal). This mix provides the residents with a diverse cultural experience. Our patients have varying insurance coverage: patient pay, Medicare/Medicaid to private insurance, although it does not affect the way we deliver care. On the inpatient unit all patients are older than 18. There are general adult, acute, and geriatric units with varying populations due to age and acuity of illness. The spectrum of mental illness seen is rather broad on the inpatient service (from a first depressive episode with suicidal ideation to rather severe manic episodes of bipolar disorder, new onset psychosis, or dementia with behavioral disturbance). Due to our inpatient unit having 46 beds, there is ample opportunity for each resident to have sufficient exposure to a wide spectrum of illness. The additional rotations in our program allow for a greater exposure to other populations as well: patients with eating disorders, addictions, or "bread and butter" topics where medical or neurologic concerns overlap on consults (e.g. delirium and dementia) or in an extended care facility. Residents can even do a rotation at the main campus of Washington University, taking care of high functioning graduate and undergraduate students.

What is the moonlighting policy?

After completion of the PG-1 year, residents, who are eligible to obtain their permanent license and are in good standing with the program, are allowed to moonlight internally. Those on J or H visas are not eligible to moonlight due to government restrictions. US citizens, who attended a foreign medical school, cannot moonlight until after completion of PG-3 year because the State of Missouri requires three years of residency training before an IMG may obtain a permanent license.

Do I need to have a car?

If you live near the hospital, you do not need a car during your PG-1 year. You can simply walk to work. During PG-2 year, several rotations are off site, so a car is required to get to these facilities. PGY-3 residents will also need a car to get to one of the off-site outpatient clinics.

Is time given off for conferences?

PGY-1 and PGY-2 residents are generally not allowed time off to attend conferences. PGY-3 and PGY-4 residents may take up to 5 days off to attend educationally appropriate conferences.

Are research opportunities available during training?

The primary focus of the training program is clinical excellence in psychiatry. For those interested in research, residents may opt to take a research elective in the 2nd year of residency for two months. In the 4th year residents may spend a maximum of eight months doing research. Residents may utilize any faculty member at the University as long as the project is germane to psychiatry.