What do you learn in medical school?

I’m interested in psychiatry and wanted to know what kinds of things you study in medical school.

Answer: Great question! I’m going into psychiatry myself.

The basic medical school curriculum is as follows:

Years 1 and 2: You will study anatomy and physiology of the different systems of the body (for example heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, etc.). You’ll also learn pharmacology (drugs). You’ll then learn about the diseases that affect the normal processes of the systems of the body.

During these years you’ll also be introduced to some of the skills needed to be a doctor, like taking a medical history and doing a physical exam. You’ll probably also go through cases (stories of patients) to learn how people present with certain diseases.

Years 3 and 4: During these years you will be “on the wards.” This means you will be in the hospital taking care of patients. You’ll spend several weeks on each of several rotations. These will probably include surgery, family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and of course psychiatry. It’s during these years that you really learn how to be a doctor.

Once you’re done with medical school, you “match” into a residency. Psychiatry is a 4 year residency for adult psychiatry. You can also do fellowships in child, forensic and geriatric psychiatry. Child is 2 years, the others 1 year. If you choose child, you can “fast track,” meaning you do 3 years of adult psychiatry and 2 years of child for a total of 5 years. That’s my plan.

One of the big differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist (besides the medical training) is the ability to prescribe medications. Psychiatrists can, psychologists can’t. Psychiatrists are also generally paid at a much higher rate.

For a more detailed answer to the question of what you learn at medical school, check out this page.

Good luck!