Psychiatry Observerships

The Clinical Observership Program is full until September 2025.

The Research Observership Program is unavailable at this time.

The application portal for Clinical Observerships will re-open on March 24, 2025, and remain open until May 9, 2025. Applications for the October 2025-June 2026 cycle will be received at that time.

Any applications which are submitted and completed during the period that the portal is open will be considered. Top applicants will be invited to have an interview on Zoom. 

Accepted applicants for the four-week Clinical Observership Program will be notified in June 2025. 

The Department of Psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University Medical Center provides Observership (shadowing) positions for international medical students or graduates of training programs in medical specialties. The goal of this program is to provide international medical students/graduates with the opportunity to experience examples of the American psychiatric medical system.

There are two different Observership opportunities possible.

A Clinical Observership – this program is 4 weeks long. This is a rotating Observership, the observer spends one week each on four different clinical services (usually an inpatient unit, an outpatient unit, the psychiatric emergency room and a psychiatry specialty service).

A Research Observership – for observers who can commit a longer length of time (usually 6-12 months, either full or 1/2 time) and have skills/interest that may be of use to a research team. We will attempt to match you to an appropriate site but this is not always possible, there is very limited availability for this option.

There is a fee of $2000 for either program. Housing is not provided. We do not sponsor any visas.

Application Process

All materials must be uploaded into the application portal.
                                    The Application Portal is closed at this time

The application includes (and you should have ready to upload):

  • Curriculum Vitae: Please include an updated version of your CV as part of this application.
  • Letters of Reference: Three letters of references from individuals who are closely acquainted with your educational and/or work experience. At least one letter should be from your Medical School or Training Director. Please be ready to list the name and emails of the persons providing the letters – your referee(s) will automatically receive an email instructing them how to upload their letter into our application portal.
  • Personal Statement:  please write a single-spaced essay of no fewer than 400 words and no more than 800 words on why you are applying to this program. You should describe your interest in psychiatry and how it has developed. We are interested in how this program would assist you with meeting your career goals, as well as any additional skills and experiences that you may want to highlight. You should include any research experience that you have, giving special emphasis to any relevant to psychiatry.

After the application is complete, a video-interview will be offered to discuss your interests, your ability to communicate in English, and the role of the observership in your career plans. In general, clinical observerships are 4 weeks long and begin on Mondays throughout the year. We usually can only host 10 observers each academic year.

Research observerships require a longer-term commitment (usually 6-12 months, either full or 1/2 time) and are only available if the applicant’s skill set matches the needs of a researcher. After the interview in which a discussion of your research background and skill will take place, an attempt will be made to match you with a researcher who might be able to host you.

For More Information Contact:

Margaret Hamilton MD
Director of International Medical Students and Graduates Rotations
New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University
1051 Riverside Drive
New York, NY. 10032

Karen Cruz
Program Coordinator
Phone: (646) 774-7505
Fax: (646) 774-6398