The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is strongly committed to medical student education. We believe that our active involvement with medical students helps to develop physicians who are compassionate and effective interviewers, and who consider clinical issues from a broad biopsychosocial perspective. The integration of psychiatry into all levels of medical student education also provides excellent preparation for students who might want to pursue a career in psychiatry. The percentage of UC Davis medical students who enter psychiatry has been consistently above the national average.

Student-Initiated Activities

Student-driven projects in the field of psychiatry contribute greatly to the rich experiences offered at UC Davis School of Medicine. Medical students at UC Davis have designed programs to provide advocacy for the mentally ill and education about mental illness, written grants and received funding for mentoring programs, and given presentations about their work at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting.

Student exposure to, and involvement in, the field of psychiatry begins at the very start of medical school at UC Davis. Students can attend workshops and lectures on psychiatric topics, volunteer in the psychiatric Student-run Clinics at UC Davis School of Medicine, or take part in the shadowing program sponsored by the Psychiatry Student Interest Group (Psych SIG). Summer stipends to work with child and adolescent psychiatrists are available through the Klingenstein Fellowship Program (KFP). Scholarships to help students attend the meeting of the American Psychiatric Association are awarded annually.

Electives in Psychiatry

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences offers medical students a number of psychiatry electives. The core clinical electives are tailored toward fourth year medical students. These experiences range from inpatient acting internships at the UC Davis Medical Center and forensic units to outpatient experiences in community, child, combined medicine and psychiatry, and combined family medicine and psychiatry settings. Students also meet weekly with the electives program director in small group discussions that focus on clinical skills building, leadership, and professional development.

How to Apply for Our Psychiatry Electives

UC Davis Medical Students - Please apply via eFlight.  UC Davis medical students interested in doing a rotation at an outside institution should apply via the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Visiting Student Learning Opportunities (VSLO) to complete your off-campus elective registration. Once you have been accepted with the outside institution, it is very important to contact the Department’s elective course coordinator, Chris Eisenlauer ( at least two weeks prior to the start of your rotation in order to receive credit.

Please note:  If the Department’s elective course coordinator is not notified prior to taking the away elective, you will not receive credit.

Visiting Medical Students - Please apply via VSLO –note that applicants should upload their USMLE and/or COMLEX scores to the “departmental requirements” portion of the application, where applicable.  For more information on the visiting student application process, please visit the UC Davis School of Medicine website.

International Medical Students - Due to the faculty and staff demands of accommodating UC Davis medical students and visiting students from around the nation, we are unable to accept students from international medical schools at this time.

Core Clinical Electives

PSY 416 – Child Psychiatry

PSY 419 – Combined Family Medicine/Psychiatry

PSY 420 – Acting Internship in Inpatient Psychiatry

PSY 421 – Combined Internal Medicine/Psychiatry

PSY 422 – Readings in Psychiatry

PSY 499 – Psychiatry Research

Contact Information

Chris Eisenlauer
Elective Course Coordinator
Phone 916-734-8518
Fax 916-734-3384