Subspecialties in Psychiatry

Subspecialties and Research Training

A number of subspecialties are offered within the field of psychiatry. Except for child and adolescent psychiatry, most require a one-year fellowship, which follows the standard four years of general psychiatry residency. When completed, one is eligible to take the ABPN board certification in general psychiatry and subspecialties.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training emphasizes developmental considerations. Biological, sociocultural, psychodynamic, behavioral, and familial aspects of childhood and adolescence and their problems are covered in both clinical and didactic experiences. Consultation with ambulatory and hospital pediatric services is an essential part of child and adolescent training. In addition, residents consult with schools, courts and social welfare agencies.
VIDEO: A short video about Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (from AACAP)

Geriatric Psychiatry

Geriatric Psychiatry emphasizes the biological and psychological aspects of normal aging, the psychiatric impact of acute and chronic physical illness, and the biological and psychosocial aspects of the pathology of primary psychiatric disturbances of older age.

Addiction Psychiatry

Addiction Psychiatry subspecialty training is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of addictive disorders as well as the treatment of persons with complicated, comorbid psychiatric and substance use disorders.

Forensic Psychiatry

Forensic Psychiatry provides the psychiatrist with special skills necessary to deal with the legal system, including both civil and criminal aspects. The training includes work in evaluation competency, the insanity defense, and providing court testimony. Additionally, trainees have clinical experiences with patients in jails and prisons.

Psychosomatic Medicine

Psychiatric morbidity has serious consequences in the setting of medical illness causing increased functional disability, increased economic burden, and increased medical and psychiatric morbidity.  One and two-year fellowships are available for graduates of approved psychiatric residency programs. To see the list of psychosomatic medicine programs, visit the ACGME and select "List of Programs by Specialty". In the pull-down menu, select Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine, and "view programs" for the full list.


A wide variety of research is being conducted in psychiatry and many residency programs offer funded fellowships for additional training opportunities in research after graduation. Research guides innovations in the organization and structure of mental and addictive health service delivery systems. To a greater extent than ever before, research informs public and private sector policies that affect persons with mental health and their families, as well as mental health care providers, insurers, and agencies at all levels of government.The APA Division of Research publishes Directory of Research Fellowship Opportunities in Psychiatry which lists research fellowships at over 65 institutions. In addition, each program listed in this Directory identifies funded research opportunities at their site.

Combined Programs

Triple Board Residency (Psychiatry/Pediatrics/Child & Adolescent Psychiatry) - A five-year combined residency which integrates psychiatry, pediatrics and child and adolescent psychiatry.
Psychiatry/Family Practice - five-year combined residency.
Psychiatry/Internal Medicine - five-year combined residency.
Psychiatry/Neurology - five-to-six year combined residency.
For a listing of residency and specialty fellowship programs, visit the ACGME