Frequently Asked Questions About Our Residency Program

Is the residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)?
Yes, our program has been fully accredited since 1969.

Is Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) Department of Psychiatry “biologically” oriented or is there a heavy focus on psychotherapy?
We, at the Rutgers-NJMS Department of Psychiatry believe that in order to become a competent psychiatrist, residents should have a thorough understanding and knowledge of both psychopharmacology and the biological underpinnings of mental illness with psychotherapeutic techniques and principles.  Residents' clinical experiences, rotations and didactics comprehensively address both psychopharmacology and psychotherapy. Each resident gets hands on training for psychotherapy under the close supervision of a proficient psychotherapist.

What is the balance between service needs and education?
Resident education is highly valued by our Department since we believe that education is as important as clinical training. All first-year residents have one morning per week of protected didactic time during psychiatric rotations from 9 AM to 1PM.  Post-graduate Year (PGY) II-IVs have a fully protected didactic day every Tuesday in which the morning is dedicated to outpatient psychotherapy clinic with didactic sessions in the afternoon. Newark is a clinically exciting place to work due to the diversity and severity of illness found in our underserved population. This enables our residents to gain unique clinical training in our field, at the same time serving a patient base that is in great need of mental health care.

Is there an opportunity for residents to get involved with research? What level of research involvement is expected by the program?
Rutgers-NJMS provides residents with excellent opportunities to get involved in research projects and provides exceptional faculty mentorship for residents who are interested in presenting at conferences and building their curriculum vitae (CV) for potential future careers in academic psychiatry.  Our residents routinely present posters at national conferences every year. In addition, they have also presented at workshops, and published peer reviewed articles and book chapters.

Do residents stay at Rutgers NJMS and eventually join the faculty? What else do graduating residents do?
Yes, a significant portion of our faculty members are former Rutgers-NJMS residents.
Most of our residents get into excellent fellowship programs of their choice.
See below for examples of recent fellowship matches by NJMS graduates:
Forensic Psychiatry- The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, University of Miami Medical Center
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry- Columbia University Medical Center, University of Miami Medical center, North shore LIJ hospital, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Zucker School of Medicine-Northwell, University of Colorado, Cambridge Health Alliance, Mount Sinai Hospital
Consultation Liaison Psychiatry- Mount Sinai Hospital, North shore LIJ hospital, New York University Langone Health
Addiction Psychiatry- Yale University Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania, Montefiore Medical Center, New York University Langone Health, Mount Sinai West
Geriatric Psychiatry- University of Pennsylvania, Mount Sinai Hospital
Transgender Psychiatry- Mount Sinai Hospital

What is call like?
On call residents mainly cover psychiatric consults in the emergency room and emergent consults on the inpatient floor as well as emergencies in the inpatient psychiatric unit.  Interns start their first calls with a senior "buddy," who will help orient interns through the process of covering calls until interns become comfortable taking calls on their own. The number of calls covered decreases with each post-graduate year. By the fourth year, residents have a very limited number of calls, with some months without calls.

How accessible is the Program Director to residents?  What about the Department Chair?
At Rutgers-NJMS, the faculty is extremely invested in taking the time to get to know the residents and discuss their education and concerns. Our Program Director and Department chair are very accessible to residents to provide resources and mentorship to help all residents achieve their goals.  If you are invited for an interview, you will meet them both on the interview day.

Are resident concerns and opinions taken seriously by the administration?
Resident concerns are taken very seriously by the administration. Residents' feedbacks and suggestions have catalyzed some of the most important positive changes in the program.

Are residents happy?  Do they do things as a group?
Our program is like a family for all the residents, where residents report being happy. In addition, all residents bond as a family across all years by getting together to socialize outside of work hours.  Since Jan 2017, we have incorporated a "Wellness" component into the resident didactic curriculum to help residents learn about burnout and the importance of self-care as a physician and a psychiatrist. As a program, we go out on annual retreats which have included hiking, dinners, bowling and escape rooms.

What is New Jersey like? Where do residents live?
New Jersey is a wonderful place to live for residents in all stages of life.  For residents with families, the towns surrounding Newark are extremely safe and affordable with good public schools as most are suburbs of New York City.  Hoboken and Jersey City, NJ are more urban areas with good access to culture and nightlife; they are just a short subway ride to Manhattan. It is also possible to live in Manhattan and commute to our program. In addition to its proximity to New York City, NJ has much to offer to those who love outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, snowboarding and nearby beaches.

What are the strengths of the program?
The residents at Rutgers-NJMS receive excellent teaching during their clinical rotations and didactic courses.  There is a high level of mentorship for residents interested in developing their academic career, and most residents graduate with a very strong CV reflecting their clinical, academic and educational accomplishments.  As mentioned above, due to the nature of our patient population our residents are exposed to rare cases and severe psychopathologies such that they are extremely confident and competent psychiatrists upon graduating from our program. Additionally, residents get excellent training in addiction psychiatry, in addition to Buprenorphine training.

What is your cut off score in USMLE STEPs 1&2 for accepting applications?
There is no official score cut off, as test scores are just one part of your application. We review your application in its entirety.

Do you require US clinical experience (research, externship or observership)?
US clinical experience is not required.

Does your program use the Eletronic Residency Application Service (ERAS)?
Yes, applications are only accepted through the ERAS. Our program participates in the National Residency Match Program (NRMP).

How many international medical graduates (IMGs) are there in your program?
The number of IMGs in our program varies from year to year. We are very receptive to applicants from different cultural, medical and geographical backgrounds as we find diversity to be one of our greatest assets! We welcome applications from MD and DO American graduates as well as international medical graduates.

Do you consider the year of graduation in accepting applications?
We consider the length of time since the last clinical work or since medical school graduation as a component of a complete application. However, there is no absolute cut off.

How many letters of recommendation do you require with each application?
We require a minimum of three letters of recommendation/support with each application.

Would having passed USMLE STEP 3 benefit me in any way?
Yes, passing STEP 3 or COMLEX Level 3 is required to transition from PGY-2 to PGY-3. Therefore, having passed the exam already would be an advantage. However, passing either of these exams prior to applying is not required.

Do you sponsor visas for IMG's?
Yes, we sponsor J1 visas through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).