Postgraduate Education

Postgraduate Education

The University of Ottawa Residency Program in Psychiatry leads to eligibility to sit for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada's Specialty Examination in Psychiatry. It consists of three components:

  • PGY-1 Basic Clinical year
  • Junior Residency (PGY-2/ -3)
  • Senior Residency (PGY-4/ -5)

Our Strengths

The Department of Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa has a strong academic record and is highly respected as one of the leading departments of Psychiatry in Canada.

As a mid-sized program with on average 10 residents per year, we are able to devote greater attention and resources towards individual residents, as exemplified by our flexible parental leave policy and flexibility around resident rotations. Through our extensive resources, dedicated faculty and diverse teaching hospitals, our program can provide a wide range of teaching and clinical opportunities to all of its residents.

By combining strong teaching programs in both the biological and psychological fields of Psychiatry, residents can both direct their training to particular interests (including, but not limited to Child & Adolescent, Geriatric and Forensic Psychiatry) and yet still graduate with broad generalist skills in Psychiatry. Residents accepted into the program can expect a challenging and stimulating academic environment that will prepare them for the broad and diverse field of Psychiatry.

In addition, as the Nation's Capital, Ottawa is a diverse and safe place to live for residents and their families. It offers exceptional cultural and recreational opportunities, but without the hassles of living in a large metropolitan city. For residents with families, Ottawa offers excellent employment and wonderful neighbourhoods to live and raise a family.

Quick Facts

  • Residents have an opportunity to pursue interprovincial and international electives.
  • There are no mandatory rural rotations in our program.
  • The ratio of residents to faculty is 1:4.
  • Opportunities for all subspecialty programs with high quality training in general psychiatry.


There are approximately 250 psychiatrists on faculty in addition to psychologists, social workers, nurses, and researchers.

Positions Available

The general psychiatry program has up to 13 residency positions per year. Residents primarily come through the CaRMS process for CMGs and IMGs. Limited positions may also be available through the provincial Re-Entry program and Foreign International Graduate-sponsored positions. Eligibility for licensure in Ontario is a requirement for acceptance into residency.


A wide range of general and specialized clinical facilities are available within the Department of Psychiatry, including:

The Ottawa Hospital (TOH), comprised of two sites: the General Campus and the Civic Campus. Both sites are general adult hospitals that have busy Psychiatry Departments and provide basic clinical training opportunities.

The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre (ROMHC), a specialized psychiatric centre, which offers extensive electives spanning the age ranges of Adolescent, Adult and Geriatric Psychiatry, as well as various specialty programs in the areas of Forensics, Mood disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Schizophrenia, Addictions and others.

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) is the location for Pediatric and Child Psychiatry rotations.

Montfort Hospital is the main training site for our 2 Montfort bilingual stream residency training positions. In addition, regular stream bilingual trainees may also access elective and core rotations.

Other hospitals available for core/elective rotations include the:


The Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) establishes the training requirements for psychiatry in Canada. This is outlined on their website in the Objectives of Training (OTRs), Specialty Training Requirements (STRs) and Specific Standards of Accreditation (SSAs). As a result, all training in Canada is standardized and of high quality. Differences in programs come in the resources, unique opportunities and interpretation of the RCPSC standards.

PGY-1 (Basic Clinical Training)

  • 16 weeks - Psychiatry (4 weeks each of general hospital Inpatient Psychiatry, Emergency Psychiatry, Addictions and Underserviced Psychiatry)
  • 16 weeks - Medicine (4 weeks each of CTU Internal Medicine, Neurology, Geriatrics, and Endocrinology)
  • 4 weeks - Neuroradiology / Developmental Disorders
  • 4 weeks - Family Medicine
  • 8 weeks - Emergency Medicine (4 weeks each of Adult and Pediatrics)
  • 4 weeks - Palliative Care

Underserviced psychiatry rotations are available both in Ottawa and rural and/or northern regions of Ontario.

PGY-2 to PGY-3 (Junior Residency)

Junior residency provides basic and foundational training with a focus on the role of the psychiatrist practicing across the life span in a variety of practice settings. Rotations include:

  • 1 year of  Adult General Hospital Psychiatry with 6-month rotations in Inpatients (PGY-2) and Outpatients (PGY-3)
  • 6 months of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • 6 months of Geriatric Psychiatry

PGY-4 to PGY-5 (Senior Residency)

During the senior years of training, residents assume more leadership in the education and supervision of junior colleagues while consolidating and further developing career track interest through electives and selectives, including research. Rotations include:

  • 3 months of consultation liaison psychiatry
  • 2 to 3 months of shared/ collaborative care
  • 6 months of severe & persistent mental illness (SPMI)
  • 12 months of electives and selectives

Interested residents have the opportunity to start subspecialty training experiences in Geriatric Psychiatry or Child & Adolescent Psychiatry during senior residency. Training is individualized to meet the educational requirements of each resident, bearing in mind the Royal College requirements and the resident's individual practice goals.

Academic Day

Our Academic Day is a full day of protected time each week on Wednesdays for PGY-2. PGY-1 & PGY-3 to PGY-5, the curriculum and training is delivered in part on the academic half day and at each site during the week, allowing time for significant clinical exposure and pursuit of academic interests.

Residents present Grand Rounds each occur weekly during the Academic Day. There are also weekly Case-Study Rounds that occur at each hospital site outside of the Academic Day.


Our Academic Curriculum is a combination of tutorial/tutor-based system and didactic teaching. There is a tutor assigned to each academic year. Residents for each year meet in a group with their specific tutor during the Academic Day for approximately 45 weeks of the year.

The PGY-1 year focuses basic psychiatric skills and diagnoses. In PGY-2, residents are exposed to the major diseases. The content of the year includes an introduction to Neurosciences and Psychopharmacology, Affective Disorders, Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Personality Disorders, Substance Abuse, Dissociation and Trauma, Eating Disorders and Developmental Disorders in Adults. Each disorder section covers epidemiology, phenomenology and diagnosis, etiology, genetics and treatment.

As part of the PGY-3 year residents are exposed to topics on Research Design, Statistical Methods, Critical Appraisal, Quality Assurance and Bioethics. A didactic block in Sleep Disorders, SPMI, Shared Care, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and Ethics.

Residents in the PGY-4 year of the curriculum are seeking to consolidate their knowledge in Psychiatry and to also get exposure to more advanced topics in a variety of areas. Residents in this year are involved to a greater degree in designing their own curriculum based on perceived needs. The content for the year includes lectures in Advanced Psychopharmacology, Advanced Psychotherapy, Forensic Psychiatry, Gender, Sexuality and Culture.

Residents in their final PGY-5 year are involved in learning related to preparation for practice including topics such as Administrative Issues, Third-Party Assessment, Medico-legal issues and Preparation for Practice. In addition, residents prepare for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada's Specialty Examinations in Psychiatry.

Residents are given extra protected time to attend the one-week University of Ottawa National Psychiatry Review Course once during junior residency and once during senior residency. Senior residents are also given additional protected time to attend the London Review Course.


Residents are expected to complete and present a scholarly project at Resident Research Day at least once during their training. Residents are given protected time to meet this requirement with significant support in didactics and from supervisors.

The Research Stream (optional) provides high quality research experiences for interested residents. It is meant to assist residents in becoming exposed to research during their residency and to promote an atmosphere of curiosity and academic inquiry within our training program. It assists residents who wish to do research during their training, as well as those who want to set the course for a research career in Psychiatry. It provides the resident a half-day per week of protected time plus elective rotations for research activities.

We are fortunate at the University of Ottawa to have the ability to enhance research training in a more formal capacity through the Royal College Clinical Investigator Program. This opportunity provides formal research training of two years duration to residents and is open to trainees in any medical specialty. Should a Psychiatry trainee be interested and receive approval for the program, one year of clinical research training would come from within the usual Psychiatry training elective time. The other year is an additional year of training. More information on this program is available through our PGE office, the Royal College website or by contacting the program director at the University of Ottawa.


All residents attend the Residents as Teachers (RaTs) course. In addition they may partake in formal medical student educational experiences, including Case Based Learning and Physician Skills Development.

Residents with a keen interest in education may also enter the Education Stream to pursue a graduate diploma or Masters of Education (MEd) in health professions education, offered through the University of Ottawa’s Faculties of Education, Post-Graduate Studies and Medicine.


Contact Information

For more information about the program, please contact:

Debbie Hall, Postgraduate Coordinator
The Ottawa Hospital (General Campus), 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8L6
Phone: 613-737-8955 Fax: 613-739-9980


All PGY-1 candidates must apply directly through:

Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS)
151 Slater Street, Suite 802, Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5H3 Canada
Phone: 1-800-465-4584 Fax: 613-563-2860