Psychiatry & mental health

Students learning in the Medicine & Health facilities at the UNSW Kensington campus

Understanding, diagnosing, treating and preventing mental illness

Psychiatry is the field of medicine that’s concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illness. Psychiatrists work with people affected by a range of mental disorders - they’re employed in various health settings including hospitals, private practice, community health teams and other organisations. Psychiatry is taught to medical students at UNSW at the undergraduate level and is later an area of medical specialisation taught to qualified doctors at the postgraduate level.  

The Discipline of Psychiatry and Mental Health at UNSW is very active in research and includes staff from a wide range of disciplines (e.g., neuroscientists, epidemiologists, psychologists, social workers) all working together to address complex research problems. Current areas of research in psychiatry and mental health at UNSW include depressive and bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, neuropsychiatry, old age psychiatry, schizophrenia, child and adolescent psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, post-natal disorders, psychoneuroimmunology, intellectual disability and mental health, workplace mental health, trauma and mental health, migration/asylum seeking and mental health, transcultural mental health, psychiatric genetics, neurostimulation, neuroimaging, social psychiatry and epidemiology.

Studying psychiatry at UNSW

UNSW Psychiatry and Mental Health represents one of the leading university research groups in the field internationally. The discipline receives considerable research funds from a wide range of external funding bodies, industry partners and philanthropic endeavours.

Research collaborations are also active with a number of external research centres and affiliated medical research institutes, including the Black Dog Institute, Ingham Institute, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Mindgardens Neuroscience Network.

Prepare for career success

There's a growing need for a skilled workforce in psychiatry and mental health, both in Australia and internationally. In addition to psychiatry and mental health teaching at undergraduate level for medical students, a postgraduate program in the subspecialist field of forensic mental health can unlock professional career opportunities across a variety of settings, including secure mental health units, prison settings, legal settings and private practice. This postgraduate program is open to mental health professionals, lawyers, criminologists and those working in other justice settings.

Our programs

  • Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine (BMed/MD)

    Psychiatry is a popular choice for Honours and Independent Learning Projects (ILP) for students in the fourth year of the medicine program. In your final two years of the program, you'll complete clinical placements including an eight-week clinical program in psychiatry. Mental health-related content is also taught throughout the program.

    The Discipline of Psychiatry and Mental Health is keen to encourage interested students to expand their experience and to consider a career in psychiatry.

    Opportunities for students who are interested in psychiatry and mental health

    Short term placements in psychiatry

    These are informal placements undertaken during term breaks that offer the student extra insight and experience into psychiatry mental health. They can be negotiated with clinicians and researchers within the discipline.

    Contact: Dr Megan Kalucy

    Honours/ILP placements

    The Discipline of Psychiatry and Mental Health offers many opportunities for Independent Learning and Honours projects.

    For more information on available projects please view the following:

    For testimonials by previous Honours/ILP students in the Discipline of Psychiatry and Mental Health click here.

    UNSW Medical Student Elective and Selective Placements

    UNSW students in Phase 3 are encouraged to consider undertaking an elective placement in psychiatry and mental health. There are many options available within the many clinical sites across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and we would be happy to guide you. We can also provide advice and contacts regarding overseas or interstate elective opportunities in psychiatry. Contact: Dr Megan Kalucy

    Non-UNSW Medical Student Clerkships

    Students in their final year of medicine can apply to undertake a 4 or 8 week clinical clerkship within a UNSW teaching site including psychiatry. For further information visit the clerkships webpage and contact the Clerkships Coordinator
    T +61 2 9385 8909

    Career advice and Mentorship

    Choose a psychiatrist as your mentor.
    Contact: UNSW mentor program and/or Dr Megan Kalucy or any member of the Discipline.

    Undertake a Psychiatry and Mental Health focussed negotiated assignment

    This is another way to expand your knowledge and experience of psychiatry. It does not have to be undertaken as part of the psychiatry term, although that is a good opportunity. Consider a mental health perspective on whatever you are studying.

    UNSW Psychiatry Society

    An independent study body at UNSW exploring the field of psychiatry.

    Activities: Talks, Careers night, exam preparation.

    Affiliated with UNSW Medical Society and ARC UNSW

    Contact: Instagram @unswpsychisoc | Facebook

    RANZCP Psychiatry Interest Forum (PIF)

    The Psychiatry Interest Forum encourages membership from medical students and junior medical officers with an interest in psychiatry. Membership is free and provides students with access to a range of resources and networking and learning opportunities. As a member, students are invited to educational events including lectures, workshops and conferences. Further benefits include career guidance and opportunities to compete for RANZCP awards, prizes and grants and to participate in College activities. Students also have access to comprehensive e-learning resources and journals and receive regular e-newsletters. 

  • You can study forensic mental health in the following postgraduate coursework programs: 

  • You can study psychiatry and mental health in the following postgraduate research degrees:

    • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    • Masters by Research
    • Psychiatry Masters by Research (MRes): This is the main master's level research program for postgraduate students in the Faculty of Medicine & Health. Candidates must demonstrate ability to undertake research by the submission of a thesis embodying the results of an original investigation. 
    • Psychiatry Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): The PhD program is recognition of successful research experience. This degree requires an original and significant contribution to knowledge in an approved area. The degree requires a minimum of three years full-time study and preparation of a thesis.