Residency Selection Process

Department of Psychiatry

Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook Medicine

Lauren Spring, M.D., Program Director

Emily Hill, M.D., Associate Program Director

Alexis Parez, Residency Coordinator





1. Graduation from a medical school in the United States or Canada, accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), OR

2. Graduation from a college of osteopathic medicine in the United States, accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), OR

3. Graduation from a medical school outside of the United States or Canada AND meeting the following additional qualifications:

a. Graduates must comply with the New York State “12 week rule”: the individual must not have completed more than 12 weeks of clinical clerkship outside the home country of the school, unless graduated from one of the schools exempted by New York State (refer to IMG Eligibility for Residency).

b. Additionally, these individuals must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Holds a current valid certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) prior to appointment, OR
  • Holds a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in a United States licensing jurisdiction in his or her current ACGME specialty/subspecialty program, OR
  • Have graduated from a medical school outside the United States and has completed a Fifth Pathway program provided by an LCME-accredited medical school.
  • Candidates must be a US citizen, permanent resident, have employment authorization identification (EAD), or have a J-1 visa sponsored by ECFMG. Stony Brook Medicine does not sponsor H1B visas or other visas for GME training.

5. Residency Appointment is contingent upon demonstrating successful completion of USMLE (Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS on the 2nd attempt) or COMLEX (Level 1, Level 2 CE and Level 2 PE on the 2nd attempt) examinations.

For further information on our requirements please visit our Stony Brook GME Website:


Additionally, documentation accounting for any lapses between the end of medical school and the present are required. Large gaps of time exceeding 1 month that are not verifiable will disqualify candidates for consideration for a GME program. Proper documentation of employment and/or work performed since graduation from medical school is also required. Prior to the start of employment, individuals are required to pass a criminal background check as well as a drug test, and have a completed health physical examination.

The application process meets all requirements of the Equal Employment Opportunity and the Americans with Disability Act, in ensuring that all qualified applicants are afforded a review without discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, disability or veteran status.


Resident Selection 

A selection committee consisting of the Program Director, Associate Program Director, and Vice Chair of Education, review all applicants, select applicants for interview, participate in the interview process and in the final choice of applicants to be ranked in the NRMP match (or offered contracts independent of the match when this option is allowed).

Applicants are selected on the basis of on the basis of residency program-related criteria including preparedness, ability, aptitude, academic credentials, communication skills and personal qualities such as motivation and integrity. Academic credentials include medical school grades and performance as reflected in documentation received directly from the school and United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) scores. Prior graduate medical education training, where applicable, will also be considered. Formal educational and/or testing results submitted by the applicant may also be considered. Three letters of reference from supervisors and educators are required, one of which should be written by a psychiatrist who has experience with the applicant. 

The selection committee invites selected candidates for an individual interview (approximately 70-80 per year). Applicants will be notified of their selection for interview by email and will set up an interview day with our Residency Coordinator Ms. Alexis Parez. Applicants are interviewed by three faculty members. They also meet with a Chief Resident for a tour of the facilities and then lunch with faculty and residents. Applicants will receive a copy of the “Agreement of Appointment” as well as projected salaries. The interview allows in person confirmation of information provided in the written application as well as an opportunity to assess communication skills. Confidential evaluations by each applicant interviewer are collected and reviewed by the selection committee, and become part of the application file.

The committee, with input from the department, is responsible for the final ranking of candidates for the NRMP. The program will only accept applications through ERAS. All current fourth year medical students from United States medical schools are required to apply through the NRMP process or other appropriate match processes. Stony Brook Medicine participates in the NRMP all-in policy and programs will only review applications through ERAS. Only applicants meeting the above eligibility requirements, including the required additional documentation (letters of reference) and interview will be considered by the selection committee for positions remaining open in the program after the NRMP match, and will be offered positions by the program director if considered qualified. Our program participates in the SOAP process as needed. All candidates who are interviewed shall be given a copy of the Stony Brook Medicine agreement of appointment and a copy of the institutional eligibility and selection policy. Program will document that the candidate has received a copy of the agreement of appointment by obtaining their signature at the time of receipt.

Applicants to this program should have the following qualities:

  • High Intelligence

  • Excellence in both written and verbal self-expression

  • Superior ability to understand both verbal and non-verbal communications from others

  • Exceptional curiosity about the human mind and human behavior

  • Psychological mindedness

The selection committee will attempt a preliminary assessment of these qualities prior to offering an interview to the candidate. It should be apparent that some of these qualities can only be assessed in a preliminary fashion prior to the interview itself.

High Intelligence

Excellence in psychiatry requires both the ability to grasp complicated concepts, both biological and psychological, as well as the capacity for and enjoyment of abstract thinking. Intelligence levels may be evaluated by such indirect measures as 1) post-secondary education, 2) evaluation of interests, hobbies, research participation, 3) academic performance in medical school, 4) performance on standardized examinations and 5) letters of recommendation

Applicants with multiple failures in the basic or clinical sciences or on the USMLE examinations will not be invited for interviews.

Written and Verbal Communication

Writing skills are an essential component of medical record keeping, particularly in psychiatry. These skills are also invaluable for the would-be researcher. The Selection Committee will evaluate the preparation of the application and in particular the Personal Statement for evidence of writing skills. Other evidence of an ability to write well may be reflected by assessing the applicant’s undergraduate education, record of writing and publication, etc.

Applicants with poorly written essays, e.g., multiple spelling and grammatical errors will not be invited for an interview.

The ability to express oneself in a succinct manner so that patients, colleagues and others can understand is an important quality in a physician, especially a psychiatrist. While this quality may not be subject to assessment until the personal interview, clues may be gleaned from comments from medical school rotations and letters of recommendation.


While clues to these skills may be assessed by the applicant’s ability to follow instructions prior to the interview and via letters of recommendation, the interview process will furnish the best evidence of an applicant’s ability to comprehend verbal communication. At this time, we do not measure the applicant’s ability to comprehend written information, although academic performance is one measure of this.

Curiosity About Human Behavior

The candidate for specialty or sub-specialty training should have an intrinsic or acquired interest and curiosity about normal and abnormal functional aspects of a particular part of the body. This is particularly true in psychiatry where great strides are being made in neuroscience, cognitive psychology, pharmacology, and psychotherapy – a basic intellectual curiosity about these matters seems essential in maintaining one’s level of clinical energy and enthusiasm in a subspecialty with little to guide one’s professional judgment other than experience informed by current knowledge. We will look for evidence of long-standing and/or genuine interest in psychology, neuroscience or psychiatry on the part of the applicant. Significant experiences in medical school, choice of undergraduate studies, and outside interests may be valuable clues in assessing this quality.

Psychological Mindedness

This concept is taken to mean an individual’s ability 1) to express feelings in words, 2) to search for relationships between thoughts, feelings and experiences, 3) to “believe” in and to be willing to explore the unconscious mind, 4) to verbalize uncomfortable thoughts, 5) to view all thoughts and feelings as potentially significant and understandable.

Clues to this ability may be assessed by analyzing the applicant’s essay, letters of recommendation and through direct questioning.