The Penn State College of Medicine Nittany Lion statue is seen surrounded by plants in the central courtyard of the College in June 2016.

3+ Psychiatry Accelerated Pathway

Building a Pathway to Psychiatry

The Penn State College of Medicine 3+ Psychiatry Accelerated Pathway (Psy-APPS) is a three-year accelerated MD specialty pathway with direct progression to the Psychiatry Residency program. Students will complete the medical degree in three years, followed by residency training in Psychiatry at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The benefits of the Psy-APPS program include:

  • Reduction of the cost of medical education and travel expenses for residency application
  • Earlier career entry
  • Linked undergraduate and graduate medical education, which optimizes opportunities for continuity of patient care, mentoring and advising

Students accepted into this pathway will receive mentoring and support throughout their medical education with the goal that graduates of the Psy-APPS program will be prepared to assume the responsibilities of residency in Psychiatry.

Pathway Details

What is Psy-APPS exactly?

The 3+4 Psy-APPS pathway is designed for students to complete their medical degree in three years, followed by psychiatry residency training at Penn State Health. The Penn State Psychiatry Residency is a four-year-long categorical program.

Applicants in this pathway have been offered acceptance to Penn State College of Medicine and demonstrated strong academic performance at the time of application. Students in the Psy-APPS program will complete core requirements and achieve school-wide competencies within three years of matriculation.

Because the 3+ Psy-APPS pathway is an immersive experience in students’ psychiatry professional development, it will contribute to advancing students' career paths in psychiatry. Since students will receive longitudinal mentoring and guidance in their identity formation by dedicated faculty and acculturation during medical school into the Department of Psychiatry, it is anticipated that students will possess strong readiness to enter their psychiatry residency program.

How many students do you accept each year?

Up to one student will be accepted into the pathway per year.

Will I need to enter the National Resident Matching Program?

Yes. The Penn State Health Psychiatry Residency can accept students through the match only. Therefore, you must enter the NRMP matching process.

Upon meeting the academic and professional standards for graduation from medical school, students are ranked to match into a Penn State Health Psychiatry residency program through the National Resident Matching Program®. Should students choose to rank Penn State, they would match into a Psychiatry residency position at Penn State Health.

What are the Pathway Objectives?

  • To provide a curriculum that allows students to complete all graduation requirements toward the MD degree in a three-year time frame.
  • To provide the appropriate mentorship to support the students’ training with the goal that graduates of the Psy-APPS program will be prepared to assume the responsibilities of residency in psychiatry.
  • To develop an UME-GME linkage in training to enhance mentorship and reduce fragmentation in medical training.

By the end of this pathway, the student will:

  • Accomplish all graduation requirements in three-year time frame
  • Identify longitudinal career mentors in the Department of Psychiatry as part of the process of identifying with their chosen specialty
  • Be prepared to engage in scholarly activity during residency through deliberate and intentional research activities during the Medical Student Research project phase of the Psy-APPS curriculum

What does the curriculum involve?

The program is divided into phases:

Phase I, Foundations of Medicine (pre-clerkship)

  • Phase I will be the same for students in Psy-APPS as students in the four-year curriculum, except certain Phase II courses and electives are offered early to permit acceleration.
  • In the spring of the first year, students will enroll in a career confirmation elective (CCE) similar to other 3+ track early residency curricula currently in place at the College of Medicine. CCE will be held during afternoon hours to avoid conflict with other Phase I curricular requirements.
  • Students will also enroll in electives and clerkships during the summer between the first and second academic year.

Phase II, Clinical Core Clerkships

  • During Phase II, Psy-APPS students will complete the Emergency Medicine Acting Internship (AI) and the remainder of the usual Phase II clerkships in the block model.

Phase III, Transition to Residency

  • During Phase III, Psy-APPS students will
    • Take and pass USMLE Step I and 2 exams.
    • Participate in the Psychiatry Acting Internship.
  • Participate in additional coursework, including Translating Health Systems Science to the Clinical Setting, electives, Humanities Selective, and Transition to Internship, will provide students with the requisite courses to meet graduation coursework requirements.

What deliverables are expected of the student?

Students in all 3+ tracks, including Psy-APPS, must meet the same educational objectives/subcompetencies and graduation requirements as the four-year program. However, in the 3+ tracks, career exploration electives in Phase II and certain electives are waived.

All students in 3+ tracks must complete a minimum of eight weeks of electives and a medical student research project.

The methods of assessment in the Psy-APPS track will be identical to those of the main four-year program, including completion of a portfolio to provide documentation of meeting subcompetencies.

What if I decide psychiatry isn’t for me or the Department of Psychiatry isn’t where I want to do my residency?

Students may opt out of the Psy-APPS track and re-enter the regular curriculum at any time.

Application Process

Students may apply for entry into the Psy-APPS pathway at two points – after acceptance into the MD program at Penn State College of Medicine and before matriculation and during Year 1 of medical school. Once accepted into the College of Medicine, students may submit a secondary application to Psy-APPS to register interest in the program. Depending on the availability of positions, students may also have the opportunity to apply for Psy-APPS in the fall of their first year of study.

The ideal student candidate:

  • Demonstrates a strong interest in psychiatry.
  • Is a self-directed learner with a strong academic background.
  • Possesses good organizational skills.

A selection committee composed of psychiatry faculty who teach medical students and residents will review applications, interview applicants and make the final selection for Psy-APPS.

Students in the Psy-APPS track must maintain good academic standing. A student who fails to meet expectations in any courses or subcompetencies will re-enter the four-year program with earned course credits carried over to the four-year program.

Pathway Faculty


Usman Hameed, MD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-1016


A portrait photograph of Dr. Usman Hameed in front of a professional photo background.
Usman Hameed, MD


  • Ahmad Hameed, MD
  • Andrew Francis, MD, PhD
  • Kathleen Dougherty, MD
  • Julie Graziane, MD
  • Aum Pathare, MD

Contact Us

Additional questions and inquiries can be made to:

Usman Hameed, MD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-1016



Michele Morgan

Phone: 717-531-1016


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