How competitive are neurology and psychiatry ?

Hi All

I have decided I am going to the Philippines to study med and then head to the States for Neuro or psychiatry. I am not US, I will be a FMG as I am British aged 48 by completion of med training.

I want to go for Neuro or Psychiatry.

This is a “what are your thoughts and opinions on how my experience could help or hinder me?” question.

I understand good USLME scores are essential. I am wondering will my experience, although limited, help in a match.

Note: None of my experience is from US its all from the UK and Australia. Will this be an issue come residency matching?

I do understand that compared to some applicant threads I have read that I don’t have a lot of experience.

I am near completion of a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, similar to a PsyD. Have a MSc Psychology- Commendation.

Supervised clinical experience:

6 months training as a High Intensity CBT therapist employed by the NHS in a paid trainee position (IAPT great experience for anyone who is interested) worked from GP surgeries, caseload 20 client sessions per week over 3 days per week (I know) 500 sessions total.

During my Clinical Psych Doc training: 1 yr in Counselling centre, 8 months in Univ Psych clinic, 8 months in Addictions centre, 3 months in Mental Health, 5 months in Community Psychology Clinic. 6 months working for an organisation which offered support for neglected children. Over 3000 professional practice hrs. 6 months employed p/t in private Psychlogy practise. Well over 1000 face to face. Research is in Addiction. Spent 12 months carrying out research in a rehab and the AA. I have been an assistant psych tutor on a uni med program . I have ran regular presentations for chronic disease patients on behaviour change.

3 months volunteering with stroke patients

Volunteered on hospital wards just talking to patients getting tea and buscuits

Observed in stammering centre 1 month

Volunteered as a library assistant in a neuro research centre

8 months employed in Drugs Diversion. Owned operated stress mgt business 2 years, approx 500 face to face hrs.

The main questions are:

  1. None of the above in the US all in UK and Australia. Will that be a problem? .

  2. Am I competitive for neurology?

    Cheers and any advice would be much appreciated

Let me start with a disclaimer - I don’t know a great deal about how residency application looks at “offshore” medical schools, other than it’s pretty negative. However, your experience is extensive, very relavent, and impressive. Based on that experience I think you have a good chance of getting 4th year rotations stateside - and that you should pursue these at the residency sites in which you are most interested. Residency programs are far more likely to pick someone whom they have seen and had a chance to observe in person. Other factors: your Step 1 grades - try to really excell in that area as well.

Getting your foot in the door to be considered may be the biggest hurdle but your experience is, I think, one of your greatest assets. Is the barrier to applying to a US medical school primarily the need to have US acquired undergraduate credits?


Thanks Kate, your comments about making contacts are so true, thats given me hope

“Is the barrier to applying to a US medical school primarily the need to have US acquired undergraduate credits?”

The competetion like in the UK seems immense but the main reason is financial. Philippines has the cheapest internationally recognised med schools, with all 50 state recognition.

My wife is in her third year of neurology residency at the Partners Program in Boston (MGH & Brigham). There are several FMGs in her class, and she has mentioned numerous times about FMGs in neurology.

So - for neurology specifically, it is not super competitive, but yes, you do need to do very well on your board exams (USMLEs)

Thanks Doc Gray thats good news!