Teaching and Training


The department of psychiatry is the only department in Pakistan until now which provide a very structured and unique training program to medical students of Aga Kan University. The training consists of a 4 weeks rotation in year IV, followed by an end of term examination and a written paper at the end of the year. The students learn to manage common mental illnesses and to identify and refer appropriately for severe mental illnesses. We foster their communication skills and help them to learn the bio-psycho-social model of etiology of different disease.



The discipline of psychiatry deals with the psychological health and disorders. The prevalence estimates for the common mental disorders in developing countries, is estimated to be many times higher than western countries. In contradiction to this there is dearth of trained mental health professionals.

Psychiatry residency programme at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, offers broad based training in recognition and management of mental disorders. Psychiatry residency programme has largest and one of the most diverse teaching faculty in the country. The philosophy of Residency training programme is to produce leaders in mental health profession who has necessary vision and skill to establish and deliver basic psychiatric services. The emphasis in our training programme is on acquiring essential diagnostic and psychotherapeutic skills. Trainees from all over the country are encouraged to apply through advertisement in number of national newspapers.

The Psychiatry Residency Programme is recognised by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan for DCPS and FCPS (Psychiatry) training.


The Psychiatry Residency Programme at Aga Khan University Hospital is designed to produce competent psychiatrists who have the skills to pursue a career in either academic or clinical Psychiatry in a culturally informed manner.

Duration of Training

The Psychiatry Residency Programme is of four years duration with structured rotations.


  • MBBS or equivalent degree approved by PM&DC with 58% or above marks in the final examination;

  • One year internship with six months in Medicine and allied and six months in Surgery and allied disciplines;

  • FCPS Part I is preferred;

  • Internship in Psychiatry is preferred.

The final selection is based on MCQ examination scores and interviews. Candidate's potential for learning and merit is the sole criteria for selection.

Scope and Content

a. Clinical Training:

During the first and second years of training, residents rotate with four consultants on six-monthly basis. This facilitates close supervision and individualised attention by the consultants. They are exposed to a variety of general psychiatry patients on the inpatient unit and in the clinics. The department conducts 25 clinics weekly. Residents are also required to carry out
psychotherapy cases under one-to-one weekly supervision.

Besides the training in general adult psychiatry a structured six-months training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is also available under the supervision of qualified Child Psychiatrist.

The Chief Resident conducts a CHC Psychiatry clinic under indirect faculty supervision.

A three-month rotation in Neurology and General Medicine is mandatory and is arranged through the Department of Medicine.

An elective rotation outside AKU is also available for third year


Residents are encouraged to pursue research and scholarly activities. A four weeks short-course on Statistics, Epidemiology and Data management is arranged at Department of Community Health Sciences, Aga Khan University Hospital for those requiring basic research skills.
Provision of advanced training in research methods is also available for residents showing interest and aptitude.

b. Didactics:

  • Weekly journal club

  • Weekly core lectures/group discussions covering major aspects of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

  • Weekly grand rounds

  • Psychotherapy supervision

  • Residents are encouraged to attend seminars and workshops held at AKU and outside

  • Residents are provided supervision with protected study time for completing the research proposal, for their academic dissertation in the first two years

  • Third and fourth year residents are encouraged to carry out a research project under faculty supervision.

c. Evaluation:

Residents are evaluated by the faculty at the end of each rotation for clinical skills, interpersonal relationships, understanding of psycho-social issues, and knowledge acquired. Psychiatry residency in-training exam (MCQs) is also conducted every six months to help residents assess their own progress. In order to help prepare final year residents for their fellowship exit exams a mock examinations are also carried out on yearly basis.

On-Call duties

Residents are on-call every sixth night. They are required to stay in the Hospital.

Observership / Electives

Medical students

We do accept attachment or observer ship in the department but the students are expected to have completed a rotation in their own institution before their application could be considered. Applicants are advised to contact Student Affairs Department of AKU for details.

Psychology students

Duration of the attachment​​

6 weeks​



​Min Qualification

​Masters in Psychology

Preference would be given to candidates who have
Had prior clinical experience


Selection criteria:

The participant would undergo an initial screening interview by the clinical psychologist to assess his/her commitment to the program.


To provide an opportunity to the student to become familiar with various psychiatric illness and there modes of management. This experience would also expose the student to the working of the Department of Psychiatry in a larger setting.

Clinical Experience:

The student would be attached to different consultants with in the department once a week. This would enable the student to get exposure to various signs and symptoms of different psychiatric illnesses and general modes of management in both inpatient and outpatient setting. With in the inpatient setting the student would be required to participate in weekly ward rounds and occupational therapy of the inpatients.

Departmental Activities:

The student would be required to attend case conferences, journal club and group presentations held weekly in the department.

Supervisory sessions:

The student would have weekly supervisory meeting with the clinical psychologist to discuss various issues in clinical psychology.

Topic Presentation:

By the end of attachment the student be required to make a 30-minute presentation on any topic of personal interest related to Clinical Psychology.

Research Project:

The student may have an opportunity to participate in an ongoing research in the dept.

Letter of Recommendation:

On students request and on the discretion of the consultant, he/she may be provided with a
letter of recommendation.


At the end of the attachment the student's performance would be assessed through an evaluation form.

Programme Evaluation:

The student at the end of attachment would also be required to evaluate the programme.