Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Center for Studies of Addiction

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Post-Doctoral Fellowships

Training Program Overview

The post-doctoral training program began in the 1970s as a part of the NIMH post-doctoral research training program in psychopharmacology. Subsequently a VA research training grant was obtained and a NIDA institutional research training grant was awarded.  Fellows can select a basic science emphasis with faculty in behavioral pharmacology, genetics, molecular biology or neuroscience however the majority of trainees select a clinical research program. This includes training in diagnosis and treatment as well as research methodology. For those having completed a psychiatry residency, the program is accredited by the American Board of Medical Specialties as an addiction residency.

Purpose/Areas of Focus

The Center for Studies of Addiction (CSA) in the Department of Psychiatry offers post-graduate basic science and clinical research training programs focusing on the wide range of drug and substance abuse, including nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, and heroin addiction. The programs emphasize multimodal treatment, dual diagnosis, and combinations of medication and psychotherapy in the context of randomized clinical trials. Funding is provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for one program and by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for two programs. The CSA recruits to the three programs as one.


Holders of MD or PhD degrees or equivalent, and pre-doctoral trainees who are advanced graduate students in the Biomedical Graduate Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania. Open only to citizens, non-citizen nationals, or permanent residents of the United States. The clinical training program is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Thus, psychiatrists can qualify for board certification in Addiction Psychiatry.

For acceptance into the Addiction Psychiatry Residency Program, at the University of Pennsylvania, all applicants must have completed a General Psychiatry Residency, and they are also required to obtain an unrestricted medical training (MT) license prior to starting their clinical experience.  In addition, all newly selected fellows must apply for and receive a Pennsylvania Training License, in order to lawfully practice in the state of Pennsylvania.

This particular Fellowship is funded through a disbursement agreement between the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs and Penn. In fact, it is at the Philadelphia VA Hospital that you will complete your clinical rotations, so it is imperative that all residents are either U.S .citizens, or be a permanent resident; who is screened through the Physician's Data Bank, and able to pass the VA Health Physical.  In order to qualify for the Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship, the final requirement is that all candidates must be psychiatrists.

Number of Positions

Currently there are 8 NIDA slots, including both pre- and post-doctoral trainees, and 2 to 4 VA training slots, with a variable ratio of MD and PhD fellows.

Program Length

The program is normally for two years but, in special cases, a third year can be awarded. A limited number of psychiatrists occupying a VA slot may be permitted to take only clinical training for one year. The emphasis for most trainees, however, is on two years of research training.