I applied there because San Diego is ultimately one of those places I would love to end up practicing in (location and proximity to my family is very important)... I didn't know much going into the interview, but came out of the interview very pleasantly suprised and ended ranking it very highly. It has innovative programs (Primary Care Clinics where you are basically not only the pt's psychiatrist, but also the pt's PMD, and report to an Internal Medicine attending.) It's a relatively medium-sized program (9 PGY-I's) with a very supportive staff that is responsive to feedback. They are striving to emphasize psychotherapy a lot more throughout all four years. You rotate through many clinical sites. You do all your medicine rotations (4 months) over at Mercy. This is not because they think psych interns can't handle medicine, but because medicine over UCSD is brutal with lots of unhappy medicine residents. Mercy, on the other hand, is a great hospital with staff that love to teach and treat you with respect. I didn't realize how much research was available--but apparently, there's lots, especially basic science research with all the Scripps Institute. The only negative things I heard about was the really heavy patient load (R2's or R3's follow about >150 patients a year)--I think UCSD psych residents work the hardest out of all the California psych residencies. I heard some people complain about the heavy VA system exposure. Aside from the workload, I really liked the program overall. Plus, the beautiful beaches and excellent weather were huge positive points!
Competitiveness: I would say that most people who go to UCSD really want to stay there (there were about 12 UCSD students applying into psych this year). Most people interested in staying in Southern California end up ranking it in their top four.
Fellowship: I think it's a great program and you won't have trouble getting a fellowship. I talked to residents there who were going into Child, Forensics, Geriatrics, etc.
Just know that Psych at UCSD is very, very, pharmacological. You can get training in other therapies, but you have to work hard to do so. Also, the caseload for PGY's 2 and 3 is enormous. A number of residents I talked with say they would have picked a different program had they known all this, despite the weather and beaches.
Just know that Psych at UCSD is very, very pharmacological. You can get training in other therapies, but you have to work hard to do so. Also, the caseload for PGY2's and 3's is enormous--several have told me they don't have time to think or learn--they just work. And several (not all the same people) have said they would have gone somewhere else had they known all this, despite the weather and beaches.
But the program director and several of the faculty members are really good people.