Reading lists for MRCPsych examinations

These reading lists have been compiled by our Question Writing Panels as a resource for candidates to use when preparing for our theory papers.

The most successful candidates use multiple learning strategies to prepare including:

  • familiarisation with syllabus, and directing their study to cover all topics
  • study of textbooks in psychiatry or allied topics relevant to the MRCPsych examination (e.g. basic psychology) to build a coherent basic knowledge of the material
  • participation in MRCPsych courses (as a trainee in UK you should have access to this as a part of your training programme offer) which should allow for interaction and discussion with experts in the field
  • local postgraduate medical education including journal clubs and case presentations
  • online learning such as Trainees Online (TrOn) – an online learning resource we developed to help you during your training
  • keeping abreast of high impact research in psychiatry including recent publications and critically reviewing such papers. Trainees are also expected to keep up to date with latest best practice guidance or consensus statements, clinical alerts relevant to psychiatric practice
  • practising and discussing example questions, ideally in a study group with peers.

In line with good practice in assessment, we include 30-40% new questions in each diet.  The reading lists may not cover the entire syllabus, but are a very useful tool to build a coherent knowledge base.

Many of the texts and resources listed are available through the College library.

Classification and assessment in psychiatry (CAP)

  • Sims' Symptoms in the Mind: An Introduction to Descriptive Psychopathology Paperback – 21 April 2008
    by Femi Oyebode   
  • Fish's Clinical Psychopathology: Signs and Symptoms in Psychiatry
    by Patricia Casey | 1 Feb 2024  
  • Making Sense of the ICD-11: For Mental Health Professionals (Royal College of Psychiatrists) Paperback – 26 Oct. 2023 by Peter Tyrer (Editor)
  • Online resource from World Health Organisations
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) Paperback – 31 May 2013
    by American Psychiatric Association (Author)

Behavioural science and socio-cultural psychiatry, and human development

  • Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour 8th Edition by Richard Gross | 31 Jul 2020
  • Atkinson And Hilgards Introduction To Psychology, 16 Ed (2015)

Within this but more relevant for social and cultural psychiatry

  • Textbook of Cultural Psychiatry 2nd Edition, 2018 by Dinesh Bhugra (Author, Editor), Kamaldeep Bhui (Editor)  OR below 
  • Principles of Social Psychiatry by Craig Morgan and Dinesh Bhugra | 13 Apr 2010



General resources (refer to content of specific chapter which offer in depth knowledge of elements referred to in the syllabus)

  • New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry – 9 April 2020 by John R. Geddes (Editor), Nancy C. Andreasen (Editor), Guy M. Goodwin (Editor)
  • Companion to Psychiatric Studies (MRCPsy Study Guides) by Eve C Johnstone CBE MD FRCP(Glasgow and Edinburgh) FRCPsych FMedSci FRSE, David Cunningham Owens MD(Hons) FRCP FRCPsych, et al. | 1 Jul 2010
  • Kaplan & Sadock's Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry Paperback – 16 Mar. 2022 by Robert Boland (Author), Marcia Verduin (Author)

General resources (refer to content of specific chapter which offer in depth knowledge of elements referred to in the syllabus)

  • British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society (2022). BNF. 83, March 2022. London: British Medical Assoc.
  • American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. American Psychiatric Publishing.
  • World Health Organization (2019). International Classification of Diseases. 11th ed. Geneva: World Health Organization.
  • Semple, D. and Smyth, R. (2019). Oxford handbook of psychiatry. Oxford ; New York, Ny: Oxford University Press.
  • Taylor, D.M. (2021). Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines In Psychiatry. 14th ed. S.L.: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Harrison, P.J., Cowen, P., Burns, T. and Fazel, M. (2018). Shorter Oxford textbook of psychiatry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Sadock, B.J., Sadock, V.A. and Ruiz, P. (2017). Kaplan & Sadock’s comprehensive textbook of psychiatry. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.
  • David, A., Fleminger, S., Kopelman, M., Lovestone, S. and Mellers, J. (2011). Lishman’s Organic Psychiatry. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Agarwal, N., Faruqui, R., and Bodani, M. (2020). Oxford Textbook of Neuropsychiatry. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Stahl, S.M. (2021). Stahl’s essential psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific basis and practical application. 5th ed. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • NICE clinical guidelines

Organisation and delivery

  • I Nicol Ferrier and Waite, J. (2020). The ECT handbook. Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, Ny: Cambridge University Press.

General Adult

  • Kingdon, D., Rowlands, P., and Stein, G. (2024). Seminars in General Adult Psychiatry. 3rd ed. Cambridge University Press.
  • Thomasson, R., Guthrie, E., and House, A. (2023). Seminars in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. Cambridge University Press

Old Age

  • Dening, T. and Thomas, A. (2020). Oxford textbook of old age psychiatry. 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


  • Gabbard, G., Beck, S., and Holmes, J. (2005). Oxford Textbook of Psychotherapy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Child and adolescent

  • Thapar, A. (2018). Rutter’s child and adolescent psychiatry. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell.

Substance misuse

  • Day, E. (2021). Seminars in Addiction Psychiatry. 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press
  • Saunders, J., Conigrave, K., and Latt N. (2016). Addition Medicine. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press


  • Puri, B. and Treasaden, I.H. (2017). Forensic Psychiatry. CRC Press.
  • Eastman, N. (2023). Forensic Psychiatry.

Learning disability

  • Sabyasachi Bhaumik (2020). Oxford textbook of psychiatry of intellectual disability. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Scheepers, M. and Kerr, M. (2019). Seminars in the psychiatry of intellectual disability. Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, Ny: Cambridge University Press.
  • Genetic Syndromes

Critical review

Key textbooks

  • Lawrie, S.M., Mcintosh, A.M. and Sanjay Rao (2000).
  • Critical appraisal for psychiatrists. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Wang, C. (n.d.). Textbook of Clinical Epidemiology. Springer Nature.
  • Peacock, J.L. and Peacock, P.J. (2020). Oxford handbook of medical statistics. Oxford Oxford University Press.
  • Kirkwood, B.R. and Sterne, J. (2010). Essential Medical Statistics. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Forrester, Michael A. and Sullivan, C. (2020). Doing Qualitative Research In Psychology: A Practical Guide.
  • Jackson, D. (2017). Healthcare economics made easy. Banbury, Uk: Scion.

Further reading for critical review

  • Narinder Kaur Gosall and Gurpal Singh Gosall (2015). The doctor’s guide to critical appraisal. Knutsford: Pastest.
  • Aviva Petrie and Sabin, C. (2020). Medical statistics at a glance. Hoboken, Nj: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Bland, M. (2015). An introduction to medical statistics. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Owen, A. (2023). Statistics for Clinicians. Springer Nature.
  • Drummond, M. (2015). Methods for the economic evaluation of health care programmes. 4th ed. Oxford, United Kingdom ; New York, Ny, Usa: Oxford University Press.
  • Brown, T.M. and Wilkinson, G. (2005). Critical Reviews in Psychiatry. RCPsych Publications.
  • Freeman, C. and Tyrer, P.J. (2006). Research methods in psychiatry. London: Gaskell, Cop.

Medical journals such as:

  • The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • BJPsych Open
  • BJPsych Bulletin
  • BMJ Mental Health
  • The Lancet
  • BMJ
  • International Journal of Epidemiology

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry