Background. We describe the development, reliability and applications of the Diagnostic Interview for Psychoses (DIP), a comprehensive interview schedule for psychotic disorders. Method. The DIP is intended for use by interviewers with a clinical background and was designed to occupy the middle ground between fully structured, lay-administered schedules, and semi-structured, psychiatrist-administered interviews. It encompasses four main domains: (a) demographic data; (b) social functioning and disability; (c) a diagnostic module comprising symptoms, signs and past history ratings; and (d) patterns of service utilization and patient-perceived need for services. It generates diagnoses according to several sets of criteria using the OPCRIT computerized diagnostic algorithm and can be administered either on-screen or in a hard-copy format. Results. The DIP proved easy to use and was well accepted in the field. For the diagnostic module, inter-rater reliability was assessed on 20 cases rated by 24 clinicians: good reliability was demonstrated for both ICD-10 and DSM-III-R diagnoses. Seven cases were interviewed 2-11 weeks apart to determine test-retest reliability, with pairwise agreement of 0.8-1.0 for most items. Diagnostic validity was assessed in 10 cases, interviewed with the DIP and using the SCAN as 'gold standard': in nine cases clinical diagnoses were in agreement. Conclusions. The DIP is suitable for use in large-scale epidemiological studies of psychotic disorders, as well as in smaller studies where time is at a premium. While the diagnostic module stands on its own, the full DIP schedule, covering demography, social functioning and service utilization makes it a versatile multi-purpose tool.