Medical Residency MATCH

Are you hearing a lot of noise about residency MATCH DAY in the news lately? As a premed, this will seem like a long way off but it's one of the most important events in your medical career. You will always remember where you were on MATCH DAY! This year the magical day for allopathic programs was March 16, 2018. For osteopathic programs, Match Day was February 5, 2018. For military programs, Match Day was last December 2017. 

2018 represented the largest match in NRMP history for MD graduate medical education. 37,103 applicants submitted program choices for 33,167 positions. "The number of available first-year (PGY-1) positions rose to 30,232, an increase of 1,383 over 2017," according to NRMP 2018 press release. Visit the AOA Intern/Resident Registration Program website for match results for DO graduate medical education.

Start with understanding the acronyms:

  • NRMP = MD match program
  • ACGME = Accrediting body for post-MD programs
  • NMS = DO match program
  • AOA = Accrediting body for Osteopathic training programs (American Osteopathic Association)
  • LCME = Liaison Committee on Medical Education 
  • SOAP = Match Week Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program

Match Day for allopathic programs is the day medical school students learn where they will spend their residency training. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is responsible for post-MD graduate medical education including fellowships and residencies. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) coordinates the complicated matching of the individual students to the residency and fellowship programs. Osteopathic schools run their own match service. The American Osteopathic Association (AOA)  accredits graduate medical education for osteopathic students.  The AOA Intern/Resident Registration Program is administered by the National Matching Services Inc. (NMS). Osteopathic students may apply to just the DO match or they can also apply to the MD match as well. At this time, MD students cannot apply to the DO match. However, some programs are dual accredited by both the ACGME and AOA.

The system is in transition. Currently there are two different match systems for the DO and MD programs with different accrediting bodies and different match day announcements. By 2020, there will be a single accreditation system for both MD and DO internship, residency and fellowship programs coordinated by the ACGME.  Here is a great link from AACOM to an easy to read chart describing the current and future systems.

For ACGME accredited programs, the match results are released the third week of March. On Monday of that week, students find out IF they matched somewhere; on Friday they find out WHERE they matched....thus MATCH DAY. If you do not match anywhere, you can then 'scramble' during the week and contact programs with open spots.  If you match in both the NRMP and the NMS there are additional rules that apply. AOA/NMS results are available in February. 

To find out more about how the MD match program works, understand the algorithms, deadlines, dual accredited programs and how osteopathic students can participate, please refer to the main NRMP website for details.

To find out more about the DO matching program please refer to the following sites: National Resident Matching Program (NRMP)  and  AACOM site. Both sites provide excellent summaries of the entire match process including information about the move to one accredited system by 2020.  

Helpful Links:

Check out various medical school websites and twitter accounts to see the excitement and rituals associated with the announcements. I particularly like the Medical College of Georgia's costume tradition.