Residency Match Statistics: Rates By Specialty 2024

May 8, 2024
4 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 5/8/24

Wondering about residency match rates by specialty? Keep reading, and we’ll break down everything you need to know!

Perhaps one of the most important points in medical school is when students go into residency for their matched specialty. This can be a confusing process, with med students sometimes unsure of how everything works. It can be even more worrisome to think of the possibility of going unmatched in their preferred specialty.

One of the easiest ways to understand which residencies are more or less competitive is to look at the match rates. The match rates are able to clearly show the relative supply and demand for each residency. With this information, you’ll be able to gauge how likely students are to land the residency of their choice.

So, without delaying any further, let’s get into the residency match statistics!

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Rates of NRMP Match Data by Residency Specialty 

Before we go through the match rates for each specialty, it’s important to keep in mind that the percentages shouldn’t necessarily preclude you from pursuing your preferred medical interests. They’re simply an indication of how competitive each residency tends to be. That being said, you can always break down the steps to applying.

Specialty Positions Match Rate
Vascular Surgery 100 99%
Pediatrics 3,078 91.8%
Medicine-Pediatrics 390 100%
Radiation Oncology 12 100%
Child Neurology 184 96.2%
Internal Medicine (Categorical) 10,261 95.2%
Neurology 878 99.9%

As you can see, certain specialties have much higher match rates than others. Pediatrics has one of the highest match rates, meaning fewer doctors are choosing to pursue that line of medicine. 

Other areas, like neurology, are a bit more competitive, indicating there are relatively more medical graduates applying than there are spots.

Matching Rates for Couples

The match rate for couples is 93.0%. This means that you and your significant other will be able to avoid a long-distance relationship while you complete your residencies. With all the hard work involved in becoming a doctor, you’ll fortunately not have this additional stress.

Some medical students are surprised by the matching rates for couples. After all, medical school can make dating feel impossible. However, couples often find that emotional support can help them get through their residency process, and the NRMP takes this into consideration.

Comparison of Osteopathic and Allopathic Match Rates

Allopathic match rates are 93.9%, and osteopathic match rates are 91.3%. Although osteopathic medicine has been thought of as less likely to match, this isn’t by a significant margin by any means. So whether you got your MD or DO, you can rest assured you’ll be able to find a residency that works for you.

You’ll also find that the residency match rates by medical school vary in addition to specific specialties. This is just one of several factors medical school applicants should take into account when applying to medical programs. Other things to take into account are how the school aligns with your values and interests as a physician. 

Match Rates for International Medical School Graduates (U.S. and non-U.S. Citizens)

The match rate for US citizen IMGs is 67.6%, and the match rate for non-US citizen IMGs is 59.4%. US citizens give higher priority to matches than non-US citizens. Matching as an international medical graduate (IMG) can be more competitive than for those who studied in the US. 

Of all the criteria that can affect your potential to match your residency of choice, studying medicine outside of the US is one of the most pressing. Sometimes, doctors question the quality of medical education in other countries and are thus more reluctant to take on those who studied out of the country.

Just because you studied outside of the US doesn’t mean you need to put a damper on your medical dreams. The majority of IMGs, whether they’re US citizens or not, end up matching. It’s best to focus on factors you can control, like the interview process and being a good medical student.

Specialties with Higher Match Rates for International Students

Specialties that have higher match rates for international students include pathology, internal medicine, and family medicine. International students are more likely to matriculate in these specialties. Typically, these tend to be less competitive specialties with more relative seats. 

Just because certain specialties are easier or harder to get doesn’t mean they’re any less important or impactful. In professional careers, such as law and medicine, young graduates often focus on metrics like salary and prestige, but this isn’t always the best long-term strategy.

Practicing medicine in areas like family and internal medicine can be rewarding. You’ll be able to take a broader, more holistic view of medicine. Helping patients and their families throughout their lives can enable you to build deeper bonds with your patients and make you feel more connected to the practice of medicine.

Specialties with Lower Match Rates for International Students

Specialties that have lower match rates for international students include vascular surgery, thoracic surgery, and interventional radiology.

The types of specialties that have lower match rates for international students tend to be more specialized and involved compared to the ones with higher match rates, such as family and internal medicine. The major factor limiting these spots is due to the limited number of seats available for graduates.

Statistics for the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP)

Even though medical graduates have high success rates for obtaining a residency, that doesn’t mean everyone does. Every year, there are MDs and DOs that go unmatched. SOAP, or Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program serves to minimize the amount of medical graduates that are left without a match.

Groups that tend to have lower match rates benefit the most from the SOAP application system. In general, these medical school graduates are likely to matriculate to less competitive specialties. SOAP applicants are usually IMGs matching with specialties such as family, internal, and emergency medicine.


Still have questions about residency match rates by specialty? Keep reading for our expert answers!

1. What Is a Good Match Rate for Residency?

Considering over 90% of MDs and DOs match for residency, anything above would be a good match rate.

2. What Is the Matching Rate for Canadian Residency?

Canadian medical graduates have a match rate of 98.1%.

3. Is It Common to Not Match to a Residency?

No, most graduates end up matching to a residency.

4. What Are the Odds of Matching Top 3 Residency?

The odds of matching the top 3 residencies are around 75%.

Final Thoughts

Understanding residency match rates by specialty can help alleviate some of the stress on your medical journey. The more information you have about the process of becoming a doctor, the less likely you’ll be taken by surprise. Not matching is something every future doctor has thought about. Fortunately, most end up matching.

If you have any questions regarding the medical school process, you should always know you don’t need to be left without answers. Inspira Advantage has a team of admission experts and top medical school graduates ready for free consultations. That way, we can make your medical dreams into a reality in no time.

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