Medical Specialties Match Hits Another New High This Year

Megan Brooks

December 07, 2018

Results of the 2018 Medical Specialties Matching Program (MSMP), part of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), surpassed the records set in the 2017 Match to become the largest in history with 5881 active applicants (a 7.1% increase), 1839 programs (11% increase), 5215 positions, and 4579 positions filled (both 7.9% increases).

Nearly 88% of the 5215 positions offered through the MSMP have been filled.

The most competitive subspecialties among those that offered at least 30 positions were allergy and immunology, cardiovascular disease, gastroenterology, hematology and oncology, pulmonary/critical care, and rheumatology.  All of these subspecialties filled at least 97% of the positions offered, and more than half of the positions were filled by graduates of US allopathic medical schools.

The least competitive subspecialties among those that offered at least 30 positions were geriatric medicine and nephrology. Both filled less than two thirds of the positions offered, and less than 35% were filled by US allopathic graduates. Infectious diseases and rheumatology saw the greatest percentage increase in positions filled over the past 5 years.

Here is a snapshot of the applicant pool for the 2019 appointments:

  • More than three quarters (4579, 77.9%) of all active applicants (5881) obtained positions for 2019.

  •  The number of active US allopathic medical school graduates was 2661
    (4.5% more than 2018 and 43.2% more than 2015).

  •  The number of active US osteopathic medical school graduates was 594 (17.2% more than 2018 and nearly double the number in 2015).

  •  The number of active US citizen graduates of international medical schools (IMGs) totaled 958 (16.4% more than 2018 and 37.4% more than 2015).


Launched in 1991 with only three internal medicine subspecialties, the MSMP has grown to include 15 subspecialties and two sub-subspecialties (medical fields that require completion of a core residency and subspecialty training).  Since the 2015 appointment year, the number of participating programs has increased by 53.8%, the number of applicants by 33.9%, the number of positions by 44.8%, and the number of positions filled by 38.5%.

"Pursuing advanced training is a major life decision, and the popularity of internal medicine subspecialty training is evidenced by the growing numbers of applicants and positions in the Match," NRMP President and CEO Mona Signer said in a news release.

The Match uses a computerized mathematical algorithm to align the preferences of applicants with the preferences of program directors in order to fill training positions available at US teaching hospitals.

More information on the 2018 MSMP Match results is available online.


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