Press Release: Thousands of Medical Students and Graduates Celebrate NRMP Match Results

2020 Main Residency Match is the largest on record. 

Washington, D.C., March 20, 2020 – Today the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) celebrates Match Day with the thousands of applicants and programs participating in the 2020 Main Residency Match®. Medical school students and graduates from the United States and around the world have learned in which U.S. residency programs they will train for the next three to seven years. Today the NRMP also releases the Advance Data Tables (select tables from the full Match report published in early May), “Match by the Numbers,” and Match Day infographic.

“NRMP is proud to congratulate thousands of young physicians as they celebrate their transition to residency,” said Donna L. Lamb, DHSc, MBA, BSN, NRMP President and CEO. “We are especially excited that the 2020 Match marks a milestone for the medical education community: The first Single Match for U.S. MD and DO senior students and graduates and the inclusion of DO senior students as sponsored applicants.”

The “Single Match” represents the first time that all allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) applicants participated in one matching program. The Single Match comes after the creation of a single accreditation system forged by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. In 2014, those organizations approved an agreement to recognize the ACGME as the primary accrediting body for graduate medical education programs by 2020. As part of that transition, the AOA Match ended in 2019.

Largest Match: Impact of Osteopathic Programs and Students

The 2020 Main Residency Match was the largest in NRMP history. A record-high 40,084 applicants submitted program choices for 37,256 positions, the most ever offered in the Match. The number of available first-year (PGY-1) positions rose to 34,266, an increase of 2,072 (6.4%) over 2019. The increase in positions was due, in part, to the last migration of osteopathic program positions into the Main Residency Match.

Growth in U.S. DO senior participation also pushed the Main Residency Match to record highs. There were 6,581 U.S. DO medical school seniors who submitted program choices, representing an increase of 1,103 over 2019. Of those, 5,968 (90.7%) matched to PGY-1 positions, pushing the U.S. DO seniors match rate up 2.6 percentage points from 2019. Since 2016, the number of U.S. DO seniors seeking positions has risen by 3,599, a 120 percent increase.

Additional Applicant Highlights

  • The total number of Match registrants was the highest ever at 44,959.
  • The number of U.S. MD seniors who submitted program choices was a record-high 19,326, an increase of 401 over 2019; 18,108 (93.7%) matched to first-year positions, the highest number ever. The 94 percent PGY-1 match rate for U.S. MD seniors has been consistent for many years.
  • The number of U.S. citizen international medical school students and graduates (IMGs) who submitted program choices was 5,167, an increase of 87 over 2019; 61 percent (3,154) matched to PGY-1 positions, representing the highest match rate since 1991.
  • The number of non-U.S. citizen IMGs who participated in the Match increased slightly, breaking a three-year trend of decline. In 2020, 6,907 IMGs submitted program choices, up 38 from 2019. Furthermore, 4,222 IMGs (61.1%) matched to first-year positions, which is 2.5 percentage points higher than 2019 and the highest match rate since 1990.

Unmatched Applicants

Applicants who did not match to a residency position participated in the NRMP Match Week Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®) to obtain an unfilled position. This year, 1,897 positions were offered during SOAP. SOAP results will be available in the full Match report published in early May.

Program Highlights

Specialty Competitiveness

The results of the Match can be a predictor of future physician workforce supply. The results also can indicate the competitiveness of specialties, as measured by the percentage of positions filled overall and the percentage filled by senior students in U.S. MD medical schools.

  • Specialties with more than 30 positions that filled all available positions were Dermatology, Medicine-Emergency Medicine, Neurological Surgery, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (categorical), Integrated Plastic Surgery, and Thoracic Surgery.
  • Specialties with more than 30 positions that filled more than 80 percent with U.S. MD seniors were Integrated Plastic Surgery (91.7), Medicine-Pediatrics (81%), Neurological Surgery (87.5%), Orthopedic Surgery (80.8%), Otolaryngology (88.6%), Thoracic Surgery (84.2%), and Vascular Surgery (81.3%).
  • Specialties with more than 30 positions that filled less than 45 percent with U.S. MD seniors were Family Medicine (33.1%), Internal Medicine (categorical) (40.2%), Pathology (33.8 %), Pediatrics – Primary (39.1 %), and Surgery – Preliminary (24.7%).

Primary Care Specialties

Of the 34,266 first-year positions offered in the Match, 17,135 were in the primary care specialties of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine – Pediatrics, Internal Medicine – Primary, Pediatrics, and Pediatrics – Primary, a 7.4 percent increase over the number offered in 2019. Of those, 16,343 (95.4%) were filled and 7,369 (45.1%) were filled by U.S. MD seniors.

  • Internal Medicine programs offered 8,697 categorical positions, 581 more than in 2019; 8,324 (95.7%) positions filled, and 3,496 (40.2%) filled with U.S. MD seniors. The percentage of Internal Medicine categorical positions filled by U.S. MD seniors has declined every year since 2015; however, fill rates for U.S. DO seniors has increased from 6.9 percent in 2016 to 16.0 percent in 2020.
  • Family Medicine programs offered 4,662 positions, 555 more than in 2019; 4,313 (92.5%) positions filled, and 1,543 (33.1%) filled with U.S. MD seniors. This year was the second consecutive year, and second since 2009, that the number of U.S. MD seniors matching to Family Medicine has decreased. However, a record number 1,392 U.S. DO seniors matched in Family Medicine, accounting for 29.9 percent of all applicants who matched to the specialty.
  • Pediatrics programs offered 2,864 categorical positions, 17 more than in 2019; 2,812 (98.2%) filled, and 1,731 (60.4%) filled with U.S. MD seniors.

Other Specialty Trends

  • Obstetrics-Gynecology programs offered 1,433 first-year positions, 48 more than in 2019, and filled all but three. The overall fill rate was 99.8 percent, and 75.5 percent were filled by U.S. MD seniors.
  • Orthopedic Surgery programs offered 849 PG-1 positions, 94 more than in 2019, a 12.4 percent increase. While the overall fill rate was 99.4 percent, the number of positions filled by US MD seniors decreased for the first time since 2016 but only modestly. Strikingly, US DO seniors filled 112 (13.2%) of the available positions this year compared to only 13 (1.7%) in 2019.
  • Radiology-Diagnostic (PGY-2) programs offered 990 positions, 25 more than in 2019, and the overall fill rate was 97.6 percent. It is noteworthy that while the number of positions filled by U.S. MD senior has declined each year since 2018, the number filled by U.S. DO seniors has increased each year (and a total of 77.6 percent) since 2016.

View the Advance Data Tables, Match by the Numbers, and Match infographic

The Match Process

For applicants, the Main Residency Match process begins in the fall during the final year of medical school, when they apply to the residency programs of their choice. Throughout the fall and early winter, applicants interview with programs. From mid-January to late February, applicants and program directors rank each other in order of preference and submit the preference lists to NRMP, which processes them using a computerized mathematical algorithm to match applicants with programs. Research on the NRMP algorithm was a basis for awarding The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 2012.

About NRMP

The National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) is a private, non-profit organization established in 1952 at the request of medical students to provide an orderly and fair mechanism for matching the preferences of applicants for U.S. residency positions with the preferences of residency program directors. In addition to the annual Main Residency Match® for almost 44,000 registrants, the NRMP conducts Fellowship Matches for more than 60 subspecialties through its Specialties Matching Service® (SMS®).