Establishing a Fellowship Match

Why A Match?

  • Allows applicants and program directors to consider each other without pressure and to develop rank order lists that reflect their true preferences.
  • Optimizes the choices of applicants and program directors, ensuring each achieves the most preferred training choice possible
  • Eliminates common recruiting problems such as early or exploding offers, and applicants holding onto or reneging on offers in search of better options
  • Provides applicants, program directors, and the medical education community with valuable data about Match outcomes and training preferences to address future recruitment and manpower needs


NRMP is the premier matching service in the U.S. In addition to the Main Residency Match for more than 44,000 registrants and 37,000 positions in core specialties, the NRMP successfully matches more than 9,300 fellows into more than 4,700 subspecialty programs each year.

For more than 60 years, the NRMP has stayed true to its founding principles by:

  • Maintaining a neutral venue for matching program directors’ and applicants’ preferences
  • Allowing applicants and program directors time to consider all options before making decisions
  • Establishing a uniform date for appointments to graduate medical education programs
  • Using a mathematical algorithm that ensures the best possible placement into training

Research on the mathematical algorithm used by NRMP was the basis for awarding The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 2012. Such international recognition speaks to the ability of NRMP to provide unparalleled matching services.

Specialties Matching Service

The NRMP manages 22 Fellowship Matches for more than 65 subspecialties through the Specialties Matching Service (SMS). The SMS is available to program directors’ groups (i.e., associations of training program directors) that serve as Match sponsors. SMS Matches are managed through the NRMP’s Registration, Ranking, and Results® (R3®) system.

Sponsoring a Match

Because Matches are more successful when the majority of programs participate, NRMP has developed criteria that encourage greater success. Each Match sponsor must verify annually that:

  • at least 75% of the programs with available positions for the appointment year will be registered for the Match,
  • those programs will actively participate by submitting rank order lists, and
  • at least 75% of the available positions within the specialty will be registered with the NRMP.

Fellowship Matches occur throughout the year and Match schedules are developed in coordination with the sponsor to best suit the needs of program directors and applicants. There is no cost to sponsoring organizations and minimal fees for programs and applicants.

Program Eligibility

Only programs in a specialty for which a Match is being conducted may offer positions through the SMS. To ensure a quality training experience for applicants, the NRMP may be selective in determining which programs are eligible to participate.

To be eligible to offer positions through an SMS Match, a program must be either:

(a) accredited by the ACGME or an entity acceptable to the NRMP, or
(b) affiliated with an ACGME-accredited program in the core discipline, or
(c) lead to certification or endorsement and oversight by a board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS®).

Interested in Establishing a Match?

Please contact NRMP at or 866-653-NRMP (6767) to learn more about our comprehensive matching services for your specialty.