Press Release: NRMP Report: 2020 Appt Year is Largest for Fellowship Matches

More than 9,916 fellowship positions filled through NRMP Specialties Matching Service.

Washington, D.C., February 24, 2020 – The National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) has released Results and Data Specialties Matching Service, 2020 Appointment Year, an annual report of physician Fellowship Matches conducted by the NRMP Specialties Matching Service® (SMS®). The report shows 12,042 active applicants with rank order lists of programs competed for 11,545 fellowship positions offered by 4,946 programs, making the 2020 appointment year the largest on record and advancing a five-year growth trend.

“It is a pleasure to provide this useful, robust source of fellowship data to the medical education community,” said NRMP President and CEO Donna L. Lamb, DHSc, MBA, BSN. “The Specialties Matching Service continues to thrive as an increasing number of physicians seek specialized training in a growing number of subspecialties and programs. The number of active applicants in the SMS has grown nearly 22 percent since 2016, and while nearly all applicant types have increased by double-digit percentages over that time, graduates of DO-granting medical schools have led the way with an 83 percent increase.”

The SMS report includes data on 67 subspecialties in 22 separate Matches conducted in 2019 and early 2020 and provides valuable insight into physician workforce trends. Five-year trend data by specialty, a state-by-state breakdown of participating programs, and match rates by applicant type also are included.

Program Highlights

Three new specialties joined the SMS for 2020 appointments: Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiology in the Medical Specialties Matching Program; Musculoskeletal Radiology in the Radiology Match; and Pediatric Transplant Hepatology in the Pediatric Specialties Match. Other highlights:

  • Of Of the 11,545 positions offered through the SMS, 9,916 (85.9%) were filled.
  • Of the 4,946 participating programs, 3,797 (77.8%) filled all positions.
  • Of the 67 participating subspecialties, 29 filled 90 percent or more of the positions offered; 21 filled less than 75 percent.
  • The most competitive specialties among those that offered at least 30 positions were Gynecologic Oncology, Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery, Reproductive Endocrinology, Hand Surgery, and Surgical Oncology. All filled at least 95 percent of the positions offered, and more than 80 percent were filled by U.S. MD medical school graduates.
  • The least competitive specialties among those that offered at least 30 positions were Clinical Ultrasound, Geriatric Medicine, Medical Genetics, and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. All filled less than 60 percent of the positions offered, and less than 40 percent were filled by U.S. MD graduates.

Applicant Highlights

  • Of the 12,042 applicants who submitted program lists (active applicants), 9,916 (82.3%) obtained positions.
  • The number of active U.S. MD medical school graduates totaled 6,462, 161 more than last year and a 2.6 percent increase.
  • The number of active U.S. DO medical school graduates totaled 1,568, 258 more than last year and a 19.7 percent increase.
  • The number of active U.S. citizen graduates of international medical schools (IMGs) totaled 1,589, 131 more than last year and an 9.0 percent increase.

The number of active non-U.S. graduates of international medical schools was virtually static with only 33 more participants for the 2020 appointment year.

View full Match report and infographic

The NRMP Match
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 U.S. teaching hospitals. 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®), or The Match®, 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 more than 42,000 registrants, the NRMP conducts Fellowship Matches for more than 65 subspecialties through its Specialties Matching Service® (SMS®).