Press Release: NRMP Medical Specialties Matching Program Appoints 5,208 Residents to Advanced Training Positions

Record Highs Set for Number of Applicants, Programs, Positions, and Positions Filled for
Appointment Year 2021


Washington, D.C., December 3, 2020
 – The National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) has released the results of the 2020 Medical Specialties Matching Program (MSMP). The MSMP encompasses nearly all Internal Medicine subspecialties, and the 2020 Match (for positions that will begin in 2021) surpassed the 2019 Match to become the largest in history. Specifically, the 2020 MSMP included 6,847 applicants submitting certified rank order lists (an 8.9% increase), 2,042 programs submitting certified rank order lists (a 4.3% increase), 5,734 positions (a 2.8% increase), and 5,208 positions filled (a 6.1% increase).

Launched in 1991 with three Internal Medicine subspecialties, the MSMP has grown to include 14 subspecialties and four sub-subspecialties (medical fields that require completion of a core residency and subspecialty fellowship training). Since appointment year 2017, the number of participating programs has increased by 25.6 percent, the number of applicants by 29.6 percent, the number of positions by 21.2 percent, and the number of positions filled by 25.8 percent.

“After several years of medical school and residency training, the decision by these physicians to continue on with advanced training is admirable,” said NRMP President and CEO Donna L. Lamb, DHSc, MBA, BSN. “This cohort’s dedication to particular patient populations and areas of disease is especially commendable coming during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most dire public health crises in modern history. NRMP is proud to be entrusted with matching them to training programs that will further their skillset and benefit patients.”

Program Highlights

  • Of the 5,734 positions offered through the MSMP, 5208 (90.8%) were filled – a nearly 3 percent point increase compared to appointment year 2020.
  • The most competitive subspecialties among those that offered at least 30 positions were Allergy and Immunology, Cardiovascular Disease, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Gastroenterology, Hematology and Oncology, and Pulmonary/Critical Care. All filled at least 95 percent of the positions offered, and more than 50 percent of the positions were filled by U.S. MD graduates.
  • The least competitive subspecialties among those that offered at least 30 positions were Geriatric Medicine and Nephrology. Both filled less than three-quarters of the positions offered, and less than 45 percent were filled by U.S.MD graduates.

Applicant Highlights

  • Of the 6,847 applicants who submitted rank order lists of programs (active applicants), 5,208 (76.1%) obtained positions
    • The number of active U.S. MD graduates totaled 2,935 — 6.8 percent more than in the 2020 appointment year and 20.5 percent more than in the 2017 appointment year.
    • The number of active U.S. DO graduates totaled 855 – 9.6 percent more than in appointment year 2020 and 101.6 percent more than in appointment year 2017.
    • The number of active U.S. citizen graduates of international medical schools totaled 1,087 — 9.0 percent more than appointment year 2020 and 21.6 percent more than appointment year 2017.

Read the 2020 MSMP Match Results Statistics Report for more data on Internal Medicine fellowship appointments that begin in July 2021.

The Match Process

Applicants submit to the NRMP their rank order lists of preferred programs, and program directors rank applicants in order of preference for training applicants. The NRMP uses a computerized mathematical algorithm to match applicants with programs using the preferences expressed on their ranked lists. 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 more than 44,000 registrants, the NRMP conducts Fellowship Matches for more than 65 subspecialties through its Specialties Matching Service® (SMS®).