This Year’s Match Week Broke The Record Books

Match Week has always been a stressful time for medical students looking for their next big break — after all, why would this many people put in countless hours of studying, volunteer work, and resume building in the medical field if you didn’t think it was for you? Many apply, yet few get in.

Last year’s Match Week broke a number of records, but this year broke the ceiling. We break down the numbers and see why we received the most Match registrants in history, and which specialties they matched on.

Match Week, By The Numbers

37,103 applicants submitted program choices for 33,167 positions. The number of available first-year (PGY-1) positions rose to 30,232, an increase of 1,383 over 2017.

The number of Match registrants was the highest ever at 43,909. The increase was due primarily to students/graduates of U.S. osteopathic medical schools, whose numbers grew by 1,054 over 2017 to 6,054 this year.

Seniors Lead The Way In Match Week

Every student, regardless of year or experience, wants to get the match. Despite the heavy competition, seniors were able to fill the most positions. According the NRMP, U.S. allopathic seniors filled more than 90% of most positions, mostly in Integrated Interventional Radiology (95.5%), Orthopedic Surgery (93.1%), Integrated Plastic Surgery (92.9%), Radiation Oncology (91.5%), Neurological Surgery (90.2%), and Otolaryngology (90.2%).

Specialties with more than 30 positions that filled less than 45 percent with U.S. allopathic seniors were Family Medicine (44.9%), Internal Medicine (42.4%), Surgery – Preliminary (41.6%), Pediatrics – Primary (40.0%), and Pathology (36.6%).

Integrated Interventional Radiology, Neurological Surgery, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Thoracic Surgery were the specialties with more than 30 positions that were filled.

The number of U.S. allopathic medical school seniors who submitted program choices was a record high 18,818, an increase of 279 over 2017; 17,740 (94.3%) matched to first-year positions, the highest number ever. The 94 percent PGY-1 match rate for U.S. allopathic seniors has been consistent for many years.


The number of U.S. osteopathic medical school students and graduates who submitted program choices was 4,617, and 3,771 (81.7%) matched to PGY-1 positions. Both are all-time highs. Since 2014, the number of U.S. osteopathic medical school students and graduates seeking positions has risen by 1,879, a 68.6 percent increase. Participation by osteopathic students is expected to continue to grow over the next several years as a result of the transition to a single accreditation system; by 2020, when all graduate medical education programs are accredited by the ACGME, the American Osteopathic Association Match will cease to exist.

The number of U.S. citizen international medical school students and graduates (IMGs) who submitted program choices was 5,075, an increase of six over 2017; 57.1 percent (2,900) matched to PGY-1 positions, the highest match rate since 1993.

The number of non-U.S. citizen IMGs who participated in the Match declined for the second consecutive year. In 2018, 7,067 IMGs submitted program choices, down 217 from 2017 and 393 from 2016. However, 3,962 IMGs (56.1%) matched to first-year positions, the highest match rate since 1993.

Which Specialties Were The Most Sought After? 

Nearly half (14,695 of the 30,232) of the positions offered were in the primary care specialties: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine – Pediatrics, Internal Medicine – Primary, and Pediatrics. Seniors filled by nearly half of those positions – 7,104 of 14,333, or 48.3%.

Since 2014, the number of primary care positions has grown by 1,713, a 13.2 percent increase. Internal Medicine programs offered 7,542 positions, 309 more than in 2017; 7,363 (97.6%) positions filled, and 3,195 (42.4%) filled with U.S. allopathic seniors. The number and percentage of U.S. allopathic seniors matching to Internal Medicine has declined every year since 2015. Family Medicine programs offered 3,629 positions, 273 more than in 2017; 3,510 (96.7%) positions filled, and 1,628 (44.9%) filled with U.S. allopathic seniors. Since 2009, the number of U.S. allopathic seniors matching to Family Medicine has increased every year. Pediatrics programs offered 2,768 positions, 30 more than in 2017; 2,711 (97.9%) filled, and 1,746 (63.1%) filled with U.S. allopathic seniors. The percentage of U.S. allopathic seniors matching to Pediatrics has declined every year since 2015.

Emergency Medicine offered 2,278 first-year positions, 231 more than in 2017, and filled all but 13. The overall fill rate was 99.4 percent, and 70.5 percent were filled by U.S. allopathic seniors. Since 2014, the number of Emergency Medicine positions has increased by 492, or 27.5 percent.

Other specialties with at least 30 positions and increasing by more than 50 positions over 2017 were Psychiatry (61 more positions, a 4.1 percent increase), Neurology (60 more positions, a 12.2 percent increase), and Anesthesiology (51 more positions, a 4.2 percent increase). Also, the number of Transitional Year (PGY-1 only) positions increased by 178, a 19.6 percent increase.

All information courtesy of the National Resident Match Program

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