Preparing for Residency

Inside Match Day 2024: Nearly 39,000 matches—and some surprises

Brendan Murphy , Senior News Writer

AMA News Wire

Inside Match Day 2024: Nearly 39,000 matches—and some surprises

Mar 15, 2024

Medical training is a journey. Today, the upcoming crop of soon-to-be physicians found their next destination.

Match Day 2024, marking the culmination of years of work and months of applications and interviews for medical students, came with greater numbers of applicants and positions. Overall match rates were on par with what they have been in recent years.

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At more than 50,000, the number of registered applicants again hit a new all-time high. That figure represents a nearly 5% year-over-year increase and was driven largely by a rise of 1,986 non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates (IMGs) and 623 osteopathic (DO) seniors over last year, according to data released this morning by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).

This year’s Match saw record numbers of total positions offered (41,403), total PGY-1 positions offered (38,484), total positions filled (38,941) and total PGY-1 positions filled (35,984).

Match rates remained consistent with prior years. Graduates of U.S.-based osteopathic medical schools continued to see an upward trajectory. That group achieved a 92.3% match rate, an all-time high and an increase of 0.7 percentage points over last year. Since 2019, the DO senior match rate has increased 4.2 percentage points.

Graduates of U.S.-based allopathic medical schools realized a 93.5% match rate, a drop of 0.2 percentage points from last year. The U.S. MD senior match rate remains within the historic 92–95% range that has held steady since 1982.

U.S. citizen IMGs registered a 67% match rate, a drop of 0.6 percentage points from last year. Non-U.S. citizen IMGs realized a 58.5% match rate, a decrease of 0.9 percentage points since last year.

As an organization that helps develop the physician leaders of tomorrow, the AMA’s utility to its medical student members was evident on Match Day 2024.

Leadership opportunities honed through the AMA were an asset to Allie Conry, a fourth-year medical student at University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville who matched with the ob-gyn residency program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

“My work with the AMA came up in every single interview, as most interviewers were intrigued by my leadership and policy experience,” said Conry, vice-speaker of the AMA Medical Student Section (AMA-MSS). “I credit my experience in the AMA-MSS as a region delegate for many of my interview skills. I was able to learn about various facets of health care I would have never been exposed to in medical school otherwise, as well as my ability to form answers on the spot as we do in resolution debate.” Conry was part of a strong Match year for obstetrics and gynecology, which registered a 99.6% fill rate.

AMA member Allie Conry at Match Day 2024
AMA member Allie Conry matched with the ob-gyn program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

Also matching in ob-gyn, AMA member Cecily Negri said—nearly two years since the Dobbs decision—her work with the AMA highlighted the importance of access to care.

Negri said that working “with the AMA helped me realize how important health care accessibility, patient education and other advocacy is to me and how I want to include these areas in my future career,” said Negri a fourth-year medical student at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine who matched in the residency program at her home institution.

Negri used connections made through her involvement with AMA-MSS as an asset throughout the residency application process.

“I reached out to my MSS colleagues at other institutions to better understand their thoughts on the ob-gyn department at their schools and used this information to help guide the list of programs I applied to and signaled,” Negri said. “I appreciated AMA resources on excelling in residency interviews and used this as a strong starting point for interview preparation.” 

In a lecture delivered at Harvard Medical School’s graduating MD class this morning, AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, reflected on the value of AMA membership as a part of entering the profession of medicine. Explore further with his Leadership Viewpoints column, adapted from his address: “Match Day marks the start of a new journey for tomorrow’s doctors.”

In 2023, the surprising Match Day development was an unexpected rise in the number of unfilled positions in emergency medicine. That specialty rebounded in 2024 with a 95.5% fill rate, up 13.9 percentage points over last year.

This year, pediatrics showed a jump in unfilled positions. In the 2024 Match, pediatrics offered 3,139 categorical and filled 2,887, resulting in a fill rate of 92%, compared to 97.1% in 2023.

After the Match algorithm was processed, 252 pediatrics positions were unfilled, 164 more than last year. Notably, the percentage of U.S. MD seniors that matched to pediatrics categorical positions in 2024 was 47.6%, down 7.2 percentage points from last year. 

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Most competitive specialties: Match officials said data can show the competitiveness of specialties when measured by the percentage of positions filled overall and the percentage of positions that U.S. MD and DO seniors fill. Specialties with 30 positions or more that filled with the highest percentage of U.S. MD and DO seniors in the 2024 Match were:

  • Internal medicine-emergency medicine—96.8%.
  • Thoracic surgery—95.8%.
  • Otolaryngology—95.8%.
  • Internal medicine-pediatrics—94.6%.
  • Orthopaedic surgery—92.1%.
  • Interventional radiology-integrated—91.4%.
  • Obstetrics and gynecology—90.7%.

IMG-friendly specialties: The specialties with 30 positions or more that filled with the highest percentage of U.S. citizen IMGs and non-U.S. citizen IMGs were internal medicine (38.6%); pathology—anatomic and clinical (37.4%); family medicine (31.8%), and neurology (28.3%).

SOAP rates stay steady: Applicants who did not match to a residency position through the Main Residency Match had the opportunity to take part in Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP). This year, 2,562 positions were unfilled after the matching algorithm was processed, 123 fewer positions than the 2023 Match.

A total of 2,575 positions were placed in SOAP, including positions in programs that did not participate in the algorithm phase of the process. There were 83 fewer positions in SOAP in 2024, a drop of 3.1 percentage points compared with last year’s Match. More detailed SOAP results will be available in the full Match report scheduled to be published later this spring. 

Additional data related to Match Day is available at the NRMP Website.