Students Preparing for Residency Match Guide

Match Guide

Charting your course

Navigating the Match

Finding a training program requires research, planning and patience. Understand the process and explore your options to make sure you find the right program for you.

The Match places U.S. medical school students into residency training programs at teaching health centers across the country. Each year, thousands of osteopathic medical students participate in the Match.

The AOA, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) are currently transitioning toward a single accreditation system for graduate medical education through which DOs will have the option of entering training programs with the distinction of osteopathic recognition.


Ready, set, match

Match process

Apply to residency programs

Submit your residency application materials, including the CV and personal statement you’ve crafted, to your chosen programs, using the ERAS online application system. The process of applying to residency programs is independent of the match and typically runs from July of your fourth year of medical school through the following January or February. Application deadlines vary, so check in with your desired residency programs.

Register for the Match

Decide which matching process(es) you want to take part in and register accordingly. Your options are:

  • The AOA Match. Note that with the transition to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education, the AOA anticipates that the class of 2019 will be the last to use two residency matches. To take part in the AOA Match, you’ll need to register with ERAS, the Electronic Residency Application System, by Nov. 1 of your fourth year of medical school.
  • The National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) Main Residency Match.
  • The Military match, if you’re a military med school student. Military match application materials are released in early summer, with interviews in September and October and match results released by email in November and December. It’s advised that you sign up for the civilian match too in case you don’t match into a military residency.
  • The San Francisco Match.
  • The Urology Match for ACGME urology programs.

Note that both the AOA and NRMP offer a match option for couples.

Complete residency interviews

Once you’ve registered for the Match, it’s time to complete interviews to determine which programs might be a good fit for your interests and goals. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn as much about the program as the interviewer is learning about you.

Rank your top programs

After you’ve applied and interviewed at your top choice residency programs, you’ll rank them and they will rank you. For the AOA Match, this process takes place in mid-January.

Get ready for Match Day

The AOA match takes place in early February each year, while the NRMP match takes place in early March. If you don’t match, you can take part in the “scramble” to find open residency slots through:

For more tips on what to do if you don’t match on your first try, head to The DO.


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