Close to 95 percent of U.S. allopathic medical students matched for PGY-1 positions in the 2018 Match. But seven specialties proved tough competition. The National Resident Matching Program labels the most competitive specialties as those that match with the highest percentage of U.S. medical student graduates.

See below for the seven most competitive in 2018.

Integrated Interventional Radiology

Only 58.3 percent of students matched into this specialty—the lowest of all.

Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic surgery was one of four specialties that did not have enough positions to accommodate all students who listed it as their preferred specialty.

Integrated Plastic Surgery

U.S. students who reported data to the NRMP named an average of 5.8 abstracts, presentations and publications in their ERAS. In plastic surgery, matched candidates listed an average of 14.9 published works.

Neurological Surgery

Neurological surgery had 14 percent of matched U.S. senior with a PhD—the highest of any specialty.


This was the second year in a row that the number of otolaryngology positions exceeded the number of U.S. seniors applying for the specialty.


Of those who matched into dermatology, 49 percent noted that they were members of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Thoracic Surgery

Thoracic surgery was one of eight specialties that had at least 10 positions in the Match and 100 percent fill rates.

Find more details at the American Medical Association.

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