Demand for residency positions exceeded supply for all 47 specialties included in the 2015 residency match, but some specialties were more in demand than others.
Sheer weight of numbers gives the largest specialty, internal medicine, the largest demand – 11,411 total applicants – and the biggest difference between that demand and the number of PGY-1 positions offered: 6,770 slots, leaving 4,641 new doctors to settle for another specialty, according to data from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).
There is, however, more than one way to look at Match supply and demand. By doing a little math to take specialty size out of the equation, neurology gets a lot more popular. With 990 residents vying for just 404 positions, the total number of neurology applicants exceeded successful ones by 145%, compared with 68% for internal medicine. Also moving ahead of IM were surgery (97%), family medicine (90%), and psychiatry (81%).
Among the smallest subspecialties – those with less than 100 positions to fill – the demand becomes even more impressive. Radiation oncology had a rate of 600%, while pediatrics-primary put up a rate of 978%. The top of the demand heap, however, is occupied by medicine–preventive medicine, which had 94 applicants for just 7 available slots, according to the NRMP, which means that the number of applicants topped the number accepted by 1,243%.
The total PGY-1 numbers for 2015 look like this: 52,860 applicants filled 27,293 residency positions, so the number of total applicants exceeded those accepted by 94%. Think of it this way: For every residency applicant who matched in 2015, there was nearly one complete applicant who didn’t.