If you are an International Medical Graduate (IMG), picking which medical specialties to apply to starts with learning about the top IMG friendly fields. Using the information provided by NRMP’s Advance Data Tables 2023 Main Residency Match, we’ve determined which medical specialties had the highest percentage of US and Non-US IMGs in the positions filled for the 2023 Match. First, however, let’s review some general match statistics to understand the big picture.
Match 2023 General Statistics
34,822 PGY-1 Positions Filled
18,498 US MD Senior (93.7% Match Rate)
6,812 US DO Senior (91.6% Match Rate)
790 US MD Graduate (48% Match Rate)
320 US DO Graduate (48% Match Rate)
3,356 US IMG (67.6% Match Rate)
5,032 Non-US IMG (59.4% Match Rate)
Top IMG Friendly Specialties of 2023 by Ratio
|PGY-1||IMG %||Filled Positions||US IMG||Non-US IMG||MD Senior||MD Grad||DO Senior||DO Grad|
|General Surgery (Preliminary)||44.5%||582||73||186||246||22||47||7|
|Internal Medicine (Categorical)||41.3%||9345||1200||2659||3592||133||1688||70|
|Radiology – Diagnostic||14.7%||143||8||13||90||4||28||0|
|Internal Medicine (Preliminary)||12%||1576||72||117||1205||30||149||2|
|General Surgery (Categorical)||10.3%||1667||77||95||1062||153||243||36|
|Physical Med and Rehab||4.9%||206||6||4||118||3||74||1|
Top IMG Friendly Specialties by Number of IMGs
|Internal Medicine (Categorical)||3859|
|General Surgery (Preliminary)||259|
|Internal Medicine (Preliminary)||189|
According to the NRMP:
The top five IMG friendly specialties for US-IMGs were:
Internal Medicine (categorical) (1,200)
Family Medicine (793)
Emergency Medicine (289)
Pediatrics (categorical) (226)
The top five IMG friendly specialties for Non-US IMGs were:
Internal Medicine (categorical) (2,659)
Family Medicine (562)
Pediatrics (categorical) (401)
General Surgery (Preliminary) (186)
Other IMG Friendly Factors
Beyond statistics, there are other factors IMG residency candidates should consider when choosing medical specialties:
- Specialty-wide USMLE score expectations – Some specialties are more competitive and have increased expectations of residency candidates. For example, General Surgery programs typically require higher USMLE scores than Psychiatry.
- Previous work and clinical experiences – All specialties like to see some evidence of commitment and deep interest in the specialty. Specialties such as Family Medicine highly prefer to see some history of Family Medicine experience to prove your dedication.
- Supporting documents – Another way to prove your interest and dedication to a specialty is having specialty-specific supporting documents. You should work hard to obtain specialty-specific Letters of Recommendation and a Personal Statement for each specialty you plan on applying to. Learn more at Residency Experts.
- Finances – Applying to residency can be expensive. The suggested minimum applications for IMG candidates is 100 programs per specialty, which adds up to thousands of dollars. Make sure you assess your specialty decision carefully to make the best use of your resources.
- Program choices and opportunities – Your choice may depend on how large the specialty you choose is and the number of programs you qualify to apply to, based on your professional credentials and each program’s application requirements. If you pick too narrow a specialty, you may need to prepare a backup specialty.
Choosing a specialty will take time, care, and consideration. While some specialties are less competitive than others, no one specialty is a guaranteed “in.” No matter which specialty you pick, you will still have to put lots of hard work into your MyERAS Application materials, program research, and more.
Visit Match A Resident to see how our Customized Program Lists can help you prepare for a successful Match season!