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IM Fellowship discussion

frank the tank

Junior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2003
Hey all,

Was hoping to generate some discussion about fellowship competitiveness in general. We've all heard the basic numbers about competitive fellowships like Cards (~750 spots per year) and GI (~300 spots per year), but who has a sense for how many total people apply for these spots each year? How many Cards or GI applicants don't match, and what do they do afterwards? Reapply in their third year? Or apply to other fellowships, or just go into Gen Med upon completion of residency?

Many residency programs told me that their residents never have any problem matching into Cards for example, but I wonder how much the inherent competitive nature of the process selects for more qualified applicants to apply in the first place (and the less qualified applicants don't bother when they come to this self-realization).

Also, a lot of residency programs pitched that their residents get their top choices for fellowship placement; I think this is a bit misleading. I interpret this as their residents get their top choices among the places that they're actually offered an interview, but not necessarily the top places they'd like to go to (all the Stanfords and UCSFs and Brighams out there). Does anyone agree?

Just some random thoughts I put together, I'd be interested to hear your takes on these issues.


Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2002
I think as with everything there is some self-selection. Opthamology and ENT have relatively low unmatch rates (20%ish) -- but a guy like me knows not to apply b/c it would be a waste of my time and money. If you're the worst resident in your class at SmallTownUSA Community Hospital it would similarly be silly to apply to cards or GI.

Also bear in mind that not everyone WANTS to do cards at MGH or Brigham. Myself, as I want to do private practice, I'm more likely to look for a more low academic power (but hopefully high volume) fellowship.

As people get older, location and family issues begin to loom larger as well.
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