Apr 11, 2010
Medical Student
hey everyone,

Im a 4th year medical student. this past year i applied into a different specialty and did not match. After re-evaluating my options i decided to pursue EM. I have one rotation left in school which im going to use to do EM subi. I have several questions which i hope u guys can help me with. I have 230/250, Im going to do research for a different department this year.

1. will doing only one rotation in EM hurt me?
2. how do programs look at someone who switched fields after not matching

thank you for your responses!


15+ Year Member
Aug 17, 2002
Attending Physician
I was in a similar boat - except I went out and did an internship, rather than research for another department.

The biggest question people are going to have, looking at your application, are those regarding commitment to the specialty and familiarity with its demands. I would use your month of EM, not just to impress people in EM, but also to truly evaluate whether it's the right specialty for you. I would also definitely consider doing something EM related for your gap year, because whatever other department of research is probably not going to help your application, and may even hurt your chances in terms of people reading your application and wondering WTF you're doing research in this other field. EM programs will certainly consider your application with your board scores, but they'll look at a lot of factors in ranking to consider whether you're a good fit for the program and the specialty, and anything like a red flag is really going to impact your ability to match.

...and I would know about the "not matching" part.


10+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2008
On a highway to the Midwest
Resident [Any Field]
I matched into EM this year after not matching into another specialty last year. The only EM rotation I did was at my own school in the spring of '09. I tried to scramble into something, wasn't successful, and subsequently found out about a research associate position in the EM department and my institution, which is the job I was and am doing until I move. A few of the places I interviewed at, it seemed to be a problem that I had only done one rotation and it was at my own school. I was really surprised that the fact I changed specialties wasn't that big of an issue, from interviewers and people on the trail it seemed fairly common. Like xaleia said, the committment thing is an issue, but I addressed it in my PS and my letter writers addressed it, so for me it wasn't so problematic. Also the fact that I was working as a research associate in EM, made a difference as well (I think)... I hope this helps some, I too know not matching sucks, and good luck to you.