What's the difference: Transitional vs. IM

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


Full Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 1, 2004
Reaction score

Members don't see this ad.
What's the difference between Transitional Year vs. Internal Med year. I know that TY is for those who are going into specialties like rads, anesth, PM&R, RadOnc, Ophtho. But what is the difference in the make up of the year... what rotations are required vs. elective, and how many hours/wk is it compared to an IM PGY1. I know its program specific but generalize as much as you can.

Pooh & Annie

10+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2005
Reaction score
Usually you will have less call months as a transitional. About the same amount of time in electives, but they might be a month long (in TY), instead of 2 weeks (IM). You'll probably do at least a little surgery as a TY. THese are generalities. The biggest difference, anyonein a decent TY will tell you, is the fewer months of call. (Less total call is required in those residencies linked to TYs. If you did a TY and then switched into IM, in most cases you would need to make up call months).


Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2006
Reaction score
Prelim Medicine years are, as the name suggests, almost completely medicine. TYs are more like a continuation of medical school -- a mix of a little bit of everything, with a few required medicine months, usually at least one surgery month, often some OB/GYN. The closest comparison would be to a condensed Family Medicine residency experience.

It is not unusual to have only one or no electives at all during a prelim medicine year. It likely consists of a few medicine subspecialty consult or clinic months, maybe a little Cardiology, an ICU month or two, and a bunch of wards medicine (something like that, anyway).

For Neurology, you need an intern year with at least 8 months of inpatient primary care, 6 of which need to be internal medicine. Nearly all prelim medicine programs satisfy this automatically, but TYs don't. Occasionally, you can use your elective time to do more medicine to fulfull the requirement.