NRMP Match results in 6,597 new DO residents

Year-over-year, 359 more DO students and graduates matched in 2021.


Today, 6,327 osteopathic medical students and 270 past DO graduates matched into postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) residency positions through the 2021 National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Match. That is a net increase of 359 DO students from the prior year.

Of the expanded applicant pool, a total of 89.1% of the 7,101 (a 7.9% increase from last year) DO students matched into residency programs in 39 specialties, which represents a modest increase in specialty areas, compared to last year’s first combined Match.

Final placement numbers, including residencies secured through the NRMP’s Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP), will not be available until May, but the percentage of secured residencies is expected to align with the 99% rate reported in 2020.

The specialty breakdown is consistent with the osteopathic profession’s historic emphasis on careers in primary care, with 55.8% choosing family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and combined primary care residencies.

“As a family physician, my heart swells with pride to see the number of DOs entering family medicine and primary care positions,” said Dr. Thomas Ely, the 124th president of the American Osteopathic Association. “And, with equal enthusiasm that I applaud our new generation of osteopathic physicians who have chosen to pursue psychiatry, anesthesiology, surgery and other specialty residencies.”

Specialty areas

For graduating fourth-year osteopathic medical students, the top 15 specialties by number of PGY1 matches are:

1. Internal medicine
2. Family medicine
3. Emergency medicine
4. Pediatrics
5. Psychiatry
6. Transitional year (PGY1 only)
7. Anesthesiology
8. Surgery
10. Internal medicine-preliminary (PGY1 only)
11. Neurology
12. Orthopedic surgery
13. Pathology
14. Physical medicine and rehabilitation
15. Surgery-preliminary (PGY1 only)

In all, 2,918 positions were filled in non-primary care specialties. View the NRMP data.

“Regardless of specialty, the osteopathic philosophy, principles and practice teach a whole-person, patient-centered approach to care that is essential today,” said AOA CEO Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP. “Doctors of osteopathic medicine are entering the medical profession during a time of critical need and their growing contribution to our nation’s health care system provides reason to celebrate.”

This year’s NRMP Match reflected an increase in U.S. candidates who matched to PGY-1 positions. Notably, DOs increased at a higher rate than their MD counterparts: 6% compared to 1.8%, respectively.

Other match outcomes

While 6,327 seniors and 270 prior DO graduates matched into a PGY1 residency position through the NRMP Match, additional DO applicants found their residencies earlier this week via the NRMP’s Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP). SOAP numbers will be available in early May.

“Matching with a residency program is a process, and this year’s NRMP Match was a very successful initial step for our osteopathic graduates,” said Dr. Klauer. “Once the full residency placement cycle is complete, we expect that 99% of DOs will achieve a training location, a remarkable number that emulates last year’s success.”

Additionally, this match season, 269 graduating osteopathic fourth-years and 76 graduates were placed via the military match, which places applicants into programs run or sponsored by the military. A small number of graduating osteopathic fourth-years and recent graduates were placed into programs via smaller specialty matches such as the Urology Match and San Francisco Match.

“Congratulations to our 6,597 newly matched DO residents! You’ve earned this momentous honor, and the AOA is so proud to support you on the tremendous journey ahead,” said Dr. Ely.


  1. Matthew Postler, DO

    Impressive numbers. But if osteopathic schools keep popping up like they have been in the last 5 years, it is only contributing to the lack of residency spaces available. In short: we need more residency programs and more spaces within those programs so that osteopathic students who have worked hard for four years don’t experience the heartbreak of not matching. This needs to be a priority.

  2. David Leszkowitz

    I agree with Dr. Postler. With the non existence of Osteopathic Hospitals and the merger , and the higher fee foreign med schools pay for trainning many see less percentage of spots for DO’s . Certainly we gave up and lost control . With the continued increasing class sizes and opening more Osteopathic medical schools without commitment to GME we have a recipe for continued decline in Osteopathic medicine

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