Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Office of Student Affairs & Career Counseling
Years Three & Four

Note: These dates are subject to change. Please periodically check the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and National Resident Match Program (NRMP) sites to confirm dates or call the Office of Student Affairs and Career Counseling at 215-503-6988.


Year Three

January & March

  • Meet with the Registrar’s Office, Office of Student Affairs and Career Counseling (annual meeting) and faculty advisors regarding your fourth year schedules. Online scheduling begins in March.
  • Apply for away/audition electives, if applicable. Get application materials at FREIDA (Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database).

Late Winter-Spring

Register for United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Clinical Skills (CS). Philadelphia is 1 of 5 sites for the CS exam, so register and choose a date early.


Begin to research the residency programs to which you may apply. Information about most programs, including direct links to program websites, is available through FREIDA Online. Be sure to look at specific requirements for each program to which you are applying.


  • Receive assignment for your Medical Student Performance Evaluation (Dean’s Letter). Meet with the faculty member writing your Dean’s letter by mid-August.
  • Download Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) application materials and read about which specialties use ERAS.
  • ERAS application for the Match becomes available June 6, 2017.
  • University Registrar will generate and e-mail your MyERAS token to your email account. This token is necessary for you to register for ERAS. Your ERAS account will also be linked to your AAMC ID#.

Year Four

July to August

  • Information about the National Resident Match Program (NRMP) application becomes available in July.
  • Mandatory fourth year orientation July 10th, 2017.
  • An Applicant User Guide will be posted in early August before registration begins.
  • Early match application deadline (Ophthalmology, Plastic Surgery, Neurology) at San Francisco Match is in August.


  • Apply to ACGME-accredited residency programs through ERAS on September 15th.
  • Provide the Office of the Registrar with a professional digital photo as a .jpeg file. Avoid submitting a candid photo.
  • Registration for the NRMP becomes available. This is to register for the MATCH (and is separate from the ERAS application). The NRMP Directory will be posted and updated weekly thereafter.
  • Finalize ERAS application. You must finalize your ERAS application before the Office of the Registrar can scan your letters of recommendation. Check Banner to verify that your letters have been received and ERAS to verify that your letters have been scanned.


  • Medical Student Performance Evaluation (Dean’s Letter) is released to residency programs on October 1st.
  • Letters of Recommendation are due to Registrar’s Office. The cover page to provide to your letter writers is available on the “Letters of Rec” tab in ERAS.
  • Our student deadline to take USMLE Step 2 CS is October 31st.  Programs may not rank a student without a passing Step 2 CS score.


  • Interviews take place at participating institutions and start date varies by specialty. Check with your sub-specialty advisor for specific information.
  • Registration deadline for NRMP (the Match) is the last week of November. (An additional late registration fee occurs between December 1 to January 31.)


  • Deadline to take USMLE Step 2 CK. Programs may not rank a student without a passing Step 2 CK score. 
  • Military Match results are posted.

January to Mid-February

  • Early Match Program notification (ophthalmology, ENT, urology).
  • Applicants and programs enter their rank order lists using the Rank Order List Input Confirmation System (ROLIC). You will need to enter your NRMP code and password. ROLIC closes at 8:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). NRMP must receive certified applicant and rank order lists and any other information pertinent to the match by this date and time.


  • Match Results come out. Matched and unmatched information on applicants will be posted at 12:00 noon EST on NRMP, typically on the second Monday of March. The list of unfilled programs are posted to the NRMP site at 12:00 noon EST. Locations of all unfilled positions are released only to participants eligible for the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP).
  • Match Day: typically the second Friday in March. Match day results are posted on the NRMP Website at 1:00 p.m. (EST). 
  • The week following Match Day, hospitals send letters of appointment to matched applicants. You must sign and return the letters of appointment.


  • Class Day falls in May
  • Commencement is in May
  • Residents begin work in June or July


Deciding on a Specialty

Students with match letters

During the Clinical Clerkship (third) year, students are exposed to inpatient and outpatient medicine. Third year is the first opportunity to work alongside both faculty and residents. As students begin their clerkships, the OSACC has many resources to help you transition to clinical medicine, including class meetings, individual meetings with the OSACC Deans and the excellent AOA Guide to the Clinical Years.

In the fourth year of medical school students decide on a specialty that best fits their interests, personality and career goals. 

Clinical Decision Making: The 3:2:1 Process*

Most students decide on a specialty during their clinical clerkships, often by late spring of third year, although some students do not make a final decision until the summer between third and fourth year. 

A useful way to conceptualize this is the 3:2:1 Rule.

The goal is to narrow down your specialty choices to 3:2:1. Ideally, this is to have no more than:

  • 3 choices by February of third year in order to select beginning the fourth-year rotations that will inform your final decision.
  • 2 choices by June (early in the fourth year).
  • 1 final choice by July of your fourth year.

It can be very helpful to gather information from people who know you best to help you work through the 3:2:1 timeline. These people can be specialty-specific career advisors, other faculty, ICM mentors, Learning Society mentors, residents, near-peers, friends and family. Once you've made your final decision about a specialty, you must formally shift your advising to a specialty-specific career advisor to help you through the application process.

Many students who are deciding between two fields have found that reading journal articles in each of these fields to assess comparative interest can be quite helpful. What types of patients interest you? Which diseases do you like to read about?

Another helpful hint can be found by comparing yourself to the house staff you encounter in different specialties you rotated through. For example, are you more similar to a pediatrician or an internist? How comfortable would you be if your colleagues were family doctors vs. surgeons?

*Modified from UCSF Medical School website.

The Match

Match Day

The Match is the culmination of your medical school career, overseen by the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). (The NRMP is not an application service. Students apply to residency programs through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and are matched through the NRMP to a residency.)

Through the NRMP, medical students list the programs where they wish to train (in order of preference) and residency programs list the students whom they would like to accept (in order of preference). The algorithm used for this program is applicant proposing: the computer considers the student's preference list first before the residency program's list. The Match algorithm is done by matching applicants tentatively with their first choice program. However, this tentative match is overruled if a more preferred applicant in that program is reached.

If there are no more spots available in an applicant's first choice program, the algorithm tries to match their second choice, and so on. Students rank programs on their Match lists in the order in which they wish to train at that program. Students must rank at least 10 programs in order to have the best chance of matching.

You will apply to most residency programs through ERAS and rank your programs in the order in which you wish to go to them through the NRMP. The NRMP system is also referred to as NRMP:R3 for Registration, Ranking, Results.

Choosing a residency

The AAMC has a great PDF available to download for free called the Roadmap to Residency. The Office of Student Affairs and Career Counseling highly recommends that students check it out.

Electronic Residency Application System

The Electronic Residency Application System is similar to AMCAS in that it is a common application service. At present, all residency programs (otherwise known as Graduate Medical Student programs) require an application through ERAS. The Ophthalmology Match, however, requires both an ERAS application for the first year of training and a paper application through the San Francisco Match.

Submitting the ERAS application involves a student profile, Curriculum Vitae (CV), letters of recommendation, Dean's Letter, USMLE scores, transcript and a personal statement. After entering this information, you will send the application electronically to the programs that interest you. Once the ERAS application is submitted, students receive invitations to interview at interested programs.

The application process for different programs, even within the same specialty, can vary, so it is important to research programs. Ophthalmology, urology and military programs all participate in an "Early Match" before the normal Match deadline. Any student interested in participating in a Match through the Armed Forces must meet with Dr. DeSimone in the OSACC.

Types of NRMP Positions

  • Categorical (C): These programs begin in the PGY-1 year and provide the training required for board certification in medical specialties.
  • Advanced (A): These programs begin in the PGY-2 year after a year of prerequisite training.
  • Preliminary (P): These are one-year programs that begin in the PGY-1 year and provide prerequisite training for advanced programs.
  • Physician (R): These programs are reserved for physicians who have had prior graduate medical education (not available to senior U.S. medical students).

Some specialties require three years of residency in internal medicine or pediatrics before applying to a fellowship. Fellowships generally last two to three years beyond residency, and the application process to fellowships occurs during the second year of residency. Other residency programs require one to two years of preliminary training before advanced training begins. These preliminary years are done in internal medicine, surgery and transitional programs.

Preliminary programs are coded with the letter "P" in the program's NRMP code and include anesthesiology, dermatology, neurology, nuclear medicine, ophthalmology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, diagnostic radiology and radiation-oncology.

Here are the tools you need to learn abut the ERAS application service, the NRMP ranking process, residency program directors perspectives on applicants, and results of the 2016 Match.