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March Madness, medical style: U-M Medical School students find out their futures

Suspense, excitement mark annual Match Day

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — While most of America worries about matchups on the basketball court, a different kind of match happened today at the U-M Medical School.

And for the 172 medical students involved, those who love them, and those who taught them, it was just as exciting as Selection Sunday.

At exactly noon, those students found out where they’ll go for their next round of training, after they graduate in exactly two months.

With a flurry of opening envelopes, they learned which residency program they’ve “matched” to, for three to seven years of training to learn a particular specialty and prepare to practice on their own.

See images from Match Day 2015

More than 500 friends, family and professors joined the students in celebrating the annual Match Day ritual. The U-M students’ suspense was shared by thousands of students like them nationwide, nearly all of whom learned their residency matches at the same time.

Each graduating medical student around the country enters the matching process by ranking the locations where they’d most like to train for their chose specialty.  The residency programs rank the students they’d most like to take. Then, an elaborate computer-based system puts it all together to make the best matches.

Match map

58 of 2015 graduates are staying in Michigan

At the U-M Match Day celebration, some students chose to open their envelopes on stage and share their moment of surprise with the entire class. All of them had a chance to announce their destination, and place a pin on a map of the U.S.

The event came one week after the U-M Medical School was ranked 10th among U.S. research-oriented medical schools and 5th for primary care schools by U.S. News & World Report. U-M also tied for fourth in the estimation of residency directors – senior doctors at teaching hospitals nationwide who interview and select graduating medical students to enter their programs.

Here are some highlights of this year’s match:

  • Over 46 percent of U-M’s graduates will enter a primary care field, to serve a growing need for internists, pediatricians, family practitioners, obstetrician/ gynecologists and dual specialists in internal medicine and pediatrics. Some of these may choose to specialize within these fields later on.


  • About 33 percent will stay in the state of Michigan for residency, in hospitals in Ann Arbor, the metro Detroit area, Lansing and Grand Rapids. Those heading out of state are most likely to be going to California, New York, Pennsylvania or Illinois.


  • 28 students this year will graduate with both a medical degree from U-M and an advanced degree in another field from a top-ranked graduate program at U-M or elsewhere, such as the Medical School’s biomedical Ph.D. program, Dentistry, Public Health, Clinical Research, Business or Public Policy. 


  • 23.6 percent of this year’s class matched to residency slots at the U-M Health System. They were selected from among thousands of applicants. Nearly 1,200 doctors-in-training in 105 residency and fellowship programs currently train at U-M’s hospitals and clinics. Those programs are highly regarded by doctors around the country – in a recent ranking compiled by Doximity, 12 U-M residency programs ranked in the top 10 nationally. U-M also ranked high in the other 10 specialties Doximity evaluated.


  • In all, 95.6 percent of U-M medical graduates matched to one of the specialty residency programs they had applied to.


For more about Match Day this year and in past years at U-M, see

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