Fellowship Match Outcomes in the U.S. From 2010 to 2017: Analysis of San Francisco Match

Document Type



PURPOSE: To describe applicant characteristics and outcomes associated with the ophthalmology fellowship match. DESIGN: Retrospective case-control study. METHODS: This study took place in San Francisco and matched data for ophthalmology fellowship applicants in the USA. The study population was registrants for the 2010-2017 ophthalmology fellowship match cycles. The match rate took place during the 8-year study period. Applicant characteristics were stratified by match status and factors associated with matching to ophthalmology fellowship positions. RESULTS: Between 2010 and 2017, most applicants (2,558/3,471; 73.7%) were matched into ophthalmology fellowship programs. No difference over time in the proportion of applicants that matched for fellowship was identified (P = .41). On average, ophthalmology residents who were matched into fellowships had higher step 1 (difference: 9; 99% confidence interval [CI]: 6.8-10.9; P < .001), step 2 (difference: 9.5; 99% CI: 7-12; P < .001), and step 3 (difference: 7.4; 99% CI: 5-9.7; P <.001) scores than those who did not match. Applicants who matched also had a greater number of application distributions (difference: 9.6; 99% CI: 7.9-11.2; P < .001), and ranked programs on the match list (difference: 6.2; 99% CI: 5.8-6.7; P < .001). Among applicants who matched, 15% matched at the same institute, 29% matched in the same state, and 45% matched in the same region. On multivariable analysis, factors associated with an increased likelihood of matching into an ophthalmology fellowship program included graduates from the US versus graduates from non-US residency programs (odds ratio [OR]: 2.09; 99% CI: 1.27-3.44; P <.001), increasing percentage of applications ranked (number of ranked programs and/or number of applications distributed) (OR: 1.02; 99% CI: 1.02-1.03; P < .001) as well as having ranked more programs (OR: 1.24; 99% CI: 1.17-1.31; P < .001). Medical graduate status outside of the US (OR: 0.58; 99% CI: 0.36-0.93; P < .001) was associated with decreased odds of matching for fellowship. CONCLUSIONS: From 2010 to 2017, approximately three-quarters of residents applying for an ophthalmology fellowship position matched. Factors associated with increased likelihood of matching included the applicant's graduating from a U.S. residency, graduating from a U.S. medical school, ranking more programs, and having a higher percentage of applications ranked (number of programs ranked by applicant and/or number of applications distributed). The information gained from this study may help applicants as they consider applying to fellowship programs.

Medical Subject Headings

Case-Control Studies; Databases, Factual; Education, Medical, Graduate (statistics & numerical data); Fellowships and Scholarships (statistics & numerical data); Female; Humans; Internship and Residency (statistics & numerical data); Male; Ophthalmology (education); Retrospective Studies; San Francisco; School Admission Criteria

Publication Date


Publication Title

American journal of ophthalmology





First Page


Last Page


PubMed ID


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)