Applying to Residency

Residency Road Map

First and Second Year

Students with questions about different medical specialties and plans for their careers are encouraged to reach out to advisers designated by each department, academic staff in Office of Student and Academic Affairs (OSAA) and faculty in their respective program.

Third Year

Fall-Winter Intersession: Session to introduce residency application process, CV, personal statement, MSPE (“Dean’s Letter”) discussion

Spring: Meet with Office of Student and Academic Affairs Deans to review career plans, noteworthy characteristics for MSPE

Summer: Class meetings to review residency application and Match processes

Fourth Year

Fall: Complete and submit ERAS application. Residency interviews begin (typically run from October-January)

Winter: Residency program interviews continue. Rank list due in February

Spring: Match Day mid-March

Most students will be applying to residency via the Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS).

The Office of Student and Academic Affairs provides support to students during their application to residency programs. An ERAS token will be issued to you early in your fourth year of medical school that will allow you to gain access to the ERAS.

ERAS Application Components

Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

The MSPE, also known as a dean's letter, will be an important part of your application and will be discussed with you during spring of your third year. A meeting between you and one of the Student and Academic Affairs deans will be scheduled during the spring of your third year. There will also be time to review your MSPE before it is submitted during your fourth year (fall semester).

Noteworthy Characteristics in MSPE

Contained within the MSPE, a maximum of three characteristics highlighting your most salient noteworthy characteristics is required. This section should be presented as a bulleted list. Each characteristic should be described in 2 sentences or less. Information about any significant challenges or hardships encountered by you during medical school may be included.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A residency CV is an important document that is used to highlight your experience and training in a succinct, easy to understand format. You will use the information in your CV to fill out either the ERAS residency application or other matching applications. The main goal of a residency CV is to showcase your most significant academic and extracurricular achievements, leaving a lasting, positive, first impression to those who review it. Essentially, your CV should convince residency directors that you are exactly what they are looking for and are a strong match for their residency program. Not only is having an up-to-date CV important for applying to residency and crafting your personal statement, but it's also important for filling out rotation applications and when securing letters of recommendation from physicians.

Letter of Recommendation

You need at least three letters of recommendation per residency, and you can submit up to four per residency. You can check school-specific requirements on the Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FREIDA).

Personal Statement

The residency personal statement should include and reflect:

  • What draws you to the specialty
  • The skills or qualities that will help you succeed during the residency and as a practicing physician
  • Your long-term plans, what you hope to accomplish, your preferred setting
  • Personal attributes that make you well-suited to the specialty and training
  • What attracts you to a particular program (if you’re applying for a specific program outside of the national matching system or if you customize a personal statement within National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).

Ultimately, the combination of these elements will give program directors a sense of the kind of colleague you would be and how you would fit into their program.

What is the difference between ERAS vs NRMP?

ERAS is the system through which you will submit all of your residency application materials, while the NRMP is the organization that facilitates the actual matching process, once all of your documents have been submitted to your programs of interest.

Non-ERAS Residency Application

Students applying to Opthalmology, Plastic Surgery or the military match should contact/notify the Office of Student and Academic Affairs for questions/guidance and if you require components of your education record for Plastic Surgery Common Application (PSCA), San Francisco Residency and Fellowship Match Services (SF Match) or military match.



If you have any questions please contact: