Skip to main content

Couples in the Match

Any two applicants can participate in the NRMP Main Match as a couple. The NRMP Couples Match allows the two applicants to link their rank order lists with the goal of obtaining residency positions in the same geographic area.

Participating in the residency application process as a couple, regardless of a formal Couples Match, adds additional complexities and considerations for both partners. It is important to communicate your intentions for a couples match early in the residency advising process. Let your OSA advisor know if you are considering a couples match, even if your partner is at another institution. Included below are several tips and strategies to consider. 

The Application

Each applicant submits their own ERAS application in their chosen specialty and interviews independently. When completing the ERAS application, there is a field to indicate that you are participating in a Couples Match where you can enter your partner’s name and specialty.

The Match

If you and your partner are both applying to residency programs in specialties that participate in the Main NRMP Match, you have the option to participate as a couple.  When registering for the NRMP match, both partners will link their participation and pay an additional Couple’s Fee. 

It is important to understand the specifics of the Couples Match before you get started. The NRMP has excellent informational resources to explain the Couples Match Process (see links below).  When two applicants participate as a couple, their rank order lists form pairs of program choices that are considered by the matching algorithm. A couple will be matched to the most preferred pair of programs where each partner has been offered a position.  Applicants have the option of entering a “No Match” code, where one partner may match at program on their list corresponding to the other partners “no match”.  This option should be used as last resort and would be at the bottom of the list. 

We welcome couples to participate in Match Day as a couple.  If your partner is at another medical school and would like to attend our Match Day celebration with you, we can help coordinate that. Contact your OSA Advisor for more information.

General Tips

  • Alert your OSA and Specialty Advisors early in the application process that you are consider residency applications as a couple – even if your partner is at another medical school and regardless of whether or not you are formally couples matching.
  • Planning and communication are key throughout the process
  • Seek advice from prior couples in the match – OSA can help make a connection if possible.
  • Be informed about the process – see resources below
  • We recommend diversifying your program list; couples often find they need to or want to apply to more programs than the average applicant to give both partners the opportunities they are looking for to find the right program fit.
  • Communication between both partners is essential. Start the process by having honest conversations with each other regarding priorities and preferences.  Be sure to discuss whether you would consider matching in separate locations.
  • Consider creating your application programs lists separately and reviewing together before arriving a final list.
  • Coordinate program signals and geographic preferences if possible.
  • Communicate with programs throughout the application cycle, including letting programs know your plan to match as part of a couples match and providing updates throughout the cycle regarding interview offers.

External Resources

NRMP Couples in the Match
AAMC Navigating the Main Residency Match as a Couple  
AMA Perfecting it as a pair: The do’s and don’ts of the Couples Match