When do I choose a specialty and apply for residency training?
Exploring your future career as a physician begins early in med school, with an ongoing examination of your interests and goals in the practice of medicine along with an exploration of the many specialty options available. Your third-year rotations will give you an opportunity to experience a number of specialties and determine how your interests, values, and skills fit with those specialties. There are also extracurricular opportunities for exploring specialties, such as specialty interest groups and student sections of medical specialty societies.
By the end of the third year, most students have chosen a specialty area (e.g. primary care, surgical care) or patient population (i.e., adults, children, or both) and begin preparing to apply for residency training to support that career direction. If you’re not confident in a career direction, you may choose to take time to complete research, complete a dual degree (e.g., MD-MPH), gain further clinical experience, or otherwise spend time exploring your career options prior to choosing your specialty and applying for residency.