The Medical Physics Matching Program (the "MedPhys Match") provides an orderly process to help applicants obtain positions in medical physics residency programs of their choice, and to help programs obtain applicants of their choice. Similar matching programs are in use in many other health professions, including medicine, dentistry, psychology, pharmacy, optometry and others.
The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Programs (SDAMPP) have endorsed and are sponsoring the MedPhys Match. The administration and conduct of the MedPhys Match is carried out by National Matching Services Inc. (NMS), on behalf of AAPM and SDAMPP.
How It Works
1. Apply to and Interview with Programs
With the MedPhys Match, applicants must still apply to programs they are interested in, and applicants and programs interview and evaluate each other independently of the MedPhys Match. Many programs use the MP-RAP (Medical Physics Residency Application Program) system provided by AAPM, which is a separate service from the MedPhys Match.
However, no offers are made by programs during the interview period. Applicants and programs can evaluate each other fully before the programs must decide on their preferences for applicants, and before applicants must decide on their preferences for programs.
2. Submit Your Rank Order List of Preferred Placements
After all interviews are completed, each applicant submits a Rank Order List on which the applicant lists the programs they desire, in numerical order of preference (first choice, second choice, etc.).
Similarly, each program submits a Rank Order List on which the program lists the desirable applicants for that program, in order of preference. Each program also indicates the number of positions available in the program.
Residencies offering more than one program can rank the same applicant on different Rank Order Lists, and assign a different preference ranking to the applicant on each program's list, if desired.
3. The Matching Algorithm is Run
The MedPhys Match then places individuals into positions based entirely on the preferences stated in the Rank Order Lists.
4. Get Your Result
The result of the MedPhys Match is that each applicant is placed with the most preferred program on the applicant's Rank Order List that ranks the applicant and does not fill all its positions with more preferred applicants. Similarly, each program is matched with the most preferred applicants on its list, up to the number of positions available, who rank the program and who do not receive positions at programs they prefer.
Applicants and programs do not receive information about the rankings submitted by other applicants and programs. Each applicant is given only the final result the applicant obtains in the MedPhys Match. Each program is provided only with the names of the applicants that it obtains in the MedPhys Match, as well as the results of the MedPhys Match for the other applicants ranked by that program.
5. Post Match Process
It is possible that all of a particular program's positions will not be filled in the MedPhys Match, and that some applicants will be left unmatched. When the results of the MedPhys Match are released, information regarding positions that remain available is provided to applicants. Similarly, information regarding unmatched applicants is provided to programs with unfilled positions. These unmatched applicants and programs with positions available are free to contact each other and to negotiate directly with each other, independently of the MedPhys Match, to fill available positions.
Advantages of the Match
Since all offers, acceptances, rejections and final placements occur simultaneously, the MedPhys Match is an effective and fair means of implementing a standardized acceptance date among MedPhys Match participants. It allows participating programs and applicants to evaluate each other fully before determining preferences, thus alleviating the pressures to make premature decisions based on incomplete information. Furthermore, for participants in the MedPhys Match, it alleviates many common adverse situations from the recruitment process, such as applicants hoarding multiple offers from participating programs, and applicants or programs reneging on a prior acceptance in order to accept a more preferred program or applicant that has subsequently become available. Also, a program can be assured that it will not be matched with more applicants than it has available positions.
In the MedPhys Match, decisions by applicants and programs regarding rankings can be based on the applicants' and programs' true preferences for each other, without the need to speculate on the likelihood of subsequent offers being made or accepted. Both applicants and programs should list choices in order of preference, without consideration for how they will be ranked by the other party.