Residency Programs

Successful completion of residency at a hospital in the United States is both a rewarding professional accomplishment and necessary for board certification in the international medical graduate’s chosen specialty. A United States board-certified physician is exceptionally qualified and positioned for leadership in medical practice in his or her home country.

Tufts University School of Medicine’s (TUSM) affiliated and training hospitals offer a number of resident positions in various specialties that are open to sponsored international candidates. You may refer to this program availability list to discover the residency specialties currently offered by each hospital.

Apart from a very few exceptionally qualified candidates – highly credentialed physicians with considerable clinical experience, published papers and high scores on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) – the vast majority first spend a year as a research scholar at a TUSM training hospital (or earn a Tufts advanced degree).

First-year residency programs: Virtually all international residency candidates will be applying for PGY 1 (first-year, pre-residency internships), which prepare them for the PGY2 (second-year) start of residency in their specialty field. There are three types of PGY 1 programs that are potentially available at TUSM training hospitals:
  • Categorical: In the predetermined clinical specialty to be pursued for the duration of the three to seven-year residency, and for which board certification will be sought: for example, Medicine, Surgery, Anesthesiology, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, etc.
  • Preliminary: Typically in Medicine or Surgery, in preparation for subsequently chosen PGY 2 residency in specialties such as Anesthesia, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine – or continued residency in Medicine or Surgery.
  • Transitional: Traditional rotating internships through major medical specialties, also usually in preparation for subsequently chosen PGY 2 residency in a clinical specialty, such as Radiology.

Residency required qualifications:
The following sponsorship, credentials and examination results are required of international residency candidates.

  • Sponsorship, and a financial guarantee, from a TUSM-affiliated international sponsor organization.
  • An MD or equivalent degree from an accredited medical school (a diploma and school transcripts are required).
  • Acceptable United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) results. Minimum scores are as follows: Step 1, 215; Step 2-CK, 215; Step 2-CS, Pass. You also must indicate how many attempts were necessary to pass the examinations. If you have not completed USMLE requirements, you will not be considered for residency positions. (More on USMLE requirements)
  • While not required, it is desirable that candidates submit a copy of the report indicating they have scored at least 95 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). (More information on TOEFL)
  • Any additional hospital or specialty-specific requirements. Applicants should check individual program requirements on the web site of their chosen hospital(s). 

How to get started:
You must get an ID number from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), then log in and register for matching at the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) web site.

You also must be certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates ECFMG), which administers the required United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and reports candidates’ scores to residency program directors. USMLE requirements must be completed, though ECFMG certification may still be in progress, at the time of application.

The vast majority of international candidates will start the resident match process at the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), which handles applications for most of the residency training programs that participate in the NRMP match. You must register with both NRMP and ERAS to participate in the services of each.

You can learn more about how to become a TUSM-affiliated resident in the Application Process section of the Office of International Affairs' Web site.