OB/GYN residency trains medical graduates to become stewards of women’s health and develop their training in obstetrics and gynecology. It is a sort of dual residency, where you’ll learn all about obstetrics, or the treatment and care of pregnant patients, and gynecology, or women’s reproductive health. The duality of an OB/GYN residency is also evident in the type of care provided to patients, from the surgical to more heavily primary care leaning. OB/GYN residency also has slightly different application requirements, for instance, it is one of the few residency programs that require CASPer. In this blog, we’ll explore what OB/GYN residency is, what subspecialties there are, how to match to an OB/GYN residency and more.

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8 min read

List of OB/GYN Residencies in US List of OB/GYN Residencies in Canada What is OB/GYN Residency? OB/GYN Residency: Structure OB/GYN Residency: Fellowships OB/GYN Residency Match Rates Matching to OB/GYN Residency Programs How to Match OB/GYN Residency Programs FAQs

List of OB/GYN Residencies in US

Here’s a list of some of the best OB/GYN residency programs in the US and most popular choices for residents, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).

  • University of Alabama Medical Center Program
  • Rush University Medical Center Program
  • University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix Program
  • Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center of Chicago Program
  • Bridgeport Hospital/Yale University Program
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital Program
  • Creighton University School of Medicine (Phoenix) Program
  • Saint Joseph Hospital Program
  • MedStar Health/Washington Hospital Center Program
  • Ascension Illinois/Saint Joseph (Chicago) Program

List of OB/GYN Residencies in Canada

  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Dalhousie University
  • Université Laval
  • Université de Sherbrooke
  • Université de Montréal
  • McGill University
  • University of Ottawa
  • Queen’s University
  • University of Toronto
  • McMaster University
  • Western University
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Calgary
  • University of British Columbia

What is OB/GYN Residency?

An OB/GYN residency is comprised of two areas of medicine: obstetrics and gynecology. Obstetrics is the medical and surgical management of pregnancy, while gynecology is focused on the medical and surgical treatment of women’s reproductive health.

OB/GYN has a strong primary care lean, with a dash of the surgical, emergency medicine and family medicine residency specialties thrown in. As an OB/GYN, you’ll develop a long-term relationship with your patients, from adolescence and young adulthood and all the way through menopause. You’ll also be treating pregnant patients through their first, second and third trimesters, then through labor and delivery.

OB/GYN is a varied and intriguing medical specialty, and like many specialties, there is a great deal of paths to take and career options available. As an OB/GYN, you can choose to further specialize in one area or the other, or become a general practitioner of both. You might decide to practice in a community setting or private practice, or even go for the academic route and take on a teaching position within the realm of women’s health.

OB/GYN is not one of the most competitive residencies, but it is moderately competitive or “middle of the pack”. It is also one of the average-length residencies, typically taking 4 years of training in the US or 4-5 years of training in Canada.

OB/GYN is also, of course, a very female-dominated specialty since it concerns itself with female reproductive health and pregnancy. However, being female is certainly not a requirement to enter this specialty!

OB/GYN residency can be extremely rewarding, diverse and challenging. You’re able to develop deeper, longer relationships with your patients, but you have some variety in treatments, patients and cases. On the other hand, OB/GYN residency can be extremely physically and emotionally demanding, as you may encounter emotionally difficult situations, work long and unpredictable hours and work with vulnerable patients.

It can certainly be a rewarding place for residents who want to work in labor and delivery or become advocates for women’s health, but unlike common misconceptions, OB/GYN residency is just as demanding and challenging as any other specialty.

OB/GYN Residency: Structure

There are two options for OB/GYN residency: categorical programs, where you receive your 4 years of training all in one program, or transitional, where you complete an internship year separately before matching to an advanced OB/GYN residency program. OB/GYN residency, much like neurosurgery and other surgical specialties, can start with a transitional year residency or preliminary internship where you gain some general residency experience before getting into your OB/GYN training.

Here's what a typical OB/GYN residency will look like over 4 years:

OB/GYN Residency: Fellowships

Once you’ve completed your OB/GYN residency training, you’ll have general training in both the obstetrics side of things and the gynecology side, but you may choose to further focus your training and expertise in one side or the other. Some residents prefer to specialize in obstetrics and work with pregnant women, while others might choose to further their education in gynecological practice and women’s reproductive health.

Here are some of your options for medical fellowship, or further subspecialty training in OB/GYN residency:

  • Gynecologic Oncology
  • Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
  • Maternal-Fetal Medicine
  • Complex Family Planning
  • Maternal Family Medicine
  • Urogynecology
  • Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
  • Menopausal and Geriatric Gynecology

Here are the easiest and hardest residencies to match to!

OB/GYN Residency Match Rates

OB/GYN residency match rates and data have remained fairly consistent, according to data from the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). The most recent data shows relatively good match rates for MD seniors, although the specialty is a bit more competitive for DOs and international medical graduates.

The most recent match rate for MDs in OB/GYN residency was 85.2% and 65.35% for DOs. There were 87 matches in categorical OB/GYN programs for IMGs, and 4 matches in OB/GYN preliminary programs, so OB/GYN is not the most IMG friendly residency, but it is not the most competitive, either.

Preliminary OB/GYN programs are much more competitive on average, since there are only a handful of programs offering maybe 1 or 2 open positions. The match rate for MDs into preliminary OB/GYN programs was only 2.85% and 0% for DOs, with most positions remaining unfilled.

MD Match Rate in OB/GYN Residency

DO Match Rate in OB/GYN Residency

The OB/GYN residency is considered “middle of the pack” when it comes to competitiveness, though there is a slightly higher chance of matching for MD graduates. It’s also worth considering that there are far more categorical OB/GYN programs out there, though they naturally receive more applicants and have a bit more competition.

Matching to OB/GYN Residency Programs

To match to an OB/GYN residency, you’ll need to register for the NRMP Main Match in the US or the CaRMS R-1 Match in Canada. US applicants then complete an ERAS application, whereas Canadian applicants can complete their residency application directly through CaRMS.

As with any residency application, be prepared for OB/GYN residency interview questions and start drafting a killer OB/GYN personal statement! Secure good residency recommendation letters and study up or your USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2 CK. We’ll go over some tips on matching to an OB/GYN residency and how to craft a great application in a moment.

If you’re debating how many residency programs to apply to or whether to apply to categorical or preliminary OB/GYN residencies, keep in mind there are far more categorical positions out there, but the length of the residency training will be the same. If you want to match into a specific OB/GYN specialty, you may have a better chance of getting into a particular program by first matching to a preliminary program, but if you can also pursue a medical fellowship if you’re interested in a subspecialty. When creating your residency rank order list, include both categorical and preliminary programs, but focus on choosing programs that fit you best and will help you achieve your goals, not weighing which are the most and least competitive.

How to Match OB/GYN Residency Programs

Here are some quick tips on how to increase your chances of matching to an OB/GYN residency!

#1 Score well on your USMLE Step 1

Earning competitive scores on your USMLE Step 1, and to a lesser degree your USMLE Step 2 CK, can help you pass the initial screening of OB/GYN residency programs. Your standardized test scores are often used to “weed out” the initial pool of applicants, just like how medical schools use GPA and MCAT scores to assess the suitability of applicants.

#2 Secure strong LOR from OB/GYNs

Your ERAS letter of recommendation (LOR) or CaRMS reference letter is a crucial part of your application. It goes a long way towards securing a spot in an OB/GYN residency if you have a positive recommendation from a practicing OB/GYN that speaks to your clinical ability, your interpersonal and teamwork skills, and your personal qualities. If possible, secure at least one LOR from an OB/GYN (or obstetrician or gynecologist) you have worked with at length. The best LORs come from physicians who know you well and can speak honestly about your work ethic, qualities and experience.

#3 Have a stellar MSPE

Next to a LOR or exam scores, your Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), or MSPR for CaRMS applicants, is one way residency programs can understand your clinical skills and abilities. To get a stellar MSPE, you’ll need to ace your clinical rotations in med school and make a strong, meaningful impact on your evaluators so your MSPE noteworthy characteristics section really shines. While a nice score in your OB/GYN rotations is nice, you will be evaluated on your overall performance, since OB/GYN residency will include rotations in other primary care specialties. Don’t put all your focus into acing your OB/GYN rotation and neglect your others!

#4 Ace your interview

Like any residency, your OB/GYN residency interview is really your opportunity to show a program that you will be a great fit for them. You can learn how to prepare for a residency interview and you can practice answering the most challenging residency interview questions, but the key here is to make a positive impression and explain why you are applying to OB/GYN residency and that you have the tools and qualities to succeed.

Program directors primarily want to know that you’ll be a good fit for their program and that you’ll be a successful resident. In your interview, share relevant examples from your clinical rotations, especially any experience you have working with the type of patients you’d be treating in an OB/GYN residency.

#5 Take the CASPer

Some OB/GYN residency programs do require applicants to take the CASPer test. If you’re not familiar with the CASPer test or didn’t need to take it to get into your medical school, check out some CASPer prep tips and practice with some CASPer questions so you can understand how the test works and what to expect.

Essentially, the CASPer test further assesses your personal qualities and interpersonal skills, which are important to OB/GYN residency program directors. Scoring well on the CASPer test demonstrates that you have the ideal qualities of an OB/GYN and will be a strong fit in a program.

Important note: be sure to check CASPer test dates so you can study for and complete the test well before your residency application is due!


1. What is OB/GYN residency?

OB/GYN residency is a sort of dual residency in obstetrics and gynecology. It deals primarily with women’s reproductive health, including the surgical and medical treatment of pregnant patients and women’s gynecological issues. It is a primary care specialty, with a little bit of unique surgical training in treating pregnant patients.

2. Is OB/GYN residency competitive?

OB/GYN is neither the most competitive or least competitive residency. It is slightly easier for MDs to match into OB/GYN residency, but it is a bit friendlier towards DOs and IMGs, too.

3. How long is an OB/GYN residency?

OB/GYN residency is 4 years in the US, and between 4-5 years in Canada.

4. Can I choose either obstetrics or gynecology for an OB/GYN residency?

Yes. Most OB/GYN residency programs give you a comprehensive training in both obstetrics and gynecology, but you can choose to continue your training with a medical fellowship and subspecialize in one or the other. 

5. How much does an OB/GYN make?

How much you make as an OB/GYN can depend on whether you’re a general practitioner of both, a gynecologist or an obstetrician. In general, obstetricians make around $225,000, gynecologists’ average salary is $310,000, with OB/GYNs making a similar salary to gynecologists.

6. How do I match to an OB/GYN residency?

To match to an OB/GYN residency, the most important thing is to demonstrate strong clinical skills, interpersonal ability and good communication skills. You should also achieve a strong standardized test score, as this is often used to screen applicants. In particular, strong letters of recommendation and a stellar MSPE are a top priority to match into this specialty.

7. Is OB/GYN residency IMG friendly?

OB/GYN is not the most IMG friendly specialty, but it is also not impossible for IMGs to match into this residency. In terms of competitiveness, OB/GYN residency is “middle of the pack”, neither the most competitive nor the least.

8. Is OB/GYN residency female-dominated?

In fact, historically obstetrics and gynecology was a field dominated by men, but in recent years it has become increasingly female-dominated. There is a perception that only women can enter into OB/GYN residency as it deals primarily with women’s health, but this is false. OB/GYN residency is about 85% women, but it is certainly not a requirement to be female to become an OB/GYN and many men do enter the specialty.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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