Residency in Canada & United States

DISCLAIMER: The information found throughout the links listed below is only intended to serve as a rough guide for students wishing to pursue residency training in North America. While we try our best to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date, we can not guarantee that it is. Please use your own discretion when using the guides below, and make sure to do your own research before making any decisions.   

In order to ensure you have the best chances of securing a residency position in North America, you have to be an excellent student. While there are minimum requirements for applying for these positions, it is important to note that everybody who applies has these requirements met, and so it becomes imperative to distinguish yourself in some way. It then stands to reason that the more distinguished students will be the stronger applicants.

This guide will serve both purposes. Part I will be dedicated to essential requirements in order to be eligible to apply to residency in US and Canada, while Part II will focus on ways in which you can develop academically in order to become a stronger applicant and a more well-rounded doctor.


ACGME – Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

CaRMS – Canadian Residency Matching Service

ECFMG – Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates

ERAS – Electronic Residency Application System

LCME – Liaison Committee on Medical Education

LoR – Letter of Recommendation

MCCQE – Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination

MCQ – Multiple choice questions

NAC OSCE – National Assessment Collaboration Objective Structured Clinical Examination

NRMP – National Resident Matching Program

USMLE – United States Medical Licensing Examination

Terms Defining Applicants:

CMG – Canadian Medical Graduate

CSA – Canadian Studying Abroad

FMG – Foreign Medical Graduate

IMG – International Medical Graduate

Non-US IMG – Non-US Citizen International Medical Graduate

USMG – United States Medical Graduate

US-IMG – United States citizen International Medical Graduate

Clarification: While there is considerable overlap between these terms, many are used differently between countries, and some are official terms while others are only used on forums to differential between graduation status. Some of these terms are used interchangeably, for example FMG and Non-US IMG. However, the former is used predominantly on forums, while the latter is the official denomination on official documents. In the US, IMG is a blanket term that includes both citizens and non-citizens. In Canada, you are not eligible to apply for residency if you are not a citizen or landed immigrant. As such, IMG refers to more mature applicants who moved here with their families, while CSA refers to students who grew up in Canada but went abroad to study.