Medical Specialty

How Competitive is a Neurology Residency? Updated for 2023

If you want a career as a neurologist, here is how competitive the medical specialty is to match into a neurology residency. Neurology is the branch of medicine that involves the treatment of disease or impaired function of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscles, and autonomic nervous system, as well as the blood vessels that relate to these structures.

Statistics on the Neurology Match

In 2022, neurology had a total of 1249 applicants and 1014 spots. This equates to 1.23 applicants per position. Of the 562 U.S. MD seniors who applied, 13 did not match.

Total Positions Total Number of Applicants Number of Applicants per Position
1014 1249 1.23

Osteopathic (DO) Students Matching into Neurology

In 2022, the total number of DO Senior Applicants was 163. Of those, 150 matched, for a 92.02% match percentage. This makes neurology a Very Friendly field for osteopathic students.

Total DO Applicants Matched DO Applicants DO Match Percentage
163 150 92.02%

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) Matching into Neurology

Because there are only 0.55 U.S. MD applicants per 1 program spot, neurology is considered to be Very Friendly for IMGs students.

Honors, Research and Awards for Neurology Residency Candidates

The average matched U.S. applicant had 7.6 volunteer experiences and 3.1 work experiences. They had 3.6 research experiences and 7.2 abstracts, presentations and publications. That makes this specialty on where the number of publications needed is Medium.

Research Experiences Abstracts, Presentations and Publications Work Experiences Volunteer Experiences
3.6 7.2 3.1 7.6

Average Step 1 and Step 2 Scores for Neurology

The mean U.S. Step 1 score for matched medical students in neurology was 233. The mean USMLE Step 2 CK score was 246.

Overall Competitiveness of Neurology Residency and Chances of Matching

The overall competitiveness level of neurology is Low for a U.S. senior. With a Step 1 score of 200, the probability of matching is 90%. With a Step 1 score of >240, the probability is 98%.

How long is a residency in neurology? What is the lifestyle like for a neurology resident?

Compared to other residencies, neurology has a Medium training length. As far as lifestyle, neurologists generally have a Medium stress lifestyle. Of course, lifestyle is very subjective and if you love what you do, it does not matter! And if you hate what you do, it can still be rough no matter what. In medicine, you should find the specialty that makes you enjoy your everyday interactions with patients, staff and colleagues.

What is the average salary for a neurologist?

The average salary post-graduation from a neurology residency is $280,000, provided one does not go on to sub-specialty training which can change the salary substantially. Academic versus private practice as well as location also play a large role in physician compensation.

What are fellowships one can do from a neurology residency?

Following the successful completion of general neurology residency, some physicians may choose to continue their graduate medical education with subspecialty training. Board-certified subspecialists complete additional training and qualifying examinations beyond those required for board certification in neurology. Currently, the  American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) certifies the following fellowships:

What are the best neurology residencies in the country?

The best residency for neurology, or any specialty, is very driven by personal preference and situation. How close you are to family, loved ones, the type of training environment, the opportunities available are all things to take into consideration above and beyond name recognition of a program. However, there are some highly regarded names in the world of neurology including:

    • University of California San Francisco
    • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore)
    • New York Presbyterian Hospital/ Weill Cornell Medicine Neurology
    • Barrow Neurological Institute/St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
    • UPMC Medical Education (Pittsburgh)
    • Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science (Rochester, Minnesota)
    • Washington University / Barnes-Jewish Hospital / SLCH Consortium (St. Louis)
    • Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)
    • University of Washington (Seattle)
    • Emory University School of Medicine (Atlanta)

Much of the data above is available from the AAMC Charting the Outcomes report.

Explore Other Specialties:

SpecialtyAverage Step 1 Score (Matched)Average Step 2 Score (Matched)
Child Neurology233246
Diagnostic Radiology241249
Emergency Medicine233247
Family Medicine221238
General Surgery237249
Internal Medicine235248
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics236250
Interventional Radiology247255
Neurological Surgery248252
Obstetrics and Gynecology232248
Orthopaedic Surgery248255
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation228241
Plastic Surgery249256
Radiation Oncology243250
Vascular Surgery239247


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