Residency vs. Internship

The question “how long is residency” is one that seems to confuse almost everyone. Also, the idea of “what is a medical internship” is confusing as well. That’s because a medical internship is a completely different animal than a typical internship, say in business, public relations or social work.

how long is residency

Here’s the quick answer to both questions:

What is an Internship?

The first year of a medical residency is called an internship. Essentially, a first year resident is completing their medical internship.

How long is a residency?

Medical residencies last from 3-7 years in total. Most medical residencies are four years long, with surgical residencies being five years long. A neurosurgery residency is the longest, at seven years. Here’s a list of different  residencies and their length:

Emergency Medicine 3-4 years
Family Practice 3 years
Internal Medicine 3 years
Pediatrics 3 years
Obstetrics-Gynecology 4 years
Pathology 4 years
Psychiatry 4 years
General Surgery 5 years
Neurosurgery 7 years
Orthopedic Surgery 5 years (includes 1 year of general surgery)
Otolaryngology 5 years
Urology 5 years (includes 1 year of general surgery)
Plastic Surgery 6 years
Anesthesiology 3 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Dermatology 3 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Neurology 3 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Ophthalmology 3 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Physical Medicine 3-4 years
Diagnostic Radiology 4 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Radiation Oncology 4 years plus PGY-1 Transitional/Preliminary
Transitional/Preliminary 1 year

Thanks for checking out our post about “how long is a residency” and “what is an internship”! We hope it was helpful!

If you have questions about anything pre-med, post below, and we’ll get back to you!

Check out more of our pre-med posts below:

How do I go about choosing a medical specialty?

Will attending a top-tier medical school help me get a top-tier residency match?

Does “failure to match” on Match Day mean I’m out of luck for a residency this year?