Frequently Asked Questions

How can I apply to your program?

Application Process

All first year residents are selected solely through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Applications are accepted only through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) .


The NRMP match number is: 1495140C0


Access the Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FREIDA) for more information.

(Identifier : 140-35-11-297 )


In order to apply to the Program, we require all medical school graduates to submit the following:

  • United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) with scores for Step 1 and, if available, Step 2

  • Dean's Letter of recommendation

  • Medical School Transcript

  • Department of Medicine departmental letter of recommendation (e.g. Chair's or Clerkship Director's letter)

  • 2 additional letters of recommendation 

What is the application process for international medical graduates? 

All applications must be submitted through the Electronic Residency Application Service and (ERAS) the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).  At least one letter of recommendation from faculty affiliated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, or an evaluation from a direct clinical experience in the United States or Canada, is required.  Please note: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center does not sponsor H-1 B visas. We accept J-1 visas only.


I've never lived in New York City before! What is it like?

It’s fantastic! There really is something for everyone. Whether you’re into art, theatre, fashion, sports, music, dancing, food, photography, or nature, you can always find something to do. It’s really easy (and cheap!) to get around the city by subway, and the many different neighborhoods all offer unique experiences. It can be intimidating, at first, to face such a vast place, but each neighborhood offers its own community experience, and everyone finds a niche fairly quickly. We have residents who are from all over the U.S (even Hawaii) who now call NYC their home. Best of all, New York is the city that never sleeps, and its bustling streets are always there to energize you! Ying Liu, Former Chief Resident says, “During intern year when I would leave the hospital super tired after a long call day, the lights and the people would instantly wake me up. The energy of the city really did sustain me through some tough parts of residency.”

How can I find roommates?

Once the match list is finalized, the chief residents send out an email with all of the incoming interns’ contact information. An email listserv is also created to help incoming interns correspond with each other and search for apartments together.

Is it possible to raise a family as a resident in NYC?

Yes! Many residents enter residency with families or have children during their time here. The medicine program and graduate medical education office can help to arrange maternity or paternity leave, and residents are always happy to fill in for each other when a new baby arrives. NYC is also a great place to raise a family, as its many parks, museums, concerts, and festivals offer endless entertainment and fun. There is also a daycare center and a nursery school very close to the hospital. 


Will I have any free time during residency?

Yes! Some rotations, such as the ICUs and ward months, are definitely very time-intensive, though others, such as ambulatory medicine and elective, are much less so and generally offer free evenings and weekends. Each schedule is generally designed to alternate these two types.

How do most people get to work?

Most people take the subway, and our hospital is conveniently located right next to 3 different lines: the A, the C, and the 1. Whether you’re coming from uptown or downtown, it’s very easy to get here. The subways are open 24/7 and are very safe. Most people find their commute offers a rare, highly cherished period of peace and quiet. Lacey Robinson, PGY-3, said, “The subway ride is very quick and gives me time to read my Kindle or listen to music.” Plus, if you have to leave the hospital late at night, the program will often reimburse your cab fare (with some limitations).

What are pods?

Residents rotate through all three years of residency in groups, or “pods,” of four. At the beginning of intern year, the pods are created based largely on scheduling preferences; when planning the second and third years, residents are able to choose their own groups. Typically, however, a pod will stay together for the entirety of residency because of the close camaraderie that develops over intern year. The pods offer a fantastic support system, and residents often agree that the experiences they go through with their pod-mates make them friends for life. Anna Krigel, Chief Resident, describes the pod system as “one of the most unique and best parts of the program.” She says, “Having a group of four friends from the beginning of intern year that supports and encourages you like a family is nothing short of incredible.”


I have heard residents at Columbia have a lot of autonomy. What does that mean?

From the very beginning of residency, interns are empowered to make clinical decisions and encouraged to act as the primary contact person for all of their patients. The result is rapid growth and maturation. By the end of the first year, interns are comfortable dealing with almost any common clinical scenario. Of course, residents and attendings are always keeping a close eye on the interns to ensure they are delivering the highest quality, evidence-based care, though corrections to the interns’ plans become less and less frequent as the year goes on. Support is always available, day and night, for any intern or resident who feels unsure about a management decision, intimidated by a procedure, or overwhelmed with work.


What are the benefits of the two attending system?

The two-attending system refers to the presence of two different attendings (usually two specialists from different fields or one specialist and one generalist) on teaching rounds. The purpose of this structure is to offer the residents two unique perspectives on each patient and to broaden the knowledge, skills, experience, and expertise brought to each case discussion. Adam Faye, Former Chief Resident, described it this way: “It’s great to have two viewpoints on the same case. It reinstates that medicine is not just a science with a right and wrong answer, and that different people do different things in the same situation.” Another major benefit of the two-attending system is that it doubles the exposure of residents to faculty, increasing opportunities for collaboration.


How much elective time will I have? What do residents usually do in elective?

Interns have 4 weeks of elective time; junior residents have 8 weeks; and senior residents have 10 weeks. The vast majority of residents choose to work on research or a scholarly project with a faculty member. Others participate in clinical rotations. There are also international rotations, media electives, and public-health projects available. The chief residents can help you find and plan a project.


Are meals provided?

Breakfast (with coffee!) is provided on weekdays during morning report. Lunch is also provided on weekdays during noon conference. We also have a complimentary meal cards that we can use in the cafeteria everyday at any time!


I don't speak any Spanish. Is that going to be a problem?

Not at all. Although we do serve a largely Spanish-speaking local community, most of the residents are not fluent (or even close) in Spanish. Interpreters are always available in the clinics and emergency room, and they are only a phone call away on the wards. We also have 24/7 access to phone interpreters for nearly any language. Stefanie Reiff, Former resident , described her experience as follows: “I was very concerned about this coming in and have found it is not an issue. My Spanish skills are improving, and it is very easy to use interpretive services at any time throughout the day. I have still been able to connect with patients and care for them despite the language barrier.”

Will I have opportunities to moonlight?

Yes, there are multiple moonlighting opportunities on the malignant hematology/BMT units, the hospitalist services, and at the Allen hospital. To be approved for moonlighting, residents need to have completed Step 3 and have a valid NY State Medical License.

From Our Residents

Residency at Columbia has given me the opportunity to be part of a system that welcomes diversity and quickly makes you feel at home. It has certainly been a privilege to work in a setting that fosters underserved communities and mediates exposure to treat a wide array of disease in a challenging learning environment driven towards growth as well-rounded physicians while providing high quality patient care.

- Dennis De León, MD 


  University of Puerto Rico 

National Resident Matching Program (NRMP)

NRMP Match Number: 


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