DR – Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is/was your program’s response to COVID-19, and how do you protect your residents and Faculty?
  • A: In the early days with the lack of clarity and need for emergency response, we transitioned our residents to a work-from-home reading elective. While our technological limitations did not allow for formal clinical duties (reading cases, dictating, etc.) during this period we did have a greatly increased number of resident conferences and educational opportunities. We also involved our residents in active triaging of elective imaging exams and procedures to help keep our patients safe. As case numbers begin to come down, we transitioned back to in-hospital rotations with modified reading rooms to allow for better social distancing. We also made heavy use of virtual conferencing technology (Microsoft Teams) to allow for screen sharing and virtual readouts to help keep everyone safe while preserving the personal interaction and teaching we’ve come to enjoy.

Q: How many positions does your program offer?
  • A: Our total annual class size is 11 residents; we offer 9 positions in the DR Residency Program and 2 positions in the IR Residency Program.

Q: How many applications do you receive?
  • A: Historically, we receive approximately 800+ applications each year.

Q: When do you stop considering applications?
  • A: November 1st.

Q: What is your application review process like?
  • A: We begin to review applications as soon as ERAS opens each year. The Residency Program Evaluation Committee consists of numerous attending radiologists and our chief residents. Applications are divided among committee members, reviewed, and a recommendation is made to the Program Director and Associate Program Director who also review the applications. The committee considers all components of the application, the applicant’s experiences, and the applicant’s character. We are committed to fostering inclusiveness and diversity in our residency program.

Q: Are COMLEX scores considered?
  • A: Yes, COMLEX scores will be considered in addition to USMLE scores.

Q: Do you have a minimum USMLE Step I score?
  • A: No. We consider each candidate based on his/her entire application. While USMLE scores are an important part of the application, interviews are not granted or declined based on board scores alone.

Q: Is the USMLE Step II examination required to apply to your program?
  • A: No. However, the USMLE Step II score will be considered if available.

Q: How many letters of recommendation are required?
  • A: Three. A fourth letter can be uploaded through ERAS but is not required. Recommendation letters sent outside of ERAS cannot be considered.

Q: Do you need to receive all of my recommendation letters before reviewing my application?
  • A: No. We can begin to review your application before all recommendation letters are received. Outstanding applicants may be invited for interview before his/her application is complete.

Q: I’m considering applying to your program. Can you review my application materials and let me know if I’m competitive?
  • A: No. We are not able to review application materials outside of ERAS. We encourage applicants to discuss their applications with advisory personnel at their respective medical schools or current institutions prior to applying.

Q: I graduated from medical school several years ago. Can I still apply to your program?
  • A: Yes. While the large majority of our residents enter graduate medical training immediately after medical school, we do not specify a maximum length of time after which a candidate will not be considered. The applicant’s activities and experiences since medical school will be evaluated during the application review process.

Q: Do you consider international medical graduates?
  • A: Yes. We have international medical graduates in our program currently. Applications from international medical graduates undergo the same review process as students from schools in the U.S. All international graduates must hold a current and valid ECFMG certificate in order for their application to be considered. The clinical skills assessment and English qualifying examination must also be current and valid.

Q: For international medical graduates, what types of visa are available?
  • A: The preferred visa for residency training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is the J-1 visa sponsored through the ECFMG. H1B visas may be considered in some circumstances.

Q: I’m an international medical graduate. Is experience in the U.S. required before I apply to your program?
  • A: No. However, most of the international graduates who have matriculated in our program have completed some type of clinical, research, or educational experience in the U.S.

Q: What if I need to cancel or re-schedule my interview?
  • A: As a professional courtesy, we ask that you inform us of cancellation as soon as possible so that the interview appointment can be given to an applicant on our waiting list. If you need to reschedule an interview, please contact our coordinator, Trish Martino, (martinot@upmc.edu).

Q: Can I interview on a date other than the ones you are offering this year?
  • A: No. Due to the scheduling process and faculty availability, we are not able to change or expand our interview dates. We reserve the right to cancel and/or reschedule interview dates due to severe weather, natural disaster, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Q: After my interview, will a ‘second-look’ visit improve my chances of matching at your program?
  • A: No. The occurrence or absence of a ‘second-look’ visit will not influence your standing on our ranking list in any way. A second-look visit is very uncommon, but can be arranged if the applicant feels that it is critical to his/her decision making process.

Q: I was not invited for an interview. Can you tell me what’s wrong with my application?
  • A: No. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we are not able to discuss or provide feedback on individual applications. Our committee strives to select a diverse, high-caliber group of applicants who are committed to the specialty of radiology, and who are enthusiastic about training in our program.

Q: I was not invited for an interview. Can you re-consider your decision?
  • A: In most cases, the decision to interview a candidate is final. However, the committee recognizes that some candidates may have special circumstances for wanting to match specifically to our program. In such cases, we may consider reviewing an application if the candidate is able to communicate compelling information to our program.

Q: Do you offer Early Specialization in Interventional Radiology (ESIR) spots?
  • A: Yes, we offer 3 ESIR spots per DR class.

Q: Will your program consider special scheduling requests when assigning call and weekend shifts?
  • A: Yes, we strive to accommodate the needs of all of our residents. We will hold discussions with each individual to try to meet his/her needs while balancing our educational/clinical missions and attempting to avoid undue burden placed on others. The granting of special accommodations is multifactorial and depends on our program’s ability to provide the highest level of patient care, the number of residents who are eligible for call/weekend responsibilities, and the number and nature of existing scheduling requests.

Q: Who should I contact if I have an additional question?
  • A: Please send an email to the Program Coordinator, Trish Martino (martinot@upmc.edu).