Exterior sign of UAMS Family Medical Center


The pandemic has changed many processes in the application cycle for the coming year. The information you see below was written pre-pandemic. We will make adjustments as necessary (e.g., virtual interviews, delayed test scores, and more). Our goal is to make this year’s interview season as stress-free and efficient as possible, despite many challenges.


Why should I apply to your program?

We’re glad you asked! Go to our Why Choose Us page for the answer.

How do I apply to your program?

All applicants for a PGY-1 position in the Family Medicine residency program must apply through ERAS and provide the following:

  • Official transcript from the medical school
  • Dean’s letter
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Test scores (USMLE or COMLEX; we prefer that you have passed through Step 2 or Level 2, plus CS or PE by the time of your application)
  • ECFMG certificate, if an international medical school graduate

What is the difference between an opposed and an unopposed program?

Our program is located in a university setting along with residents from other programs. When you go on a pediatrics rotation, for example, you will be trained by peds faculty with peds residents. While some may consider this to be a challenge, we believe it is an outstanding opportunity to learn from experts in the field, to collaborate with your future colleagues, and to develop your ability to forge a place for yourself on an interprofessional, multidisciplinary team — skills that will serve you well throughout your career.

Will I be allowed to teach medical students?

Absolutely, and medical students will evaluate your teaching skills throughout your time in the program.  At the graduation ceremony each June, we present a teaching award to the graduating resident with the strongest evaluations by medical students.

What are the program’s eligibility requirements?

An applicant must be able to carry out the duties as required of the residency training program.

An applicant must meet one of the following qualifications:

  • A graduate of a medical school in the United States or Canada accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)
  • A graduate of a college of osteopathic medicine in the U.S. or Canada accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
  • A graduate of a medical school outside the U.S. who has completed a Fifth Pathway program provided by an LCME-accredited medical school
  • A graduate who holds a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in a U.S. licensing jurisdiction, or
  • A graduate of a medical school outside the U.S. or Canada with all of the following qualifications:
    • A certified transcript from the medical school of training with a verifiable contact person from that school
    • Confirmation of M.D. or D.O. or equivalent degree from that medical school
    • A copy of USMLE or COMLEX notification of Step 1 and 2 scores (or Level 1 and 2) with a grade of passing
    • A current valid certificate from the Education Committee for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
    • The ability to reside continuously in the U.S. for the length of training.

Preference is given to applicants who have graduated from medical school within the last 4 years, or have been in the practice of medicine within the last 3 years.

Applicants must demonstrate a high level of proficiency in speaking, understanding, reading, and writing in English, both on medical and conversational topics.

Do you sponsor visas?

We sponsor H1 and J1 visas.

Do you welcome D.O. graduates?


What are your selection criteria?

We review and confirm eligibility requirements.

We give preference to those having zero failures on USMLE Step 1, Step 2, and Clinical Skills, or COMLEX Level 1, Level 2, and Performance Evaluation — but we look at your entire application in a holistic fashion as outlined below. We do not have minimum test scores, and we will not eliminate an applicant solely on the basis of a test score.

We give careful consideration to the following:

  • Overall performance in medical school
  • Commitment to ideals of Family Medicine
  • Recent clinical training or experience
  • Demonstrated ability to choose goals and to complete the tasks necessary to achieve those goals
  • Maturity and emotional stability
  • Communication skills and professionalism
  • Performance on standardized medical tests

May I arrange for a visit to see what your program looks like? May I drop in to try to speak with someone?

Sorry, due to the large number of applications we don’t offer informal visit opportunities.  Please apply through ERAS.  If you are chosen for an interview, we will let you know.

May I send you a copy of my CV?

ERAS is our sole source for reviewing applications. Please do *not* mail, email, fax, or drop off documents. We will not review anything outside of ERAS.

Do you offer shadowing or volunteer opportunities, observerships, externships, or research positions for applicants who are *not* current medical students?

No. We do have a research division within the department, but their job availability is completely independent of the residency program. See below for “away rotation” opportunities for current medical students.

Do you offer “away rotations” for current medical students?

Yes! You must apply through VSAS. There are rules and regulations, of course. Get details. (Note that this is for current medical students only.)

What are my chances of being accepted into your residency program?

Each year, we typically have more than 2,000 applicants for only 6 positions. The competition is intense.  We do, however, review every application on an individual basis.  Additionally, we review your application as a whole, considering all your strengths and experiences.

In order to be considered, you must apply through ERAS. Please do not mail, email, drop off, or fax additional documents to us — everything must be submitted via ERAS.

Please understand that we cannot give you advice about whether or not you should apply to the program, or provide analysis of your likelihood of being accepted.  The only way to be considered is to apply — in that way, we can make an informed decision based on all of your credentials.

We also have a limited number of spaces for personal interviews.  Bear with us patiently as we need time to examine hundreds of applications throughout the season.

What is your interviewing schedule?

We usually begin telephone interviews in September of each year. Both faculty members and current residents serve as telephone interviewers. Personal interviews usually begin in October and run through January. Again, we ask for your patience as it takes time to evaluate hundreds of applications.  Only a small percentage of applicants will be invited for personal interviews.

What can I do to make my application more competitive?

We can’t speak for every program, of course, but here are some things we consider.

  • Highlight any activities you have participated in that show your passion for Family Medicine. This might include participation in a Family Medicine Interest Group, membership in an FM organization, attendance at FM conferences, and so forth. Show that Family Medicine is your first choice and not a backup plan.
  • Another way to make your application stand out is through recent clinical experience in medical mission trips, community outreach, and volunteer work that is hands-on and clinically oriented. It’s especially impressive if you’ve done this continuously or repeatedly rather than for just a couple of days. In your ERAS file, give us a thorough explanation of what you did, as opposed to “volunteered in a clinic.”
  • Your test scores are important. Keep in mind that competition is fierce. If you have failed Step 1, Step 2, Clinical Skills, or the COMLEX equivalents – you are at a disadvantage, and you will need to have something else to offer to make your application competitive.
  • We will look at your medical school grades, too. If they aren’t outstanding, explain in your personal statement (in ERAS) why your grades aren’t necessarily a reflection of your abilities.
  • Your personal statement should be a personal statement. We don’t need to hear how wonderful it is to be a physician, how fabulous Family Medicine is as a career choice, or how terrific our program is. We know that already. Instead, tell us about you and the experiences that make you unique.  Give us a feel for who you are. Tell us the skills and talents you have so we know why you stand out from the crowd, and explain why Family Medicine is your career choice. Helpful hint: If your personal statement could be copied and used by someone else, it’s not a personal statement.
  • Make sure that your ERAS file doesn’t contain “wrong” information. You might be surprised at the number of personal statements we see that outline the applicant’s passion for surgery, or the letters of reference that enthusiastically recommend the applicant for orthopedics, dermatology, etc. (Why are you applying to Family Medicine??)
  • Make sure your ERAS file is completely honest.  For example, don’t put that you speak Spanish or that your English is of native fluency unless it’s true.
  • If you aren’t a recent medical school graduate, it’s helpful if you have recent and significant clinical experience. In your ERAS file, explain your experience thoroughly. Don’t put something like “shadowed in Dr. Johnson’s office.” Tell us what you did. Help us to see that you have kept your skills current despite a time gap since your graduation.
  • If you make it to a personal interview, try to be natural and spontaneous. Listen to and answer the questions you are asked. Don’t recite paragraphs that you’ve memorized. Be ready to tell us what makes you stand out in a pool of 2,000 applicants, and feel free to ask questions.
  • Research our program before your personal interview. You can find a great deal of information on our website if you’ll take the time. If you don’t do this, it will be obvious, and we will wonder if you are truly interested in our program.

Facebook logo graphic