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Orthopedic Surgery Specialty at a Glance

Students interested in a career in orthopaedic surgery will prepare for the care of patients whose musculoskeletal problems include congenital deformities, trauma, infections, tumors, metabolic disturbances of the musculoskeletal system, deformities, injuries and degenerative diseases of the spine, hands, feet, knee, hip, shoulder and elbow in children and adults.

Match Statistics

Mean USMLE Step 2 CK score: 256
USMLE Step 2 CK 25th percentile: 249
USMLE Step 2 CK 75th percentile: 263
Average number of research experiences: 3
Average number of abstracts, presentations and publications: 12
Program signals for 2023 match: 30 Blue

  • Why should a student choose orthopaedic surgery?

    Students should consider this specialty if they:

    • like working with their hands in a surgical subspecialty.

    • like taking care of all ages of patients.

    • would like to apply mechanics to treatment of human disease.

  • Are there things students should be doing in Phase 1 (Med school year 1 and 2) to prepare?

    Participating students should enroll in the Canvas course for Ortho Medical Student Engagement and get involved in the Ortho Student Interest Group for chances to learn and engage.

  • What electives are recommended for students pursuing orthopaedic surgery?

    Students should take at least one Phase 3 elective in Indianapolis prior to doing two to three away rotations.

  • What sub-Is are recommended for students pursuing orthopaedic surgery?

    The surgery sub-I is recommended for students going into orthopaedic surgery.

  • Is an away rotation recommended for orthopaedic surgery?

    Orthopaedic surgery is a very competitive specialty, and two to three away rotations are recommended, schedule permitting.

  • How important is research? Does it have to be specific to orthopaedic surgery?

    Research in this specialty is particularly important. Students should get involved as soon as possible. Contact Anne Nguyen to find potential opportunities. Research opportunities that are specialty specific are recommended.

  • How long is orthopaedic surgery residency training?

    The length of this residency is five years, then often an additional year of fellowship.

  • Are there any orthopaedic surgery specific recommendations regarding letters of recommendation?

    The orthopaedic surgery specialty uses the eSLOR. This can be found on the American Orthopedic Association (AOA) website.

  • What are some useful resources for students considering orthopaedic surgery?

    Students can find a plethora of resources by:

    • Joining the Ortho Medical Student Engagement Canvas course

    • Joining the Ortho Student Interest Group

    • Networking with prior successful orthopaedic surgery residents

  • How does career mentoring at IU School of Medicine work in orthopaedic surgery?

    Students interested in pursuing orthopaedic surgery can request career mentors using the Career Mentor Request form. Hollyn Mangione ( will follow up with them. Career mentoring primarily targets Phase 3 students to assist them through the match process, but earlier involvement opportunities are also available.