Match / FAQs / Applicants / Couples


Frequently Asked Questions:
Internship Applicants - Couples

Updated July 14, 2023


  1. How does the Matching Program assist couples?
  2. Can you tell me more about how the "Couples Match" works?
  3. Will the Couples Match reduce our chances of being matched to internship sites?


1. How does the Matching Program assist couples?

Before the APPIC Match was implemented, members of a couple who simultaneously applied for internship had an extremely difficult time in coordinating their choices in order to attempt to be placed in the same geographic location. For example, due to the strict rules which governed the process, one partner was often forced to accept or reject an offer without knowing the status of the other partner.

The Matching Program provides a much-needed solution to this dilemma by allowing couples to coordinate their internship preferences with each other. A couple may choose to submit a combined Rank Order List of paired internship sites. In this way, a couple can request to be matched with the same internship site or with internship sites within the same geographical area.

For more information about how the APPIC Match works for couples, see the matching program web site at: (click on "Applicants," and then "Participate as a Couple").

2. Can you tell me more about how the "Couples Match" works?

Any two applicants who are participating in the Match at the same time and who wish to coordinate their matches (e.g., attempt to obtain positions in the same location) may participate in the Match as a "couple."

Applicants participating together as a couple submit pairs of choices, which gives the couple greater control over the outcome of the Match. Each program desired by one partner can be paired with one or more of the programs desired by the other partner, and each of these pairings can be ranked separately. In addition, an option is provided for the couple to create and rank pairs of choices in which only one partner may be matched, with the other partner left unmatched. In the Match, the couple will be matched to the highest ranked program pairing available to BOTH parties.

To participate, the couple submits a single Rank Order List consisting of "paired" internship programs. For example, suppose Partner A and Partner B each applied to the following programs:

Boston A
Boston B
Philadelphia A
Boston C
Philadelphia A

In this example, Partner A applied to two programs in Boston and one in Philadelphia, while Partner B applied to a different Boston program and to the same Philadelphia program.

This couple's "paired" Rank Order List may look like this:

  1. Boston A - Boston C
  2. Boston B - Boston C
  3. Philadelphia A - Philadelphia A
  4. Boston A - Philadelphia A
  5. Boston B - Philadelphia A
  6. Philadelphia A - Boston C
  7. Boston A - Unmatched
  8. Unmatched - Boston C
  9. Boston B - Unmatched
  10. Philadelphia A - Unmatched
  11. Unmatched - Philadelphia A

In this example, the first pairing instructs the computer to attempt to match Partner A to the "Boston A" internship and Partner B to the "Boston C" internship. The first three pairings attempt to locate both partners in the same city. Pairings 4-6 attempt to matched partners in different cities. Pairings 7-11 attempt to match one partner while leaving the other partner unmatched.

Note that these 11 pairings represent all possible pairing combinations for this couple, including those that leave one partner unmatched. A couple may choose to rank some or all of the possible combinations of their programs, and may do so in any order they wish. Unacceptable pairings should be omitted from the Rank Order List; however, keep in mind that eliminating pairings from your List increases the likelihood that one or both partners will remain unmatched.

3. Will the Couples Match reduce our chances of being matched to internship sites?

The Couples Match doesn't reduce the chances of a couple being matched IF the couple submits ALL possible pairings of internship programs. In other words, if a couple submits ALL possible pairings of internship programs, AND both partners would have matched had they participated in the Match as individuals, then they will successfully match as a couple.

In general, couples should list all possible pairings of internship sites, including those combinations with one partner remaining unmatched. If both partners have applied to a large number of internship programs, their paired Rank Order List might be quite long. In fact, some couples each year submit more than 100 pairings! Even though such a lengthy paired Rank Order List can be time-consuming to construct, it may be very much worth the time for the potential benefits (e.g., both partners being in the same city).

Of course, the couples match often produces different results than if the couple had participated as separate individuals. In fact, one or both partners could match to more preferred programs if they participate in the Match as individuals rather than as a couple. Using the example described in the previous question: suppose Partner A in this example could have matched as an individual to all three programs, while Partner B (as an individual) could match only to the Philadelphia A program but not the Boston C program. In that case, the two partners participating as a couple would both be matched to the Philadelphia A program. Partner A would have given up matches to the two programs in Boston in order to match in the same city as Partner B.

For statistics about how couples have fared in previous matches, please see "Match Statistics for Couples" on the APPIC Match Statistics page.