Difference Between Fellowship and Residency

Fellowship and residency are two different kinds of trainings that a student studying the field of medicine has to undergo. The journey starts with a pre med school, after which a student has to complete graduation in proper medicine. After passing graduation the student has to complete residency and fellowship. These are trainings for specialization in a particular sub field of medicine such as cardiology, pediatrics, radiology etc. Fellowship is required when a med student is desirous of getting into teaching while residency is required if the student desires to specialize in a particular field to gain expertise and knowledge to treat patients.


Residency is normally undertaken by all medical students after graduation and completion of internship and is a kind of training that is done under the supervision of senior and experienced doctors. Those doing residency start getting a salary as it is to encourage medical students to enhance their knowledge to provide better and specialized care to their patients. Residency is aimed at helping medical students develop better skills in diagnosis of patients and also expertise in better treatment. After completing residency, a student gets the certificate of being a clinical specialist.


Fellowship is undertaken after residency. Fellowship is always optional and depends upon the individual student. In general, fellowship is a training that is required if a student wishes to become a teacher in his chosen field of specialization or is working in a large hospital. For example, if a medical graduate has done his residency in cardiology, he may choose to do fellowship in academic cardiology as well. This kind of specialization is similar to PhD. Degree that students get in arts and social science subjects, thus enabling to take the profession of teaching. Fellowship is also funded by the government to encourage medical students to take up jobs in the academic field.

In brief:

• Residency is a type of training done under the supervision of senior doctors while fellowship is undertaken after residency.

• Residency enables a medical student to specialize in his chosen field of study while fellowship is for students interested in going for teaching profession

• Both residency and fellowship entitle a medical student to earn a salary from the government.