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What you Need to Know About Medical Schools in Kentucky

December 21, 2021
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Part 1: Introduction Part 2: Attending Medical School in KentuckyPart 3: List of All Medical Schools in KentuckyPart 4: Tips for Getting Accepted into Medical Schools in KentuckyPart 5: FAQsPart 6: Conclusion

Medical school can help you achieve your dreams of practicing medicine in whatever specialization interests you most. Attending medical school is a colossal step in your journey to becoming a doctor of medicine (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO)

Applying to medical school means you’ll need to take the necessary prerequisite courses, submit official transcripts and MCAT scores, outline your professional work experience and extracurricular activities, and more. 

If you want to attend a Kentucky medical school, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know. Read on to learn more about Kentucky’s medical schools, including their respective requirements, selection factors, admissions statistics, and tuition.

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Attending Medical School in Kentucky 

There are three medical schools in Kentucky: the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, University of Louisville School of Medicine, and University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. If you want to become an MD, you should apply to one of the first two schools, while those you wish to become a DO should apply to the University of Pikeville.

These schools are highly selective, with few seats to fill each application cycle. Acceptance rates are as follows: 

Low acceptance rates are a common element of medical school admissions, but it’s crucial not to get too hung up on statistics. If you craft a perfect application that sets you apart from other applicants, you’ll have a greater chance of acceptance.

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List of All Medical Schools in Kentucky

Crafting a masterful medical school application starts with learning more about the schools you want to attend. Background knowledge can help you tailor your application to what admissions committees seek and confirm your choice is the right school for you. 

University of Kentucky College of Medicine 

The UK College of Medicine was founded in 1960 and is one of the few universities that offer all six health science colleges on the same campus: Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Health Sciences. The UK College of Medicine has four campuses: Lexington, Bowling Green, Morehead, and Northern Kentucky.

The College of Medicine’s mission is to promote “a diverse and inclusive environment that provides excellence in education, equitable health care, and transformative research to improve the health and wellness of Kentuckians and beyond.” 

There are numerous requirements you must meet to submit a successful application. You are required to complete at least 90 hours of undergraduate-level education in a US institution; these are the minimum course requirements: 

If you meet all prerequisites, you can fill out the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) Application, submit your personal statement, evaluation letters, valid MCAT scores, and ensure you meet the college’s Technical Standards

UK College of Medicine also offers a secondary application to Kentucky residents and select non-residents that allows you to rank your preferred campus locations. You will also be asked to write a brief essay about why your first choice is your preferred choice. 

Selection criteria are based on an applicant's potential to become a successful physician. The selections committee wants to admit students who display: 

Other characteristics will also enhance your application, although the UK College of Medicine states they are not essential: 

Recent class profile data shows the UK College of Medicine received 3,792 applications, of which 557 were interviewed and 284 were accepted. Out of the 201 matriculated students, most attended the Lexington campus. 

Most of the class consisted of Kentucky residents, and only 17.4% were non-residents. Most matriculated students were female at 60.2%. 

Per year, tuition costs approximately $39,000 for in-state students, and $72,000 for out-of-state students. 

University of Louisville School of Medicine

The University of Louisville School of Medicine is located in Kentucky’s largest metropolitan area, close to the Ohio River. The university is located in downtown Louisville in a medical center. 

U of L’s School of Medicine’s mission is divided into three principles: 

The college’s goals are rooted in education, research, and patient care. The school hopes to achieve educational goals such as graduating knowledgable physicians to provide outstanding medical care, increasing the number of underrepresented minority physicians, and promoting collaborative teaching and learning across disciplines. 

U of L hopes to retain top-quality scientists and increase research quantity and quality. Patient care is crucial to U of L, as the school hopes to develop programs of clinical excellence and participate “in a system of coordinated inpatient and outpatient care delivery for the medically underserved of our metropolitan region.” 

To get accepted at U of L, you must have taken these prerequisite courses: 

If you’ve taken all these courses, you can fill out your AMCAS application, submit your MCAT scores, and a pre-med advisory committee report. If your college or university did not have a pre-med committee, you must produce three academic letters of recommendation; one of which should be from a professor who taught you a prerequisite or higher level science course. You can choose to submit up to two additional recommendation letters that can speak to your suitability for medicine. 

U of L requires a secondary application and a $75 nonrefundable fee after you’re notified by email. If you’re eligible after submitting all materials, you will be notified to participate in interviews. 

The admissions committee at U of L reviews applications holistically as officials review academic and non-academic components. The admissions committee wants to see: 

Recent class profile data states 5,117 verified applications were received (517 in Kentucky and 4,600 out-of-state), and the admissions committee selected 460 applicants for an interview. Other data points included: 

Most students entered the program with a Bachelor of Science, and the class represented 18 states. 

Full-time tuition for in-state students is approximately $42,000 per year, while out-of-state students can expect to pay roughly $64,000. 

University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine

The Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) is ranked in the country's top five most affordable private osteopathic schools. KYCOM’s mission is to “provide students with an osteopathic medical education that emphasizes primary care, encourages research, promotes lifelong scholarly activity and produces graduates who are committed to serving the healthcare needs of communities in rural Kentucky and other Appalachian regions.” 

KYCOM strives to recruit students who want to alleviate the medical shortage in Kentucky's rural areas and prepare its students for postgraduate training programs. 

To get accepted to KYCOM, you must have completed the following prerequisite courses

You also need to submit an AACOMAS application and KYCOM supplemental application, including valid MCAT scores. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation with their application: a letter from a physician (preferably a D.O.) and one of these options: 

KYCOM seeks students who display integrity and meet the college’s technical standards; candidates who will ultimately help KYCOM fulfill its mission of providing an osteopathic medical education centered on primary care to those who want to meet the healthcare needs of rural Kentucky and other Appalachian regions. 

Recent data shows KYCOM received 3,897 applications, of which 500 received an invitation for an interview. Of the 416 accepted students, 137 chose to enroll. 

The average MCAT score submitted by students is 500, the average science GPA is 3.4, and the average cumulative GPA is 3.5. Full-time tuition at KYCOM is approximately $49,000 per year.

Tips for Getting Accepted into Medical Schools in Kentucky

Getting into Kentucky medical schools can appear a daunting task, due to their low acceptance rates. However, it’s certainly worth applying to any of them if you feel their programs are a good fit for your aspirations. These tips can help you boost your chances of acceptance to any of Kentucky’s three medical schools. 

Prioritize Your GPA and MCAT Scores 

A high BCPM GPA, cumulative GPA, and excellent MCAT scores can put you in good standing at any medical school. Your grades and test scores reflect your academic aptitude and your preparation for medical school’s rigorous instruction. 

Dr. Clay Dorenkamp, a clinical faculty member of Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, suggests pre-meds focus on academics and not get too distracted by other activities. "No amount of community service or shadowing or research is going to pay off if you have a super-low GPA or you perform poorly on the MCAT,” he said. 

Showcase Your Clinical Experience and Community Service 

Admissions committees want to see you have adequate clinical experience to understand what a career in medicine entails. Keith Baker, assistant dean for admissions at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, said, “That experience lets us and other medical schools know that you have a reasonable expectation of what lies ahead, and if you don't have that, we simply don't have confidence that you're a serious candidate.”

While community service may not be mandatory at Kentucky’s medical schools, your willingness to contribute to your community shows you care. Kentucky’s medical schools are interested in teaching physicians who will make a difference in the state’s underserved populations, so your past community experiences can indicate your future behavior. 

Complete the Secondary Applications 

Once you’ve completed your AMCAS or AACOMAS applications, it’s easy to feel like you’ve done your part and can kick back and wait for a decision. If you’re asked to fill out a secondary application, ensure you treat it with the same importance as your primary applications. 

“Don't sleep on those questions or those essays, because those are really important, and they are usually written for a very specific purpose, depending on the institutions, so don't treat those lightly," Baker said.


1. Is the degree I receive from the UK College of Medicine the same at all campuses? 

Yes, you will receive the same degree regardless of what campus you attend. 

2. When is the AMCAS application deadline? When is the AACOMAS deadline? 

The deadline to submit your AMCAS application at the UK College of Medicine is in Early November, and the deadline at U of L is mid-October. Applicants to Pikeville University should submit the AACOMAS application no later than the beginning of March. Check each school’s website to ensure you never miss a deadline. 

3. How long are my MCAT scores valid? 

MCAT scores are typically valid for three years, but the longevity of a valid score can vary at different medical schools. For example, the University of Louisville only accepts MCAT scores from the last two years

4. When should I take the MCAT? 

Deciding on a date to take the MCAT depends on when you want to go to medical school, how much time you’ll need to prepare for the test, and if you wish to give yourself enough time for a retake if you want to do so. 

Preparing for the MCAT can take three to five months if you study for 20 hours per week. The AAMC states pre-med students can perform well on the test if they spend 300 to 350 hours studying. 

5. Does my undergraduate major matter? 

Pursuing a degree in a STEM major can help you prepare for medical school, but you can apply with an undergraduate degree. What matters is that you take all prerequisite courses and perform well in them. The admissions committee wants to know you can handle the challenging courses medical school offers. 

6. Which of these medical schools should I apply to? 

The Kentucky medical schools you should apply to depend on your career aspirations, how your values align with the schools’, and what school you want to go to most. If you’re interested in becoming an OD, KYCOM is an excellent choice. If you’re interested in becoming an MD, the University of Kentucky or Louisville may be better options for you.


If you live in Kentucky or want to help Kentucky’s rural and underserved populations, you can benefit from the training you’ll receive at any of these schools. Although low acceptance rates can make any medical school application an intimidating process, don’t let your fears dictate what you do in your career and education.

No matter which of these schools you decide to apply to, ensure your application is polished, you’ve spent time boosting your GPA and MCAT scores, and you’ve showcased your clinical experience. With a perfect application, you’re sure to have the best chance of success at each of Kentucky’s three medical schools.

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