What you Need to Know About Medical Schools in Kentucky

April 26, 2024
5 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 4/26/24

If you have your sights set on one of Kentucky’s three medical schools, this guide has the information you need to put your best foot forward! 

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 an MD or DO.  

We’ll walk you through everything you need to know if you want to attend a Kentucky medical school. 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: 

  • University of Kentucky College of Medicine
  • University of Louisville School of Medicine
  • University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine

To become an MD, you should apply to one of the first two schools. DO hopefuls 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. Crafting a perfect application can help you stand out and increase your chances of acceptance. 

List of All Medical Schools in Kentucky

Crafting a masterful med 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 choices.

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
  • Health Sciences. 

The University of Kentucky medical school has four campuses: Lexington, Bowling Green, Morehead, and Northern Kentucky.

picture of the university of kentucky college of medicine
Source: The Lexington Herald Leader


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

  • Two semesters of physics 
  • Two semesters in biological sciences 
  • Four semesters in chemistry (organic and biochemistry) 
  • Two semesters of English 

If you meet all prerequisites, you can fill out the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application with all relevant documents and ensure you meet the college’s technical standards

UK College of Medicine offers a secondary application to Kentucky residents and select non-residents that allows you to rank your preferred campus locations. You’ll 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 seeks students who display: 

  • Professionalism 
  • Interpersonal and communication skills 
  • Practice-based learning and improvement 
  • Systems-based practice 
  • Patient care 
  • Medical knowledge 

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

  • Commitment to the state: UK College of Medicine is a state medical school and prefers Kentucky residents or “Non-residents who are underrepresented in medicine, or who have strong ties to the state.” 
  • Commitment to underserved populations: Some geographic areas and patient populations “have challenges in receiving safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable health care.” If you’re interested in serving these populations, ensure you highlight that in your application. 
  • Diversity: The UK College of Medicine strives for a diverse student population that represents the state of Kentucky. The admissions committee considers an applicant's cultural and educational background, life experiences, and socioeconomic status. 

Admissions Stats, MCAT & GPA

Recent class profile data shows the UK College of Medicine received 3,909 applications, of which 613 were interviewed, and 284 were accepted. Out of the 201 matriculated students, most attended the Lexington campus. 

Demographic Number of Students (%)
Kentucky Residents 178 (88.6%)
Rural Kentucky Residents 90 (44.8%)
Non-Residents 23 (11.4%)
Male 86 (42.8%)
Female 114 (56.7%)

Source: UK College of Medicine

The school’s preference for in-state students is reflected in this data snapshot. The median undergraduate GPA of students is 3.78, and the median MCAT score is 506.


The UK College of Medicine tuition (fees not included) is approximately $41,662 for in-state students and $76,066 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 college’s goals are rooted in education, research, and patient care. The school hopes to achieve educational goals such as: 

  • Graduating knowledgeable physicians to provide outstanding medical care
  • Increasing the number of underrepresented minority physicians
  • 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 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 take these prerequisite courses: 

  • Eight semester hours of biology
  • Eight semester hours of general chemistry 
  • Six semester hours of organic chemistry 
  • Eight semesters hours of physics
  • Six semester hours of English 
  • Three semester hours of biochemistry 
  • Three semester hours of statistics (recommended) 

If you’ve taken all these courses, you can apply with your MCAT scores and a pre-med advisory committee report. 

If your school didn’t 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 letters that can speak to your suitability for medicine. 

U of L requires a secondary application and a $75 nonrefundable fee. If you’re eligible after submitting all materials, you’ll be notified to participate in interviews. The admissions committee at U of L reviews applications holistically. The admissions committee wants to see: 

Table outlining the experiences the admissions committee from the university of louisville school of medicine wants to see from the applicants
Table outlining the experiences the admissions committee from the university of louisville school of medicine wants to see from the applicants

Admissions Stats, MCAT & GPA

Recent class profile data states that 5,588 verified applications were received (517 in Kentucky and 4,600 out-of-state), and the admissions committee selected 407 applicants for an interview. 

The average MCAT score at the University of Louisville School of Medicine is 507.

Other data points include: 

  • Average GPA: 3.71
  • Average BCPM GPA: 3.61
  • Male-to-female ratio: 41% and 58%
  • Underrepresented in Medicine by Race/Ethnicity: 24% 
  • Low Socioeconomic Background: 21% 

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

image outlining the class profile of U of L
Source: U of L School of Medicine


Full-time tuition for in-state students is approximately $44,482 per year. Out-of-state students can expect to pay roughly $67,564. 

University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine

The Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Pikeville (KYCOM) is ranked in the country's top five most affordable private osteopathic schools. KYCOM seeks students who want to alleviate the medical shortage in Kentucky's rural areas.


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

  • Six semester hours of English composition and literature 
  • Eight semester hours of general chemistry 
  • Eight semester hours of organic chemistry (four of which can be biochemistry) 
  • Eight semester hours of physics 
  • 12 semester hours of biological sciences 

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

  • “Letters from two different science faculty who are familiar with the applicant’s academic work
  • Letter from a pre-med advisor and a letter from a science faculty member who is familiar with the applicant’s academic work
  • Letter from the pre-med committee.” 

KYCOM seeks students who display integrity and meet the college’s technical standards. 

Admissions Stats, MCAT & GPA

Recent data shows the University of Pikeville medical school received 4,561 applications, of which 569 received an invitation for an interview. Of the 525 accepted students, 144 chose to enroll. 

KYCOM’s average MCAT score is 499, the average science GPA is 3.4, and the average cumulative GPA is 3.5. 


Full-time tuition at KYCOM is $53,000 per year.

Tips for Getting Accepted into Medical Schools in Kentucky

Getting into Kentucky medical schools can seem challenging due to low acceptance rates. However, it’s worth applying to any of them if you feel their programs fit your goals. These tips can help you boost your chances of acceptance to any of Kentucky’s med 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 preparation for medical school’s rigorous instruction. 

Dr. Clay Dorenkamp, a faculty member of Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, suggests focusing on academics and not getting too distracted by 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 clinical experience to understand what a medical career is like.

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 med schools want to teach physicians who will make a difference in the state’s underserved populations. Your past community experiences can indicate your future behavior. 

Complete the Secondary Applications Quickly and Efficiently

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 them with the same urgency 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. 

FAQs: Kentucky Medical Schools

If you have more questions about getting into a Kentucky medical school, check out these FAQs. 

1. Is the Degree I Receive from the UK College of Medicine the Same at All Campuses? 

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

2. How Many Medical Schools Are There in Kentucky?

There are three Kentucky medical schools: two allopathic schools and one osteopathic. 

3. Does Kentucky Have a Good Medical School?

These medical schools can be excellent options depending on your goals, but the UK College of Medicine is the best medical school in Kentucky. The school is ranked #64 nationally for best med schools for research. 

4. Is the University of Louisville a Good Medical School?

While the University of Louisville may not be one of the nation’s top medical schools, it's an excellent choice for students interested in research opportunities and providing care to medically underserved populations. 

5. Which Med School in Kentucky Should I Apply to?

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

Are You Ready to Get Accepted at a Kentucky Med School?

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 these schools. Although low acceptance rates can be intimidating, 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 Kentucky’s med schools.

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