The Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM) is consistently high on the DO school rankings list for the number of students who pass their national board examinations. The school also makes no secret of its competitive admission requirements, which are more extensive and far-reaching than other schools. There are the standard medical school requirements like GPA and MCAT scores, but the school also recommends that students be active in their community and have demonstrated leadership skills.

This article will look at what exactly those requirements are and how you can meet them, in addition to tips on how to increase your chances of acceptance.

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Article Contents
13 min read

Mission Statement Admissions Statistics Eligibility Selection Factors Interview Format Acceptance and Waitlist Information Application Timeline Tuition and Debt Funding Opportunities Residency Match Rates Review of Available Programs Detailed Academic Curriculum of DO Program Campus and Faculty Affiliated Teaching Hospitals Research Fields Notable Faculty Contact Information FAQs

Mission Statement

“The College of Osteopathic Medicine prepares students to become highly competent, caring and compassionate osteopathic physicians who demonstrate the highest level of professionalism, ethics and sensitivity to the diverse personal and cultural contexts in which care is delivered. We are committed to the service of humanity and the advancement of knowledge through a collaborative environment that provides distinctive osteopathic clinical training and fosters excellence in education, research and scholarly activity, and lifelong learning.”

The school is the oldest and largest medical school in Missouri with a storied history that has produced several notable alumni. If you are looking to join a long line of innovative, creative, and successful medical professionals and benefit from their years of experience and knowledge, then this school may appeal to you.

Want to know the common types of medical school secondary essays? Watch this video:

Admissions Statistics

Overall Acceptance Rate: 24%

In-State Acceptance Rate: 2.7%

Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 21%

Average GPA for Incoming Students: 3.64

Average MCAT for Incoming Students: 507

If you have been asking yourself, “do I need a graduate degree to get into medical school?” as it relates to the Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine, then, the answer is “no.” The school does not have a preference for any particular degree (master’s or PhD), although it will be something that stands out on your application. The school does require that students have completed at least a bachelor’s degree before applying.


KCU-COM does accept out-of-state and international students, and there are 10 different countries represented in the school’s upcoming freshmen class. It is a very out-of-state friendly school since there were close to 40 different states represented in the latest graduating class. The school does accept applications from Canadian students as well, so it is one of the many Canadian friendly medical schools in the US.

International students must have:

  • A valid student visa to study in the USA (F-1)
  • If English is not the first language, complete at least 30 hours of coursework at an accredited Canadian or American college or university


  • Complete the TOEFL test with a minimum score of 79 for the online section and 26 for the speaking section

International students who are waiting for their permanent residency card for the US will NOT be considered if they apply. Only international students who have obtained their permanent residency will be allowed to apply to the school. Temporary residents are also discouraged from applying, as their application will not be considered either. International students can submit scores and official transcripts from their home institutions, but they must first must use an accreditation service recognized by the university to apply those scores to their overall GPA score.

Selection Factors


The school does require GPA and MCAT, and the cut-off scores are 3.25 and 501, respectively, so it is not one of the medical schools that don’t require the MCAT. Any MCAT score you submit cannot be older than three years. Even though the school has a medical school GPA requirement, it also asks students to have other non-academic qualities to be considered a competitive applicant, like hours shadowing a doctor or long-term participation in community groups. 

Coursework and Undergrad

One of the school’s minimum academic requirements is having a full bachelor’s degree from an accredited American or Canadian school. KCU-COM does have a list of medical school prerequisites that students must complete before applying. The courses are a mix of science and non-science courses, but the academic background of incoming students (science majors or non-science majors) is not known, although the school does not discourage non-science majors from applying.

Prerequisites and Recommended Courses

There are four primary science-based courses all applicants must complete with a C grade or higher to be considered a competitive applicant. Those courses are:

The non-science courses are:

A few of the school’s recommended courses for potential applicants include:

AACOMAS Experiences and Achievements 

The school has various admission requirements, like all medical schools, but it singles out applicants from diverse minority backgrounds and non-traditional medical school applicants to apply. As such, it does not only focus on academics when considering DO school applications. The school backs up this assertion with its unique admission requirements, like having a certain number of hours shadowing an osteopathic physician. But, unlike other schools that do not mention how many shadowing hours are required for medical school, the KCU-COM recommends you have at least 80 hours of shadowing experience.

The school has a long list of recommended extracurriculars for medical school that it asks students to obtain if they want their application to be noticed, although they are not required. But given the number of applicants (almost 1,700 last year), your chances of being accepted increase if you are able to show these recommended extracurriculars.

The extracurriculars are not extraordinary and combine things like:

  • Work experience in health care (EMT or nurse)
  • Participation in at least four different community-based organizations (the school does not provide examples)
  • Two leaderships roles in a volunteer, community, or professional organization
  • Volunteer work in a health care setting
  • Work experience in a national or international mission 
  • Research work

Secondary Essays

  1. What are you currently doing to maintain your academic knowledge? (2500 characters)
  2. Describe a time when you had a personal failure. How did you move on from that experience? (2500 characters)
  3. We are often too busy to plan future activities. Describe a time when you were so busy you had to react to situations rather than plan for them. (2500 characters)

Recommendation Letters

Like most osteopathic medical schools, KCU-COM uses AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service) to accept and review all its medical school applications. A requirement of the AACOMAS application is that applicants submit at least two medical school recommendation letters from:

  • A pre-med advisor or committee member
  • A physician (MD or DO)

The school states that you can add any supporting letters but does not specify from whom or whether they must be personal, professional, or academic sources. The letters can be uploaded with your AACOMAS application, which the school will then download to your file if you are sent a secondary application by the school.

Interview Format

If you successfully complete your secondary application and meet the admissions committee’s criteria, you will be invited to an interview as part of the application process. Interviews are held between September and April. Pre-pandemic, the interviews were conducted on-site at the Kansas City campus. The interview included a campus tour, a sit-down Q&A with current medical school students, and a curriculum review with faculty members. However, the crisis changed all of that. Now all interviews are done virtually, over Zoom. While the format of the interview has changed, you will still be asked standard medical school interview questions like the “tell me about yourself” medical school interview question and other, more random questions, for example:

Sample Interview Question and Answer

“You are the last person on Earth; what would you do?”

That’s easy. I would look for other people. I would not know if I was the last person on Earth until I made the effort to find other people. In my mind, if I was able to survive whatever calamity caused people to disappear, I would use that as my motivation to seek out anyone else who was left alive, especially children. If I did find people, I would work to create something resembling a community. If I never found anyone else, I would spend my days collecting evidence of humanity’s existence and history and store it all in one place, like a cave or vault. I would try to mark this place with paint and rocks in some obvious, permanent way to attract attention from the air, in the hope that someone in another part of the world might fly over and find me. I’m not a person who wastes a lot of time or who likes to be idle. I love people, so I would probably spend the rest of my life searching for survivors, but in the meantime, I would want to leave a trace of my presence.

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

After your interview day, the school will notify you within 6 weeks of the status of your application. The school does not make any explicit mention of what happens if your application is rejected or deferred. A general rule for unsuccessful applicants is to contact the office of Admissions directly if they want to know more about why their application was rejected.

Application Timeline

The school follows a rolling admissions process for when it sends out acceptances, but it follows the AACOMAS guidelines surrounding submission of your primary and secondary applications.

AACOMAS Opening: April 5th (previous year of primary application deadline)

AACOMAS Application Deadline: March 1st

KCU-COM Application Deadline: March 15th

Applicants who receive a secondary application directly from KCU-COM have 21 days to submit their secondary application. Along with submitting all necessary documents for your secondary application, you must also pay a $60 non-refundable application fee online. The amount is the same for in-state, out-of-state, and international applicants.

Tuition and Debt

Average In-State Tuition: $49,888

Average Out-of-State Tuition: $49,888

Average Student Fees (in-state and out-of-state): $220

Average Yearly Student Living Expenses: $25,000

Average Student Debt of Graduates: n/a

Funding Opportunities

The scholarship opportunities (both internal and external) for students at KCU-COM are many, and the school has separate scholarship opportunities for first year and current KCU-COM students. First year students can apply for up to six different scholarships that give out amounts ranging from $10,000 to covering part of your full tuition. Students who do receive a full tuition waiver are not eligible to apply to any other scholarships or financial aid.

The six scholarships include:

1. The KCU Scholarship

Eligibility: First year students (students admitted from the waitlist are not eligible for this scholarship)

Requirements: Strong academic performance and community service

Award: $10,000

Type of Scholarship: Renewable and non-renewable (a renewable scholarship requires students to maintain good academic standing and earn above-average grades for all courses)

2. The President’s Scholarship

Eligibility: First year students (students admitted from the waitlist are not eligible for this scholarship) 

Requirements: Strong academic performance and community service 

Award: $10,000 

Type of Scholarship: Renewable and non-renewable (a renewable scholarship requires students to maintain good academic standing and earn above-average grades for all courses)

3. Diversity Scholarship

Eligibility: Students from an underrepresented minority group (Alaskan Native, American Indian, Black, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander) – students admitted from the waitlist are not eligible for this scholarship  

Requirements: Students who have shown “academic success”

Award: Partial tuition

Type of Scholarship: Renewable (a renewable scholarship requires students to maintain good academic standing and earn above-average grades for all courses)

4. KCU-COM Service Leadership Scholarship

Eligibility: First year students

Requirements: Showing an outstanding commitment to service or leadership in a health-related field and has significant financial need 

Award: $10,000 (applied to tuition)

Type of Scholarship: Non-renewable

5. Alamo Scholarship

Eligibility: First year students who are residents of Texas (students admitted from the waitlist are not eligible for this scholarship)   

Requirements: Texas residents

Award: $10,000

Type of Scholarship: Non-renewable

6. Riverside Scholarship

Eligibility: First-year students of Wichita, Kansas

Requirements: Wichita, Kansas residents

Award: $12,000

Type of Scholarship: Non-renewable

Federal financial aid is also available to any first year students entering the osteopathic school. Students can apply directly on the FAFSA website to submit their application for financial aid and student loans. Nearly 75% of medical students at KCU-COM rely on financial aid, but the school also rewards qualifying students an average of $2,900 in scholarships or other financial assistance.

Residency Match Rates

The school boasts a perfect match rate of 100%, meaning that all its graduates were matched into their desired school and residency program in a recent year. The majority of graduates went into an internal medicine residency (27.4%), while a family medicine residency (21.4%) was the second most popular residency program.

Review of Available Programs

Dual-Degree Programs 


The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the creation of this special dual-degree program given both by the KCU-COM and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Students enrolled in the four-year DO program can apply to pursue a Master of Public Health to gain the knowledge needed to expertly navigate future public health crises while also dealing with the everyday concerns of a public health unit. The program consists of five foundational courses:

  • Foundations of Public Health
  • Epidemiology in Public Health
  • Biostatistics I
  • Leadership and Advocacy
  • Planning and Evaluation 

The program takes four years, and students require a total of 42 credits to obtain their degrees, divided between the first two years (12 credits) and the last two years (27 credits).

2. DO/Master of Bioethics

This dual-degree program marries a traditional osteopathic degree with a Master of Bioethics and takes approximately 44 months to complete (a little more than three years). Students must complete a total of 30 credits to graduate with their degree. The course combines ethics courses and typical osteopathic medicine courses. All students enrolled in the program must also present and defend a thesis in their last year to successfully complete the degree requirements.


The third combined degree program at KCU-COM is offered with the Rockhurst University Helzberg School of Management. The degree aims to give medical students a grounding in business administration so that they have the option to pursue non-traditional medical careers in health care administration, medical technology, and the pharmaceutical industry. Students can apply at the end of the first year, and core courses include Foundations of Marketing, Health Care Systems, and Managerial Economics.


1. Clinical Anatomy

Students in their final two years of the four-year osteopathic degree who have distinguished themselves academically can apply for this fellowship. The program increases students’ knowledge base of anatomy through hands-on training and demonstrations, along with intensive lab work and support for writing a research paper. Fellows in the program are also expected to fulfill teaching requirements and assist students as faculty would.

2. Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine

This year-long program is also available to students entering their final two years of an osteopathic degree. Enrolled students will be able to expand their training during the program while also completing their other degree requirements. Students will get another year added to their DO program to accommodate the requirements of this fellowship.

Specialty Tracks 

1. Global Health

The Global Health track sends up to 15 students from the four-year program to various locations around the world to learn about global health care challenges. Students can apply in their first year and are required to submit a separate application for entry into this program. They must also be within the top third of their class to apply. Successful students benefit from additional medical school training (20–30 hours more) and can apply in their third year for clerkship opportunities abroad in countries like Guatemala, Kenya, and the Dominican Republic.

Detailed Academic Curriculum of DO Program

1. Four-Year DO Program

The four-year DO program is divided between the first and last two years. The former is when students learn about core osteopathic principles and medical science through lecture-based instruction and patient simulation with live models. Students encounter patients early in the program but also receive didactic training from faculty and practicing DO physicians. The latter two years focus on applying the knowledge and training of the first two years. Students are paired with a preceptor who guides them through clinical rotations and clerkships at any one of the school’s various teaching partners in Missouri and beyond. The school is partnered with over 20 different hospitals in states as far away as California and Florida.

Campus and Faculty

KCU-COM is divided between two campuses: one in Kansas City and another in Joplin. The Kansas City campus is the original seat of the university and is over 100 years old. The Joplin campus was opened in 2017, while the College of Dental Medicine (CDM) opened in 2022. The Kansas City campus is the main location of the osteopathic school and hosts a variety of different administrative, educational, social, and recreational activities.

The oldest building on the KC campus is the Main Administration Building, which was originally built as a children’s hospital. The building houses the school’s administrative staff, along with the student services department. Other notable buildings around the KC campus include the newly opened Center for Medical Education Innovation and the Student Activities center, where students can work out, study, eat and drink, or just relax.

Affiliated Teaching Hospitals

The affiliated teaching hospitals listed here serve both medical students completing their clerkship and graduates entering residency programs. The list has been shortened here, but there are a total of 22 different teaching hospitals affiliated with KCU-COM across 9 different states.


  • Ascension Via Christi Pittsburg, Pittsburg, KS
  • Ascension Via Christi Wichita, Wichita, KS
  • Coffeyville Regional Medical Center, Coffeyville, KS
  • St. Francis Campus - Univ of Kansas Health System, Topeka, KS


  • Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital, Warren, MI


  • Alliance Health Durant Family Medicine Residency, Durant, OK
  • INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK


  • Holy Family Memorial, Manitowoc, WI


  • HCA East Florida Division, Port St Lucie, FL
  • Lee Memorial Health System, Fort Myers, FL


  • Reid Health, Richmond, IN

Research Fields

Yale U. Castlio, DO, Prize for Research Fund

This prize is awarded to students and residents participating in the school’s annual research symposium. Qualified applicants must submit a research proposal that aims to explore areas like:

  • Surgery
  • Osteopathic manipulative medicine
  • Lymphatic research
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Stem cell research
  • Cloning

Notable Faculty

1. Abdulbaki Agbas PhD, MSc, Professor of Biosciences: Dr. Agbas was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant to research whether the appearance or abnormal accumulation of a TDP-43 protein is a reliable, early detection marker for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

2. Earle Hass, DO (Class of 1918) – Earle Hass was a graduate of the KCU-COM and worked as a general practitioner for over ten years before designing and patenting the tampon, which was later turned into the Tampax brand.

3. Stephen Typaldos, DO (Class of 1986) – After graduating from the KCU-COM and doing his residency in Ohio, the late Dr. Typaldos went on to create the Fascial Distortion Model, which he created to better diagnose, treat, and prevent soft tissue injuries. The FDM is the standard by which many osteopathic manipulative treatments are compared and is still in practice today.

Contact Information

Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine KCU-COM


Admissions Office

1750 Independence Avenue

Kansas City, MO 64106


Joplin Campus

2901 St. John’s Boulevard

Joplin, MO 64804


Main phone: (800) 234-4847

Admissions office


[email protected]

Phone: (816) 654-7160


1. Do I need to submit MCAT scores to get into KCU-COM?

Yes, KCU-COM requires that all applicants submit MCAT scores no older than three years. To be considered a competitive applicant, the school requires the following GPA and MCAT scores: 501 MCAT; 3.25 science GPA; 3.25 cumulative GPA.

2. Does the school review applications holistically or traditionally (academics only)?

The school has a holistic approach to reviewing and considering all applications. It gives prospective students a list of extracurriculars and other activities to participate in so that their application is noticed and noted, but MCAT and GPA scores are also important.

3. Are there any application fees for KCU-COM?

Yes, in addition to tuition and the costs of attending the school, applicants must pay a $60 fee when submitting their secondary application. They must also pay $1000 as a deposit for matriculation if they are offered a position in the medical school. 

4. What kind of interviews does the school have?

The school currently conducts all interviews virtually. It is an open-file interview, and the panel consists of current faculty members and an admissions committee member. 

5. When will I know whether I’m accepted into the program?

The school has rolling admissions, so there is no set date or timeline for when applicants are notified about the success or failure of their application. After the interview, the admissions committee makes their recommendations to the Dean of the school, who then makes the final decision. 

6. Does the school have a GPA cut-off?

 Yes, the school has a minimum GPA requirement, which is a cumulative GPA of 3.25.

7. Can I retake the MCAT if needed?

Yes, you can take the MCAT again to improve your score or to reach the 501 minimum MCAT requirement. The school does accept MCAT scores as old as three years.  

8. What is a pre-professional health committee?

A pre-professional health committee is a group of science faculty members who give advice and provide official letters and other documentation to students who wish to pursue a career in medicine or health care. KCU-COM asks for recommendation letters from a pre-professional health committee or from practicing osteopathic or medical doctors. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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