The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine (UMKC-SOM) has a unique curriculum and two pathways for applicants to become doctors. The UMKC-SOM lets students enter their MD program directly from high school. These students receive both a BA and MD in six years and but the accelerated nature of the program does not mean it is the easiest way to become a doctor. Along with the six-year dual-degree program, the school also offers a standard four-year program for undergraduates and has several dual-degree programs as well. This article will detail more about the school’s history, its unique programs and offer AMCAS Work and Activities and medical school secondary essays examples to perfect your application.

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Article Contents
15 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 Campus and Faculty Affiliated Teaching Hospitals Research Fields Notable Faculty Contact Information FAQs

Mission Statement

“The mission of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine is to improve the health and well-being of individuals and populations through innovative educational programs in medicine and biomedical science, cutting-edge biomedical research, and leadership in academic medicine. The School strives to implement this mission with the highest professional and ethical standards, in a culture of diversity and inclusiveness, and in an environment that enables each individual to develop to his or her full potential.”

The UMKC-SOM is the newest medical school in Missouri and was the culmination of a long effort to establish a medical school in Kansas City but its mission extends beyond caring for Missouri residents. It is a state school and shows preference for Missouri residents but the school also wants to establish itself as an important center for health care, medical research and innovation, and learning.

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Admissions Statistics

Overall Acceptance Rate: 6.2%

In-State Acceptance Rate: 22%

Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 2.6%

Average MCAT of Incoming Students: 510

Average GPA of Incoming Students: 3.91

Preference for master’s or PhD: No

 Experience of Accepted Medical School Applicants


The UMKC-SOM is a state-funded school and has an obligation to admit Missouri residents. However, the school is still considered an out-of-state friendly medical school since its preference extends to residents of neighboring states such as Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, Kansas and Illinois. Students who are not from any of these neighboring states are considered out-of-state and have to meet separate medical school requirements to enter the program. The school does not accept Canadian or international students and all previous course work and degrees must be completed at a US college or university.

Selection Factors

Minimum MCAT to Apply: 495

Minimum GPA to Apply (in-state): 3.0

Minimum GPA to Apply (out-of-state): 3.5

The UMKC-SOM has both a minimum MCAT and medical school GPA requirement to apply, but the latter requirement is different for in-state and out-of-state applicants. The minimum MCAT is the same for all applicants. All applicants must submit their most recent MCAT score, but scores no older than three years can also be submitted. The GPA requirement for out-of-state applicants applies to anyone not from Missouri or the five neighboring states closest to it. The school also considers grades from any graduate or post-bac programs for medical school, as part of the GPA requirement.

Coursework and Undergrad

The school expects its students to have completed a full bachelor’s degree by the time they apply, and will not accept applications from students who do not hold at least a bachelor’s degree. The school will accept applications from students who are in the process of completing their degrees, but they must have earned the degree by the time they enroll in classes, if accepted.

Prerequisites and Recommended Courses 

The UMKC-SOM has a standard set of medical school prerequisites that focus on science-based courses and not much else. The school has a published list of US universities and the courses they offer which can be considered as fulfilling the required course work, as the school only lists broad subjects such as biochemistry and genetics. Students must take only upper-level courses to fulfill the prerequisite course work and must receive a B grade or higher to have their course work accepted by the Admissions Committee. However, the school will accept any course work completed during the spring and summer of 2020 with a pass/fail grade in an accommodation to any students whose studies were interrupted by the pandemic.

  • One semester of biochemistry (upper-level course)
  • One semester of genetics
  • One semester of cell biology

AMCAS Work and Activities

The school participates in the AMCAS application service but the BA/MD program does not, since it recruits students directly from high school. All the admission information mentioned here is for the regular, four-year, undergraduate MD program, as the BA/MD program has another application process and requirements, which we’ll talk about later. Undergraduate students applying to the school’s four-year program must still apply via the AMCAS application portal and complete all the application’s various sections, including the AMCAS Work and Activities and AMCAS Most Meaningful Experiences sections.

In these sections, applicants can relate up to 15 instances where they embodied important attributes that all medical schools look for in their candidates, such as leadership, compassion, empathy, integrity and ethics. Many medical schools pay special attention to the W and A section since it gives the Admission Committee an early look at how well an applicant aligns with the school’s values and mission.

Sample AMCAS Work and Activities Entry

Type: Community Service Non-Medical

Name: Green Campus Initiative   

Hours: 30 hours/per week

Most Meaningful: No


During my time at the University of Illinois, I became passionate about environmental causes. I served as the president of the Green Campus Initiative, where I led a team in organizing the annual Eco-Fair, which educated hundreds of students on sustainable living practices. I also worked with the university to implement composting programs in dining halls and reduce plastic waste. This experience solidified my commitment to promoting sustainable practices, which I plan to integrate into my medical career.

Personal Statement

The medical school personal statement is an unofficial introduction to the Admissions Committee as it is one way to present your personal reasons and motivations for wanting to become a doctor. Every applicant to any allopathic medical school in the US, except medical schools in Texas, must write an AMCAS personal statement, also known as the Personal Comments essay. Exceptional personal statement should contain a narrative arc that shows how an applicant came to decide on a career in medicine, what steps they have taken to reach that goal and what goals or plans they have, should they be accepted.

Secondary Essays

All qualified applicants who submit a verified AMCAS application will be sent a secondary invite to complete the two sections of the secondary application. The first section of the supplemental application is the General Application for Admission, which students can complete before they are sent the second part of the supplemental application.

Applicants must log onto to the UMKC-SOM applicant portal and complete the General Application for Admission, submit their letters of recommendation, and sign the school’s Technical Standards form affirming their physical and mental fitness to enter medical school.

Once they have completed the first section of the supplemental application, the school sends applicants a link to the online portal, where they complete the second part of the supplemental application. Only qualified applicants are sent the link, as the school screens applicants based on their academic stats, but also looks at other important factors such as extracurriculars for medical school and clinical hours for medical school.

UMKC-SOM Secondary Essay Prompts

  1. Please describe how COVID-19 has impacted your pathway to becoming a Physician. The questions below will help you get started but do not limit your responses to these considerations:
  2. If you are interested in rural healthcare or in practicing a specialty that meets the needs of underserved rural communities, please describe your interest in this aspect of healthcare.
  3. "How will your diversity/diverse experiences (e.g., gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, veteran status, from rural or underserved community, first generation student status) add to your career in medicine?"

Sample Secondary Essay for Prompt #2

One day, my best friend's father had a heart attack and we were so far away from the nearest hospital that we had to wait a long time for an ambulance to arrive. I remember feeling helpless and frustrated that there weren't better options for emergency care in our town. This experience made me interested in rural medicine, and I began to investigate the challenges that face rural residents.

According to a study by the Missouri Hospital Association, 46% of Missouri's rural hospitals are at high financial risk, which can result in closures, reduced services, and longer wait times. As a result, rural residents often have to travel long distances to receive care, and delays in treatment can lead to worse health outcomes.

I want to go to medical school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City because of its focus on rural medicine. UMKC's School of Medicine has a Rural Track program that provides training in rural healthcare, and their curriculum includes a Rural Primary Care Track that allows students to focus on rural medicine. Additionally, UMKC partners with rural clinics and hospitals, providing students with opportunities to work and learn in rural healthcare settings.

Through UMKC's programs and partnerships, I hope to gain the skills and knowledge needed to make a difference in the lives of rural residents. I believe that every person deserves access to quality healthcare, regardless of where they live, and I am committed to working towards that goal.

Recommendation Letters

The UMKC-SOM requires all applicants to submit at least three medical school recommendation letters and makes specific reference to who the letter writers should be and what they should mention in their letters. The school asks students to submit letters from anyone (excluding friends and family members) who knows them well enough to speak to their “academic abilities and personal characteristics” and their overall suitability to enter medical school and the medical profession. The school will accept a single pre-medical advisory committee letter to fulfill the three-letter minimum, but only if it was authored by three individuals.

Interview Format

Percentage of Interviewed In-state Applicants who were Admitted:

After both the primary and secondary applications are submitted, the Admission Committee reviews every application holistically to determine which applicants are sent interview invitations. The UMKC-SOM is a medical school that uses MMI and all interviews are held in-person at the Hospital Hill campus. The school sends all invited candidates a set of dates to choose from and they must choose their interview date.

Real UMKC-SOM Medical School Interview Questions

  1. “What does social justice mean to you?”
  2. “Tell me about your most valuable life experience.”
  3. “What's your opinion on diversity in the world today?”

Sample Interview Answer to Question #3

To me, diversity means recognizing and respecting differences in cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. But not in a token or superficial way, which is why I’ve always looked to involve myself in different projects so I can practice what I preach. During undergrad, I volunteered at a non-profit called, “The Bridge” in Jefferson City, which is a youth development center that helped underprivileged kids learn skills to prepare them for high school, college or the workforce. I tutored a few students from underprivileged backgrounds and learned about how they face challenges that my peers and I never had to, such as children growing up without parents because of either mass incarceration or deportation – two functions of our society that are the enemy of diversity. Incarcerating and deporting people of color is something that societies do to reject diversity and I hope that, as a physician, I will be able to advocate more for the rights of all people who are underrepresented in medicine but also lack access to health care because of their difference.

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

After the interviews are complete by the end of October, the Council of Selection aka Admissions Committee reviews each application holistically looking for the right balance between academic achievement, personal attribute and residency. The school groups all applications into three categories – in-state, regional, out-of-state – and they typically review in-state applications first, but the entire process takes about a month, as the first decisions are sent out by November.

The school notifies all applicants about all decisions via email. Applicants who have been placed on the medical school waitlist are notified of their status, along with applicants who have been denied. There are about 30 applicants placed on the waitlist every cycle but that figure fluctuates every year. Applicants on the waitlist are admitted every time an accepted applicant has declined their offer.

Application Timeline

Primary AMCAS Application: August 1

Secondary Application Deadline: September 1

The school’s notification system uses rolling admissions so students should submit their applications as soon as possible. Since the supplemental application is available online, applicants are encouraged to complete the General Application for Admission after the submit their primary AMCAS application. This way, the student will have the secondary application materials ready, if the school sends them a link to complete the second part of the supplemental application.

The school’s supplemental application is divided into two parts: the General Application for Admission, where students submit the signed technical standards form, letters of recommendation. After submitting the first part of the supplemental application, the school will verify receipt of the first part, which may take a week or more and send candidates the link to complete the second part; the second part consists of the secondary essay prompts.

Tuition and Debt

In-State Tuition and Fees: $35,280

Regional Tuition and Fees: $51,818

Out-of-State Tuition and Fees: $68,348

Average Yearly Cost-of-Living Expenses: $19,774

Average Debt of Graduating Students: $174,884

Funding Opportunities

The school offers several internal medical school scholarships to qualified students who meet certain requirements such as demonstrating financial need, academic excellence or have specific ties to the state and the surrounding region. All accepted students must complete a FAFSA application form and submit it with their matriculation decision, but students must apply to each different scholarship themselves. They are also encouraged to look for external scholarship opportunities aside from the typical funding sources students use for how to pay for medical school.

  1. Wasserman Medical School Endowment Fund – awarded to students who contribute to the improvement of medical school education.
  2. Awad Family Scholarship – awarded to minority students who are enrolled in the MD program.
  3. Coleman Family Medical Scholarship – preference given to students from rural Missouri or Kansas.
  4. Dr. and Mrs. Cavin and Monica Tekwani Scholarship – awarded to BA/MD students with a 3.5 GPA and preference given to students from St. Louis.
  5. Dr. Daniel B. and Sydrah Williams Scholarship – awarded to students who are in good academic standing.
  6. Dr. Robert Halloway UMKC LGBT Medical Student Scholarship – given to medical students who identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community who demonstrate financial need.
  7. Dr. William V. Walters Scholarship – preference for in-state students who have maintained good academic standing and are enrolled in the BA/MD.
  8. Edward Baumhardt Scholarship Fund – available to all current and incoming medical school students.

Residency Match Rates

The last class of graduates from the UMKC-SOM enjoyed a perfect 100% match rate, as every graduate matched into their preferred residency program as listed on their rank order list. The students took positions at various programs throughout the country at schools and hospitals such as Emory Medical School, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Many graduates opted for primary care specialties with a majority of students choosing either a family medicine residency (11) or an internal medicine residency (19).

UMKC-SOM Residency Match Rate:

Review of Available Programs

1. Four-Year MD Program

One unique feature of the curriculum at UMKC-SOM is its use of docents and docent teams. A docent team is a four-member group of senior instructors consisting of a docent (similar to an associate professor), a clinical pharmacologist, a clinical medical librarian, an Education Team Coordinator and other experienced healthcare professionals who participate in specific courses and modules.

The docent teams play an important role as they show students how to prepare for clinical rotations. Starting in the middle of their second-year, students begin clinical practice in outpatient clinics. They spend half a day every week training and learning from physicians in various clinical affiliates throughout the state. However, in the first year, students begin their studies with the Human Structure Function, which comes in 52 four-week blocks covering all the normal and abnormal functions of various systems of the body.

Other longitudinal courses that begin in the first year and continue on into the second include the Clinical Practice of Medicine and Pharmacology. The Continuing Care Clinic, which is the course that introduces first-year students to early clinical experiences, is one longitudinal course that runs all four years. The Docent Rotations, where students are paired into their study groups and go into real-world clinics, begin in the second year.

They continue into the third and fourth years as they flow into the school’s version of clinical rotations. Students begin rotations in family medicine and surgery, and add other primary care specialties such as psychiatry, pediatrics and OB/GYN in the successive months. The Continuing Care Clinic continues being an important feature of the curriculum as students are encouraged to maintain their clinical skills and develop patient-bonding abilities.

Along with the medical science, and doctoring skills courses, students are supposed to take up to seven electives in their final year, which can include anything from medical humanities to art and music therapy. One of these required medical school electives must be in critical care, as emergency medicine is one of the last rotations students take in the fourth year.

The Docent model used by the UMKC-SOM enables students to participate in other aspects of health care, namely, research and service. Their pairing with experienced medical professionals, and other experts means they have direct contact with faculty who can suggest and nurture research interests. Students who decide to undertake research projects in any phase of medical school can present their findings at an annual Student Research Summit.

At the same time, students also have the opportunity to give back to the Kansas City community, throughout their four years. Many students begin their clinical experiences by assisting in the university’s many free outpatient clinics, such as the student-run Sojourner Clinic and the Kansas City Free Eye Clinic.

2. Four-Year MD Program at St. Joseph

The UMKC-SOM also hosts a four-year MD program at its satellite campus at St. Joseph. This branch is where students interested in rural medicine apply to attend the school’s rural-centered curriculum and training facilities, including the Mosaic Life Care, one of the best-rated rural hospitals in the country. Students enrolled at the St. Joseph campus must apply through a special Rural Medicine Pathway Program, which recruits undergraduate students from rural and tribal communities to become doctors. 

3. Medical Scholars Program

The Medical Scholars Program is designed for undergraduate students from 12 different partner universities in and around Missouri to access the school’s medical program directly from college. Students admitted to the program must earn the bachelor’s degree before entering the medical school, and must also meet the medical school requirements such as taking the MCAT and submitting personal statements to enter the MD program.

4. BA/MD Program

The famed six-year combined BA/MD accelerated pathway is based on the military model of training doctors, which was how one of the founders of the UMKC-SOM, E. Grey Dimond, MD, was trained. Dr. Dimond borrowed that model to combine medical school training with a liberal arts education so students have a humanitarian principles and ideals integrated into basic medical sciences.

Students can choose to take their undergraduate degree in several areas from liberal arts or science-based degrees, such as chemistry or biology. The focus of the first two years of the program skews towards the bachelor degree elements, while basic medical sciences take up only one-fourth of student’s time. As students progress, the medical science training intensifies, and students take more focus solely on their medical degree in the last four years.

Campus and Faculty

The main Kansas City campus is made up of eighteen different buildings ranging from the School of Medicine and School of Dentistry buildings and the various teaching hospitals located on the premises such as the Truman Medical Center and the Children’s Mercy Hospital. The St. Jospeh campus has rural surroundings but is still home to several new, state-of-the-art training facilities and the largest network of primary care rural hospitals in the state.

Affiliated Teaching Hospitals

  • University Health Truman Medical Center
  • University Health Lakewood Medical Center 
  • Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City
  • Children’s Mercy Kansas City
  • Center for Behavioral Medicine
  • Mosaic Life Care – St. Joseph, MO
  • Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Research Medical Center

Research Fields

The school participates in research that covers several areas of medicine, health care, biomedical science and population health. There are over 20 endowed research chairs leading research in an array of fields ranging from patient safety and quality of care to cardiology, cell biology and general surgery. The school also has researchers investigating advances in medical informatics, pediatrics, and radiology.

Notable Faculty

1. Mark Hoffman, PhD

Adjunct Associate Professor, Research Associate Professor, Director - Translational Bioinformatics - Children’s Mercy Kansas City

Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Pediatrics, Children's Mercy Hospital

2. Peter Koulen, PhD, FARVO

Professor, Felix and Carmen Sabates / Missouri Endowed Chair in Vision Research, Director of Basic Research, Vision Research Center

Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences, Ophthalmology

3. John Q. Wang, MD, PhD

Professor, Westport Anesthesia / Missouri Endowed Chair for Research

Department(s) of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Science

4. Michael Wacker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Vice-chair of Biomedical Science

Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences

5. Emily A. Hillman, MD, MPHE

Associate Professor, Medical Ed Fellowship Director, Associate EM Residency Program Director, Director of Simulation Education

Contact Information

UMKC School of Medicine

2411 Holmes Street

Kansas City, Missouri 64108

Phone: 816-235-1808

Office of Admissions

email: [email protected]



1. What is the mission of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine?

The UMKC-SOM's mission is to take care of the health of everyone through advances in research and medical education but it has strict residency admission requirements to allow more Missouri residents to become doctors. 

2. Do I need to take the MCAT and submit my scores?

The school requires all applicants to submit their most recent MCAT score, and it has a minimum MCAT (495) to apply and all applicants must meet the threshold to have their application reviewed and considered. 

3. What is the minimum GPA requirement?

The UMKC-SOM has two GPA requirements for in-state and out-of-state applicants. In-state applicants must have a 3.0 GPA to apply, but out-of-state applicants must have a 3.5 GPA to be considered for the medical school. 

4. What kind of degree do I need to get into UMKC-SOM?

All applicants to the UMKC-SOM must hold a bachelor's degree either when they apply or earn one by the time they matriculate into the school. 

5. Are there prerequisite courses I have to take?

The school has a short list of prerequisites that cover only three science-based subjects such as biochemistry, genetics and cell biology. 

6. How can I apply to UMKC-SOM?

The UMKC-SOM participates in the AMCAS application service. All primary applications are submitted online. The first part of the secondary application is available online and applicants are able to complete it after the submit their primary application. Once the school receives the first part of the secondary application, the school sends applicants a link to complete the second part of the application. 

7. How much does one year at UMKC-SOM cost?

The UMKC-SOM is a public, state institution so it has two different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students. One full year of medical school for in-state students costs $66,824, while one full year for out-of-state students costs $85,541. 

8. Is it hard to get into UMKC-SOM?

The UMKC-SOM is a state school so it shows preference to students from Missouri and surrounding states, therefore, the remaining spots for out-of-state applicants is extremely competitive. Out-of-state students must show demonstrate their strong desire to live up to the school’s mission and values to have a chance to get in, so unless the UMKC-SOM has a feature that is unavailable anywhere else, it’s better to apply somewhere else, especially if you are out-of-state. 

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Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results.

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