The University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine (UNLV) recently renamed the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine, is the newest medical school in Nevada and only the second allopathic school with Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine being the state’s osteopathic medical school. The UNLV also recently opened its newest building on campus, the Medical Education Building, which is the school’s new permanent headquarters and latest addition to its medical training facilities. This article will detail other highlights about the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine, present writing samples and give you more expert tips on how to make your medical school application stand out.

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Article Contents
12 min read

Mission Statement University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine Admissions Statistics Eligibility University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine Selection Factors Interview Format Acceptance and Waitlist Information Application Timeline Tuition and Debt Funding Opportunities Residency Match Rates Review of Available Programs University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine Campus and Faculty Affiliated Teaching Hospital Research Fields Notable Faculty Contact Information FAQs

Mission Statement

“The Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV will serve our patients, students, medical professionals, and community as a transformational force for improving healthcare in Nevada. This is accomplished by delivering evidence-based, innovative centers of excellence in medical education and research, coupled with cost-effective, high-quality care that improves the health of our community members throughout their lifespan, becoming an integral contributor to an Academic Health Center, and creating a culture of collaboration through inclusion and excellence.”

The newly christened Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine has a mission to excel in all aspects of health care, from education and training to research and health care delivery. Another of the school’s goals is to create a hub of scientific and research excellence in Nevada, bringing together homegrown and global talent.

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University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine Admissions Statistics

Overall Acceptance Rate: 4%

In-State Acceptance Rate: 17%

Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 0.5%

Average MCAT of Incoming Students: 510

Average GPA of Incoming Students: 3.80

Preference for master’s or PhD: No

  Experience of Accepted Medical School Applicants


The UNLV is a state medical school so it shows preference for Nevada residents, although out-of-state applicants are still welcome, especially from surrounding, Western states such as California, Oregon, Idaho and Utah. However, the school cautions applicants from non-Western states and all non-resident applicants that they will not be viewed favorably during the application process, especially if they have no ties to the state.

The school received more applications from out-of-state applicants than in-state, but non-residents must demonstrate their ties to Nevada in some way either in their personal statement or medical school secondary essays. A “strong tie” can be anything from having previously lived in Nevada for more than 12 months, having family members or spouses living in the state or having graduated from a Nevada secondary or post-secondary school.

International students who do not have a US bachelor’s degree can earn a graduate degree and complete the medical school prerequisites in the US to qualify for the school. But, all applicants, must either have US citizenship or permanent residency, although, DACA applicants may be admitted on a case-by-case basis. 

University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine Selection Factors


Minimum MCAT to Apply: 499

Minimum GPA to Apply: 3.2

The UNLV is not among the medical schools that don’t require MCAT, as it even has a minimum score for applicants to apply. The school requires all applicants to submit their most recent score, although they can also submit MCAT scores no older than three years. For applicants who are worried about how to get into medical school with a low GPA, the school suggests they enroll in post-bac programs for medical school, or undertake independent learning to increase their GPA. An applicant must have a minimum of 30 post-bac credits to have their post-bac GPA considered over their undergrad, but the school suggests applicants take even more credits (50 or 60) to increase their chances of getting a higher GPA. All post-bac courses must be from accredited institutions in the US.

Coursework and Undergrad

All applicants to the UNLV must have a full bachelor’s degree to apply. There is no preference for the major and students from various backgrounds are encouraged to apply, so there is a way for how to get into medical school without a science background. Whatever the degree it must be from an accredited US institution, but the school will also accept any course work done online or at a community college.

Prerequisites and Recommended Courses

The school has a short list of medical school prerequisites focused mostly on science subjects, but also has a social science component. The school will recognize and accept pass/fail grades for any course work completed during the spring and summer of 2020, but all other completed course work must come with a letter grade and from an accredited US institution.

  • 3 semester of Biology (one semester of lab work)
  • 1 semester of Biochemistry
  • 1 semester of Social & Behavioral Science

The school also provide applicants with unofficial confirmation of their completion the prerequisites if they email an unofficial transcript to the Office of Admissions. So, any applicants who are unsure if they have completed the prerequisites can send in their course catalog or unofficial transcripts to have them verified.

AMCAS Work and Activities

The UNLV uses the AMCAS application service that serves all allopathic medical schools in the US, save medical schools in Texas who use the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service (TMDSAS). All applicants must apply for the UNLV through the AMCAS online application portal and upload other documents such as their MCAT scores and letters of recommendation.

Although it plays no part in the decision-making process, the AMCAS application serves to give the Office of Admissions a more candid, and in-depth portrait of applicants, aside from grades and test scores. A complete AMCAS application requires applicants to write a 5300-character Personal Comments essay, similar to a medical school personal statement, and also complete the AMCAS Work and Activities and AMCAS Most Meaningful Experience sections.

These two sections are mandatory and all applicants must complete them. In fact, the school also requires having a multi-year experience in community or clinical service with the latter having some interaction with physicians, staff and patients.

The Work and Activities part features 15 individual spaces where an applicant can describe an important event in their past where they embodied the qualities central to becoming a physician, such as altruism, leadership, critical thinking and compassion. Applicants are given 700 characters to briefly describe the experience, its context and its impact, if any, on the applicant’s personal development.

Personal Statement

A medical school personal statement is another required part of the AMCAS application. Students are encouraged to write about their motivations for attending medical school and becoming a doctor, but can also expand more about what led them to make the decision and how they see themselves as future doctors. The school suggests that applicants write about “supportive experiences” that made them decide to become doctors along with describing actions they’ve taken to ensure their success.

Secondary Essays

Only applicants who have met the school’s entrance requirements (minimum MCAT and GPA) will be sent a secondary application, after submitting their primary. The school sends qualified applicants a link to create an account with its own applicant portal, where applicants will find the secondary application materials, which consist of a series of medical school secondary essay prompts.

Secondary essays are useful for Admissions Committees in that they provide a window onto a candidate’s suitability for the medical school, regarding their personal values and attributes. The UNLV, being a state school, also uses the secondary application to determine a candidate’s ties to the state, especially if they are a non-resident.

University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine (250 words each)

  1. Describe how your background and future goals will contribute to the mission of the UNLV School of Medicine.
  2. Briefly discuss how you envision yourself contributing to the care of our growing and diverse population in the state of Nevada.
  3. Provide a BRIEF chronological summary of your time since graduating from high school up to the point of applying to medical school.
  4. (OPTIONAL) You are welcome to share with the Admissions Committee any disruptions or impact to your application components, the application process, and/or your personal life due to COVID-19. This field is not required.
  5. (OPTIONAL) If you have any other information, you believe is important for the Admissions Committee to consider, please include it here. Do not restate information already in your primary AMCAS application.

Recommendation Letters

The UNLV has standard medical school recommendation letter requirements and it requires all applicants to submit up to five letters but a minimum of three. The Admissions Committee allows an applicant to submit only one letter with their primary application, but must deliver the rest with the secondary application to be considered for an interview. The school will accept a single pre-medical advisory committee letter in lieu of three individual letters.

The letters must be written on official stationery with contact information visible. UNLV recommends that letter writers talk about a candidate’s suitability for the medical profession based on their personal experiences with the candidate. The school also warns against writers repeating information (test scores, academic achievements) already mentioned in other parts of their application.

Interview Format

The University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine is not a medical school that uses MMI, but it has created its own interview format that blends synchronous and asynchronous elements. Only qualified applicants will be invited to interview. They will be sent a link to the one-way, asynchronous video interview that is a standardized test akin to MMI, as your answers will also be graded.

This video interview must be completed before the next stage of the interview process, which is a virtual, one-on-one interview with an Admissions Committee member, which is also graded. Then, all interviewees will attend a virtual information session with current medical students, who will not ask any direct questions of interviewees, but will, nevertheless, remark to the Admission Committee any thoughts they have about individual candidates. The final virtual event of Interview Day is a 90-minute presentation with school administrators, wherein they will take questions and give answers to all interviewees.

University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself.”
  2. Why should we choose you?
  3. Why do you want to be a doctor?

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

After interviews are complete, the Admissions Committee begins meeting monthly starting in mid-October to make final decisions about all applicants. The school uses a rolling admissions policy to notify candidates and they are notified based on when they submitted both applications. As it sends out decisions, the school also builds its medical school waitlist by notifying candidates of their waitlist status; waitlisted candidates can decline or accept being placed on the waitlist.

Once all notifications have been set out, the school then notifies applicants of their waitlist status by April. This coincides with the date when admitted applicants must accept or decline their offers. As admitted applicants decline, waitlisted applicants are admitted.

The waitlist numbers anywhere between 70-100 applicants every cycle, although there are no figures on how many are admitted to the waitlist. All applicants declined either an interview or admittance are encouraged to participate in a one-on-one phone call with the director of Admissions. The director will provide individual feedback and counsel applicants on how to reapply, if they wish to reapply.

Application Timeline

Primary AMCAS Application Deadline: October 1

Secondary Application Deadline: 14 days after receiving secondary application

Schools that participate in the AMCAS application service often advise applicants to submit as early as possible, well before the actual deadline. UNLV recommends students send their application as early as possible, preferably in the summer when the AMCAS application window opens. If candidates meet the requirements for applying, they will be sent a secondary application sometime in July, and will have two weeks after that date to submit it.

Tuition and Debt

In-State Tuition: $29,504

Out-of-State Tuition: $61,193

Average Yearly Cost-of-Living Expenses: $43,618

Average Debt of Graduating Students: $107,412

Funding Opportunities

Admitted students have several ways to help pay for medical school tuition, medical school housing and other associated medical school costs. The school provides all admitted students the Kerkorian School of Medicine Application for Scholarships, which they must submit along with other admittance documentation such as a completed FAFSA application to be eligible for internal medical school scholarships. Students do not have to apply separately to any internal scholarships, but are welcome to search for other forms of assistance for how to pay for medical school.

Residency Match Rates

The most recent class of UNLV graduates celebrated a perfect match rate as all 66 students successfully matched into their preferred residency programs as listed on their rank order list. The graduates matched into various specialties into schools and hospitals all around the country. Only 38% of graduates opted to stay in Nevada to complete their residency training, while other chose to go into programs hosted by prestigious schools such as Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Mayo Medical School, and the Baylor College of Medicine. The most popular residencies were in primary care, as 15 students chose an internal medicine residency and 11 chose a family medicine residency.

Review of Available Programs

1. Four-Year MD Program

The University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine has a traditionally divided medical school curriculum, but its design and format are unique. All students are instructed with a problem-based learning method that emphasizes investigating a patient the way a real medical doctor would. This method gives students an integrated perspective of human health, in that, by exploring a patient’s case they also learn about key systems of the body, abnormalities and any external, societal factors that could impact the patient’s health.

Patient models are also paired with virtual lessons exploring intricate systems of the body and traditional, in-person lectures from expert medical faculty. The first and second years are also where students start a research project under the supervision of a specific adviser, which is something that students work on through the duration of their four years. After the second year, students begin a uniquely structured clerkship phase that is longitudinal rather than divided into blocks as in other medical school curricula.

This re-design was done to prevent students from forgetting skills and training learned in early clerkships, when they are completing their clerkship phase. Rather than divided into individual blocks, all six core clerkships are broken up into 22 different threads that are taken side-by-side and throughout the duration of the two clerkship years, which culminates with students taking the USMLE Step 1. The final phase of the UNLV curriculum is the Career Exploration and Scholarship phase where students find out how to choose a medical specialty, complete the final three required clerkships, and present their Capstone project. 


The UNLV School of Public Health offers this PhD degree program in conjunction with the School of Medicine and lets accepted students choose from five distinct tracks involving public health:

  • Social & Behavioral Health
  • Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Healthcare Administration and Policy
  • Biostatistics and Epidemiology
  • Generalist Track

Interested students must apply in their third year, as the graduate section of the degree is done between the third and final year of medical school. Admission to the program requires a separate application and students must submit a completed application form, personal statement, letters of recommendation, but MCAT score or any standardized test result (GRE, LSAT).


The only other dual-degree program currently offered by the KSOM, this dual MBA program focuses on the financial and business side of medicine. MD/MBA holders are suited for leaderships and executive positions in various health-care related fields such as hospital administrators, bio-tech startups, and private medical clinics. Applicants interested in this program must apply after their third year and complete their graduate requirements at the Lee Business School.

University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine Campus and Faculty

The UNLV medical school is located with the five stories of the newly constructed Medical Education Building. The first floor consists of the school’s simulation labs and patient examination rooms, along with other teaching facilities such as lecture halls, seminar rooms and study areas. The 135,000 square foot building is located within the larger Las Vegas Medical District that also comprises the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada and the Valley Hospital Medical Center. The third and remaining floors are where the office of Admissions and school administration offices are located, along with more classroom and instruction space.

Affiliated Teaching Hospital

  • University Medical Center of Southern Nevada
  • Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
  • VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System
  • Mike O'Callaghan Federal Hospital
  • Nathan Adelson Hospice
  • Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada
  • Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Research Fields

The UNLV is currently building its research capacities and continues to increase its ability to perform state-of-the-art research within the Las Vegas Medical District. The one area of research that the school has begun serious investigation is couples and family counseling to support its Center for Individual, Couple & Family Counseling. The center is intended for use by the UNLV Marriage and Family Therapy Program, which trains students on the fineries in family therapy while also providing a cost-effective therapy for Las Vegas residents.

Notable Faculty

Contact Information

University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine


625 Shadow Ln

Las Vegas, NV 89106

United States




Office of Admissions


mailto:[email protected]


1. What is the mission of the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Medicine?

The mission of the young school is to build itself as a premier medical education, research and patient care network, building upon the already established medical infrastructure surrounding it. The UNLV is one of the newest medical schools in the country so it is still working on establishing itself as a major academic and scientific hub. 

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

Yes, the UNLV requires all applicants to submit their most recent MCAT scores, and it requires all applicants to have a score of 499 or higher. 

3. What is the minimum GPA requirement?

All applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 to be considered. Applicants must take at least 50-60 post-bac credits to substitute for a non-competitive GPA. 

4. What kind of degree do I need to get into UNLV?

The school requires all students have a full bachelor’s degree from a US school by the time they apply or when they matriculate. International or Canadian students must obtain a graduate degree in the US to be considered and also have US citizenship or permanent residency. 

5. Are there prerequisite courses I have to take?

The school has three prerequisite courses which is three semesters of chemistry, and one semester each of biochemistry and social science. 

6. How can I apply to UNLV?

The school participates in the AMCAS application service, but all only applicants who meet the minimum MCAT and GPA requirements will be sent a secondary application. 

7. How much does one year at UNLV cost?

UNLV is a public school so it has different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students. A full-year of medical school including tuition and all other expenses costs an estimated $81,634 for residents, and $112,400 for non-residents. 

8. Is it hard to get into UNLV?

UNLV is a state school so it has a preference for Nevada residents or anyone from surrounding states with ties to the school or Nevada. The school is upfront about how out-of-state students from outside of the region will not advance far, so if this applies to you, then you may be better off applying elsewhere to an out-of-state friendly medical school

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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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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