University of Kentucky Medical School College of Medicine

The medical profession needs individuals from a variety of backgrounds with diverse interests and talents. While the philosophies and goals vary among the nation's medical schools, all recognize the importance of a broad education – one with a strong foundation in the sciences blended with the social sciences and the humanities.

Unbeknownst to many college students, there is no such thing as the 'best' major for those bound for medical school. Admissions committees welcome students whose intellectual curiosity leads them to a wide variety of disciplines. And no ... you won't necessarily be at a disadvantage if you choose to major in English, for example, rather than biology. Using just one measure, those of MCAT scores, you may be surprised to learn that there is very little difference in median total scores among those who major in the humanities, social sciences, and biological sciences.
- Association of American Medical Colleges

Pre-Med Coursework

A thorough understanding of the sciences basic to medicine is necessary for the entering medical student. In order to achieve a minimum level of understanding, medical schools generally require the following:

  • Two semesters of biology with laboratories
  • Two semesters of general chemistry with laboratories
  • Two semesters of organic chemistry with laboratories
  • Two semesters of physics which include laboratory work
  • Two semesters of English with emphasis on communication skills

While only a few medical schools actually require a specific mathematics sequence, all value competence in mathematics and many require or strongly recommend mathematics courses. Mathematics courses provide the foundation for understanding rigorous courses in chemistry, physics, and biology. 

First Year

  • CHE 105 General Chemistry I / CHE 111 General Chemistry Lab 1
  • CHE 107 General Chemistry II / CHE 113 General Chemistry Lab II
  • BIO 148 Principles of Biology 1 / BIO 155 Principles of Bio Lab I
  • BIO 152 Principles of Biology II may be taken the first or second year
  • UKCore Composition and Communication I and II 
  • Mathematics as needed for major. Suggested: MA 123 or MA 137 or MA 113.
Second Year
  • CHE 230 Organic Chemistry I / CHE 231 Organic Chemistry Lab 1
  • CHE 232 Organic Chemistry II / CHE 233 Organic Chemistry Lab II
  • Upper division BIO class with lab
Third Year 
  • PHY 211 General Physics I and PHY 213 General Physics II 
    - or - 
  • PHY 231 General University Physics / PHY 241 General Univ. Physics Lab I
  • PHY 232 General University Physics II / PHY 242 General Univ. Physics Lab II
Additional required or recommended courses may include biochemistry (BCH 401 G), genetics (BIO 304), cell biology (BIO315), immunology (BIO 494 G), microbiology (BIO 208 or 308), histology (BIO 542) and physiology (PGY 412G or BIO 350). These courses are strongly recommend in consideration of changes in the 2015 MCAT, along with coursework in statistics, psychology and sociology.

Applying to Medical School

Students apply to medical schools through The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) for allopathic medical schools and The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOMAS) for osteopathic medical schools. Centralized applications simplify the process by requiring applicants to submit only one set of application materials. There are a few U.S. schools that do not participate in a centralized application (you apply to those schools directly).

The AMCAS or AACOMAS application is available on the website around May of each year. The earliest the completed AMCAS can be sent in is June 1. Applying early (between June 1 and July 15 or so) means that your application will get to the medical schools early for their consideration. In any case, be sure you send it in before the application deadlines at the schools where you're applying.

Application Fee Assistance is available. Students may apply for waivers through The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) or AACOMAS Fee Assistance Program (FAP) but be aware that application deadlines come early. Refer to the application website for more information.

The MCAT is the required entrance exam for medical school. It aids medical schools in identifying medical school candidates who are broadly educated in the social sciences and humanities as well as the sciences. The MCAT  assesses "problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine." 

In April 2015, the AAMC launched a new version of the MCAT exam. Scores are reported in four sections:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems

  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems

  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior

  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

The MCAT is taken when you have completed, or have in progress, all the premed prerequisite courses (general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology and physics). Registration for the MCAT is only done online. For registration and administration dates visit the MCAT website.

Preparation for the exam can be in a number of ways. There are professional preparatory courses, prep books, and software available. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) sells several full-length practice exams. Becoming familiar with the exam itself is very important to a student's success. An individual's method of preparation should consider your learning style, organizational ability, self-discipline, and finances. MCAT preparation varies from one individual to another.

Because medical and other state-funded education is heavily taxpayer-supported, public medical, dental and other professional schools give a high percentage of their slots to residents of their home state. Your best odds will be to apply to the public-supported schools of your state of residence. Kentuckians will want to apply to the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville medical schools. Medical school applicants whose official state of residence is elsewhere would apply to the public schools in that state. Use the MSAR book and information gained from websites to determine the in-state/out-of-state admits, and the average GPA and MCAT scores for students admitted to various schools. Consider location, programs, tuition, and where you think you will likely practice.

Essays are a very important part of your application to medical school. Take time to think carefully about who you are and what experiences have shaped your life.

How have you come to this point of seeking a career in medicine?

Admissions officers want to learn more of who you are. Your essay should be so much "you" that no one else could have written it.

In addition to careful attention to content, please be sure that your essay is error-free. Seek feedback from various professionals, and have someone proof your essay to ensure that spelling and grammar are correct.

In most cases, official copies of your transcript(s) need to be sent directly to centralized application, unless otherwise noted. Make sure to check the application instructions. Transcripts can be requested from the Registrar's Office. A transcript from each and every post-secondary school you have attended must be submitted. Besides your UK transcript, be sure to request official ones from any community college or 4-year institution where you attempted or earned credit, any college from which you earned credit while in high school, correspondence programs, summer programs, military education, etc.

You will need personal copies of your transcripts for use in completing the academic portion of your application. Review them carefully to be certain that all coursework and grades are recorded accurately.