Is KCU a Good Medical School? (Major Pros & Cons)

Founded in 1916, Kansas City University (KCU) ranked number one for first-attempt pass rates on the COMLEX nationwide in 2018. But how does it fare in recent times? And does it live up to its mission of being “committed to excellence in education, research, patient care and community service?”

Is KCU A Good Medical School?

KCU is a good medical school. Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences was one of the first schools of osteopathic medicine in the U.S. It is still one of the most popular universities for studying biomedical sciences and osteopathology. It also features a high graduation rate. 

In this article, I will tell you more about KCU and the programs it offers, the requirements for application, their acceptance rates and tuition, and all of the pros and cons of choosing this school. I’ll also share some reviews from current and former students so that you can determine whether KCU seems like it will be the best medical school for you. 

Interested in learning more about specific medical school pros and cons? Check out our Medical School Guides here – we cover all osteopathic (DO) and allopathic (MD) schools.

KCU Medical School Admission Requirements

KCU has two colleges with four graduate programs

  • The College of Osteopathic Medicine. This college offers a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program with the option to attain a dual degree in Bioethics, Public Health, and Health Care Leadership.
  • The College of Biomedical Sciences. This college offers a Doctorate in Psychology and a Master’s in Biomedical Sciences. 

The College of Osteopathic Medicine, which only offers a Doctorate track, is much more selective than the college of Biomedical Sciences. Accordingly, each college and degree path requires that you meet some specific requirements you must meet before applying. 

So, let’s look at the admission requirements for applying to each program at KCU.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine

KCU’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program is one of the best in the country, making it one of their most popular degree tracks. 

If admitted to the College of Osteopathic medicine, you can choose to earn a dual degree. These programs allow you to get a Master’s in Bioethics, Public Health, or Health Care Leadership while you complete the work for your Osteopathology Doctorate. 

To apply to this program, you will need: 

  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • MCAT test results that are no older than three years. 
  • Experience in healthcare from volunteering, internships, job shadowing, or work. 
  • One letter of recommendation from an M.D. or D.O.
  • One recommendation letter from a pre-med advisor, science professor, or pre-med committee. 
  • Specific coursework, all completed with a grade of C or higher. 

The coursework necessary for an application to the Osteopathic Medicine program is: 

  • Twelve hours of courses in biological sciences. 
  • Three hours of courses in biochemistry. 
  • Thirteen hours of courses in chemistry. 
  • Eight hours of courses in physics. 

Master of Biomedical Science

The Master of Biomedical Sciences program is a bit easier to get into than the Osteopathy program at KCU. This program offers research and non-research tracks.

The research tracks offer facilities for students to conduct research, while the non-research path is ideal for students who need more pre-med experience before joining a doctoral program. 

All you need to apply is: 

  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A “competitive” GPA, with a preference for a cumulative or science-based GPA of over 3.0.
  • Coursework entailing 12 hours of biological sciences, 13 hours of chemistry, and 8 hours of physics. 

Test scores are an optional component of an application to this program. However, KCU will accept MCAT, GRE, and DAT scores. 

Doctor of Psychology Program

To enter the Doctor of Psychology program, you need: 

  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher. 
  • GRE scores. 
  • Completion of Introduction to General Psychology, Human Growth & Development or Personality Theory, and Statistics courses with a grade of C or higher. 
  • A resume or CV illustrates your interest in the mental health field.  

If accepted to the program, you may need to provide more documents, including a writing sample. 

KCU Acceptance Rate

KCU falls into the upper tier of medical schools and is selective. Their acceptance rate is 20%, so you may want to have some safety schools on your list instead of setting your heart on attending KCU.

Kansas City University generally only admits students with a GPA of over 3.6 and MCAT scores greater than 507. While KCU specifies that they may accept people with GPAs and MCAT scores lower than these values, they rarely do, especially if you apply to the college of Osteopathic Medicine. 

To learn more about acceptance rates at schools of Osteopathic Medicine and see how KCU stacks up, check out this video from Micheal Mazur, a student of Biomedical Science: 

KCU’s Match Data

If you are worried about finding a residency after you graduate, KCU is a safe choice. 

KCU participates in the National Residency Match Program, and students matriculating from KCU have the opportunity to move on to some of the best hospitals in the USA. 

These residency placements include programs at George Washington University, University of Chicago, Emory University, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and UCLA Medical Center, among others. 

Of those 361 graduating students who applied to the Residency Match Program in 2021, 100% received a placement. Students went on to residencies in 27 different specialties, with the most popular specialty being internal medicine. Other popular residencies among KCU grads include ones in emergency and family medicine. 

KCU has a diverse network of universities where they place graduates, with the matches representing over 40 states in 2022. So, if you are hoping to make a move after you earn your degree, KCU will ensure that you have plenty of opportunities beyond state lines. 

Kansas City University Tuition

Medical school can be costly, but luckily, KCU will not be as hard on your budget as other medical schools. 

According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Kansas City University’s average tuition is $50,108 per semester (though this number fluctuates yearly). 

When you add up the cost of books, room and board, and personal money, the price per semester is about $75,443, or $301,772 for four years of education. 

While that number may seem intimidating, the cost of attending KCU is lower than that of most other medical colleges with similar degree programs. 

Related: How Do Medical Students Pay For Living Expenses? (Crucial Money Saving Tips)

The national average tuition for attending a school of osteopathic medicine per semester is $53,633, and the estimated overall cost of a 4-year education at one of these institutions is $327,977. So, you can expect some savings when attending this college. 

The lower-than-average price of attending KCU, coupled with its excellent reputation for high achievement and job placement, is one factor that attracts many potential students. 

Does KCU Accept AP Credits? 

KCU does not accept AP credits since they are a medical school. KCU only offers graduate courses, so they will use your college transcript and GPA to determine your eligibility for admission. 

Once you earn your Bachelor’s degree, you won’t ever need to worry about those AP credits again. So, regardless of whether you have earned AP credits in the past, KCU will only look at your college transcript and see if you gained credit to verify your GPA and course hours in college. 

Related: Do Medical Schools Accept Community College Credits? (Explained!)

Does Kansas City University Offer Scholarships?

Kansas City University offers scholarships. KCU offers several program-specific scholarships that are one-time or four-year awards for first-year and current students. These awards can be up to $10,000 each. 

Some scholarships available for students in the College of Osteopathic Medicine include: 

  • The President’s Scholarship. This scholarship awards $10,00 to the ten incoming students with the highest academic merit. 
  • The Diversity Scholarship. Applicants from underrepresented minorities can receive partial-tuition scholarships. If you receive this scholarship, you can renew it for three more years. 
  • The KCU-COM Service Leadership Scholarship. This scholarship is for one student from the incoming class who displays financial need and who has an exemplary record of service in a field related to healthcare. 

Similar scholarships are available for incoming and current students in the Doctorate of Psychology program. 

Veterans are also eligible for scholarships and loan repayment via their branch of service. 

To learn more about the scholarships available at KCU, you can find a thorough list on their website

Is Kansas City University Good? 

Kansas City University is good for students who wish to study osteopathology, medical ethics, psychology, and biomedical science. This college offers world-class professors, a state-of-the-art campus, and an 84.39% average graduation rate. 

So, let’s look at the pros and cons to see if KCU might be a good fit for you. 

The Pros

  • It has a fantastic Match program.
  • The professors are highly rated.
  • KCU’s mission is to become the most student-driven medical school, and it places importance on its students’ needs and wants. 
  • KCU recently renovated the campus, and it includes excellent facilities.
  • Classes are organized into cohorts who take the same classes together. 
  • KCU offers clerkships for your last two years, which may occur in Kansas City or elsewhere in the USA. 
  • Students participate in Score 1 for Health, a program that offers free health screenings at local elementary schools. 
  • KCU students rank very high on the Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam. 
  • 84% of first-year students graduate within five years.
  • KCU admits an average of 223 students per class year.

The Cons

  • The curriculum is rigorous.
  • KCU is selective. 
  • Some lectures may be large, with over 200 people per class. 
  • The degree programs may be limiting for some students.

Student and Graduate Reviews of KCU

KCU ranks high as a school of osteopathic medicine and biomedical science. In 2021, The Journal of the American Medical Association classified it as the 9th most impactful medical school in the nation.

Forum reviews from websites like Grad Reports reveal a high level of satisfaction from graduates. Graduates from KCU rave about the school’s excellent faculty, who take a student-centric approach and work closely with their students. 

Likewise, students often note that the facilities are superb. One of the favorites among current students is the Kansas city campus’ new Center for Medical Education Innovation, which features many advanced technological tools for students to experiment with.   

However, the common thread in every review from KCU students is the sense of community on campus. KCU offers some of the best student engagement resources, from counselors and groups to learning enhancement specialists who will help you develop the study techniques you need to succeed in medical school. 

Many alums express that they felt cared for and like they had found a family at KCU. So, if you want to feel comfortable and supported while studying, KCU might be your best choice.