University Requirements

General Education

UMKC Essentials is the university-wide curriculum that all undergraduate students will complete. The 30-credit hour program includes a First Year Experience course; three critical thinking courses in the areas of Arts & Humanities, Natural & Physical Sciences, and Social & Behavioral Sciences; a Culture and Diversity course; a Civic & Urban Engagement course; two courses in Composition and one course in Communication; and a Math Pathway course.

Constitution Course 

Every undergraduate student must take a course covering the United States Constitution and the Missouri State Constitution before graduation. Course options are included in the program requirements section below.

Exit Examinations

Information on exit examinations is available in the Undergraduate Academic Regulations and Information section of the catalog.

Missouri Higher Education Civics Achievement Examination

In accordance with Missouri Senate Bill 807 (section 170.013.1), 'any student entering a public institution of higher education for the first time after July 2019 who is pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree from such institution shall successfully pass an examination on the provisions and principles of American civics with a score of seventy percent or greater as a condition of graduation from such institution'.  To satisfy this requirement at UMKC, students access the exam through the Canvas site. This requirement will be listed in the degree audit system as, 'Take State Mandated Missouri Higher Education Civics Achievement Examination', and listed on the transcript as 'Missouri Civics Examination'.   

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • Analyze the experience, contributions, and condition of African-descent peoples in the evolution and formation of American society and culture.
  • Examine the active role of Africa and the African Diaspora in global society and human culture.
  • Apply Black Studies curriculum as a critical tool to analyze the human experience generally.
  • Compare the breadth and depth of perspectives that give respect and voice to the Black experience.
  • Apply social science and humanistic approaches to examine human society and culture.
  • Demonstrate professional written and oral communication skills.

Program Requirements

UMKC Essentials

First Semester Experience Course (GEFSE)3
Written Communication:
ENGLISH 110English I: Introduction To Academic Prose3
ENGLISH 225English II: Intermediate Academic Prose3
Oral Communication (choose one of the following):3
Fundamentals Of Effective Speaking And Listening
Principles Of Communication
Argumentation And Debate (offered via dual credit only)
Interpersonal Communication
Math Pathway (choose one of the following):3
Mathematics For Liberal Arts
Statistical Reasoning
Precalculus Algebra
Precalculus (5 credit hours)
Any 200-level MATH or STAT course
ACT Math Subscore of 28 or higher; or SAT Math Subscore of 660 or higher
Critical Thinking in Arts & Humanities (GECRT-AH)3
Critical Thinking in Natural & Physical Sciences (GECRT-SC)3
Critical Thinking in Social & Behavioral Sciences (GECRT-SS)3
Culture & Diversity Course (GECDV)3
Civic & Urban Engagement Course (GECUE)3
Total Credits30

Constitution Course Requirement

Section 170.011.1 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, 2015, states that all candidates for a degree issued by a college or university in the state of Missouri must have “satisfactorily passed an examination on the provisions and principles of the Constitution of the United States and of the state of Missouri, and in American history and American institutions.” 

Courses at UMKC that satisfy this state requirement are:

Choose one of the following:3
The Supreme Court And The Criminal Process
U.S. History to 1877
U.S. History Since 1877
Honors American Government
American Government
Total Credits3

There are a few other ways this requirement can be satisfied for students transferring to UMKC:

  • Take an equivalent course from the list above at a regionally accredited institution.
  • Earn credit for one of the above courses through AP, IB, or CLEP.
  • Take a course that directly satisfies the Missouri Constitution Requirement at another Missouri institution.
  • Have a previous bachelors degree (or higher) from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Have an Associate of Arts degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Complete the 42 Hour Core at a Missouri institution and have it listed on the official transcript.

College of Arts & Sciences Degree Requirements

Students pursuing the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees must complete a major. Students pursuing the bachelor of liberal arts degree must complete a minor. Additional details are available in the Student Services section of the catalog.

Writing Intensive Course (300-level or above); Satisfied in program requirements below
Laboratory Science Experience1
Total Credits1

B.L.A. Requirements with Black Studies Emphasis

Humanities Area18
Natural Sciences Area18
Social Sciences Area18
Total Credits54

The Emphasis Area Requirements outlined below may contribute to completion of BLA distribution requirements above.

Black Studies Emphasis Area Requirements

The emphasis area in Black Studies assists undergraduate students who want to obtain graduate and professional degrees in a variety of fields (master’s degrees, Ph.D.’s, law, public health, counseling, social work, educational administration, business, journalism, social work, medicine, library or information science, public policy, public administration, and so on) where specialized knowledge of the broad-based experiences and perspectives of African descent peoples would be useful. At the same time, students learn skill sets that are applicable to a wide variety of circumstances, which prepare them for entry-level positions in private industry, government, and public or non-profit agencies.

Students must take 30 hours of Black Studies courses to complete the emphasis area in Black Studies under the Bachelor of Liberal Arts Degree. A minimum of 24 hours of Black Studies courses must be at the 300 or 400 level or above. A minimum of 24 credit hours in Black Studies must be earned at UMKC.

Students declaring the Black Studies Emphasis under the Bachelor of  Liberal Arts (B.L.A.) must meet with the Black Studies undergraduate advisor to begin a plan of study prior to enrolling in courses.

Twelve of the 30 hours of coursework must include the Core Black Studies courses:

BLKS 201Global Systems and the Origins of Black American Culture and Institutions3
BLKS 302Conceptual and Theoretical Foundations in African American Studies3
BLKS 403WIWriting for African American Studies3
BLKS 404Research Seminar3
BLKS 490Directed Study/Research3
or BLKS 496 Internship in Black Studies
Interest Area Electives15
Total Credits30

Beyond the 15 hours of required core courses, students may pursue either a Humanities interest area in Literature and Culture or a Social Science interest area in Institutions and Social Process (within the field of Black Studies), two areas already existing as divisions in the B.L.A. degree.

Humanities Interest Area—Literature and Culture (15 credits):

  • Under this interest area the Black Studies emphasis will require four courses (12 credits) from the humanities interest area and one course (3 credits) from the social science interest area.

Social Science Interest Area—Institutions and Social Process (15 credits):

  • Under this interest area the Black Studies emphasis will require four courses (12 credits) from the social science interest area and one course (3 credits) from the humanities interest area.

Examples of elective undergraduate courses in Black Studies are:

BLKS 315Arts of African and New World Cultures (Humanities Focus)3
BLKS 320Critical Health Issues in Black Communities (Social Science Focus)3
BLKS 321The Black Family and Male-Female Relationships (Social Science Focus)3
BLKS 331African American Literature I (Humanities Focus)3
BLKS 332WIAfrican American Novel (Humanities Focus)3
BLKS 333African American Literature II (Humanities Focus)3
BLKS 325African American Business Development (Social Science Focus)3
BLKS 334From Field Shout to Hip Hop: African American Poetic Traditions (Humanities Focus)3
BLKS 335Stages Toward Freedom: African American Dramatic Traditions (Humanities Focus)3
BLKS 337The Civil Rights Movement in African American Literature (Humanities Focus)3
BLKS 338Women's Literature in Africa and the African Diaspora (Humanities Focus)3
BLKS 349Symbols and Codes from the Diaspora: African American Visual Arts Survey (Humanities Focus)3
BLKS 351African American Art History: Part I, 1600-1960 (Humanities Focus)3
BLKS 410African American Art History: Part II, 1960-Present Day (Humanities Focus)3
BLKS 496Internship in Black Studies (Designate Focus with Adviser)1-3

Examples of Black Studies, Special Topics BLKS 480 courses with a Humanities Focus are:

  • African American Experience in Literature (1773-1960)
  • African American Migrations in Literature
  • Contemporary African American Literature
  • Film Adaptations in African American Literary Text
  • Introduction to Caribbean Literature and Film

Examples of Black Studies, Special Topics BLKS 480 courses with a Social Science Focus are:

  • From Vaudeville to Rhythm and Blues
  • Hip-Hop's Influence on African Americans and American Society
  • Kansas City and the Black Experience
  • Race, Class and Justice
  • Racial and Ethnic Relations

Students are strongly encouraged to take the remaining 3 hours of coursework as an approved community engagement project/research under Directed Study, BLKS 490 or through Internship, BLKS 496. Because faculty consent is required in order to enroll in the Directed Study or Internship options, students should begin building an academic relationship with the Black Studies faculty member whose academic background can best guide them.

Students cannot earn credit toward the Emphasis Area in Black Studies with a grade below a "C" in a Black Studies course.

To graduate with an Emphasis Area in Black Studies, students must achieve a minimum grade-point average of 2.0 in all courses accepted toward the emphasis area.

For more information on the Black Studies Program, please visit

General Electives23

Minimum GPA: 2.0

Total Credit Hours: 120

Tools for Planning and Fulfilling Academic Requirements

UMKC's Major Maps are detailed, semester by semester plans that lead a student to complete all degree requirements within four years.  Plans include benchmarks and critical courses by term that assist a student’s evaluation of progress and major “fit”.  In order to ensure that the appropriate courses are taken, students are encouraged to consult with the undergraduate advisor for this major. Please see the tab above to view the major map for this program.

UMKC’s Transfer Guides provide detailed guidance on recommended transfer coursework, plans of study, transfer timelines, and transfer contact information. To ensure a seamless transfer experience, students are encouraged to work with both their community college advisor and a UMKC advisor when planning their coursework.

UMKC’s PlanMyDegree ‘Audit’ degree audit system provides an individual evaluation of all degree requirements (General Education, Degree Specific, Major Specific, etc.) for students' officially recorded (Office of Registration and Records) and “what if” exploratory plans of study.  This evaluation is used to certify all graduation requirements.

UMKC’s PlanMyDegree ‘Plans’ degree planning tool enables students to develop a personalized semester by semester plan of study towards completion of degree requirements for student’s officially recorded (Office of Registration and Records) and “what if” exploratory plans of study. Update and edit your full plan to degree completion each term and confirm accuracy each semester with your Academic Advisor(s).

Four Year Graduation Plan - Courses & Critical Benchmarks for First Time College Students:

UMKC's Major Maps are detailed, undergraduate four-year course outlines that inform students on the classes they should take and when to take them. Outlines are updated yearly. Graduate students should visit their program's individual school for program outlines.

The following is a sample course of study. Your path to graduation may vary based on factors such as college credit you earned while in high school, transfer work from other institutions of higher learning, and placement in Mathematics. You are responsible for checking prerequisites to any courses. It is the Student’s responsibility to ensure that all program requirements are met. This guide is not a substitute for academic advisement.

First Year
Fall SemesterCreditsSpring SemesterCredits
GECRT-AH 1013HISTORY 101, 102, or POL-SCI 2103
MATH 116 or STAT 1153General Elective3
 15 15
Second Year
Fall SemesterCreditsSpring SemesterCredits
GECUE 2013GECDV 2013
BLKS 2013BLKS 3023
Arts/Humanities BLA Area course3BLKS 3XX/4XX Interest Area Course3
Natural Science/Math BLA Area course3Arts/Humanities BLA Area course3
Lab ScienceLO1Natural Science/Math BLA Area course3
General Elective3 
 16 15
Third Year
Fall SemesterCreditsSpring SemesterCredits
BLKS 3XX/4XX Interest Area Course3BLKS 403WI3
Arts/Humanities BLA Area course3BLKS 3XX/4XX Interest Area Course3
Social/Behavioral Science BLA Area course3Arts/Humanities BLA Area course3
Natural Science/Math BLA Area course3Social/Behavioral Science BLA Area course3
General Elective2Natural Science/Math BLA Area course3
 14 15
Fourth Year
Fall SemesterCreditsSpring SemesterCredits
BLKS 4043BLKS 496 or 4903
BLKS 3XX/4XX Interest Area Course3BLKS 3XX/4XX Interest Area Course3
3XX/4XX Arts/Humanities BLA Area course33XX/4XX Arts/Humanities BLA Area course3
3XX/4XX Social/Behavioral Science BLA Area course33XX/4XX Social/Behavioral Science BLA Area course3
Natural Science/Math BLA Area course3Natural Science/Math BLA Area course3
 15 15
Total Credits: 120

Recommendations to Maintain Progress toward 4-Year Degree Completion

  • Completion of the First Semester Experience (FSE) course in first term.
  • Early completion of Written Communication, Oral Communication, and Math Pathway requirements.
  • Maintain the minimum GPA required for academic Good Standing for your degree program.
  • Completion at least 15 credit hours toward degree each regular semester. (Students may use the summer to ensure completion of 30 hours per academic year or to lighten Fall and Spring course loads.)
  • Enrollment in Critical Courses as listed on the Major Map is recommended in order to maintain timely progress and completion of prerequisite coursework.
  • Early and continuous enrollment in Foreign Language through completion of level required for degree program is recommended. (The Foreign Language placement exam is highly recommended to ensure placement in the correct course level.)
  • Regular consultation with Academic Advisor(s) for program(s) of study is strongly recommended and may be required for some degree programs..

Advising Contact Information

College of Arts & Sciences Student Services

09 Scofield Hall (basement)