University Requirements

General Education

The UMKC General Education Core is the university-wide curriculum that all undergraduate students will complete.  The 30-credit hour core curriculum includes three course types designated as Anchor, Discourse and Focus and is detailed in the General Education section of the catalog.

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.

RooWriter Assessment

Candidates for all baccalaureate degrees must complete the online UMKC RooWriter Writing Assessment after they have passed Discourse 200 (or its equivalent) but before they have attained 90 credit hours. Incoming transfer students with more than 90 credit hours must complete the RooWriter by the end of their first semester of enrollment or within one semester after passing Discourse 200 (or its equivalent). Students who have not completed the RooWriter Writing Assessment within two semesters after passing Discourse 200 (or its equivalent) will be blocked from enrollment until they successfully complete the RooWriter. Additional information is available in the Undergraduate Academic Regulations and Information section of the catalog.

Exit Examinations

Information on exit examinations and/or major field exams is available in the Undergraduate Academic Regulations and Information section of the catalog.

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

Program Specific Recommendations for UMKC General Education Core Coursework

Anchor I (ANCH 102 Recommended) 13
Anchor II 13
Anchor III 13
DISC 100Discourse I: Reasoning and Values (Speech and Writing)3
DISC 200Discourse II: Culture and Diversity (Writing and Speech)3
DISC 300Discourse III: Civic and Community Engagement (Speech and Writing)3
Focus A 13
Focus B (Satisfied in program requirements below)
Focus C (May be satisfied by the Constitution course requirement below) 1
Focus Elective 13
'Total credits' in this section indicates the number of General Education Core credit hours that are not met by the degree specific requirements outlined below.
Total Credits24

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 (Focus C) 1
U.S. History Since 1877 (Focus C) 1
Constitutional History of the United States
Honors American Government (Focus C) 1
American Government (Focus C) 1
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. Addition details are available in the Student Services section of the catalog.

ALEKS Math Placement
Arts and Humanities Division of CAS (Satisfied in program requirements below) 1
Science and Math Division of CAS (Satisfied in program requirements below)
Social and Behavioral Sciences Division of CAS (Satisfied in program requirements below)
Writing Intensive Course (300-level or above; Satisfied in program requirements below)
MATH 110Precalculus Algebra (or any 200-level or above Math/Stat course) 23
or MATH 116 Mathematics For Liberal Arts
Laboratory Science Experience1
Total Credits4

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 http://cas.umkc.edu/blackstudies/.

General Electives9

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.

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

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.