Office Location:
Cockefair Hall 106

(816) 235-2560

Mailing Address:
University of Missouri - Kansas City
Liberal Studies Program
Cockefair Hall 106
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

Program Director:
Jeff Rydberg-Cox, Ph.D., Department of English,, (816) 235-2560

Program Description

The College of Arts and Sciences offers the bachelor of liberal arts (B.L.A.) degree for individuals who seek scientific literacy, an understanding of the social sciences and an appreciation of the humanities. The B.L.A. is an alternative to the B.A./B.S. degree programs and is for individuals who do not wish to commit themselves to a specialty, whose aspirations are not served by a traditional major, and who desire maximum flexibility in course selection.

Students who have found the B.L.A. degree particularly beneficial are those who have matriculated into the six-year medical program and pursue the combined B.L.A./M.D. degrees and those students wishing to apply to the UMKC School of Law through the Early Entry Law Program.

Potential for Graduate Study

Students completing the B.L.A. degree have the potential to pursue graduate study in many areas. One option is the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, a master's degree similar in structure to the B.L.A., which continues the tradition of interdisciplinary work in the College at the intermediate level between baccalaureate and doctoral work. Students completing the B.L.A. degree who wish to continue their education at the graduate level are strongly encouraged to seek counsel from a graduate adviser in that discipline early in their undergraduate career.

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.

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:

  • Be able to identify and articulate scholarly questions based on evidence and approaches from more than one disciplinary area.
  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to gather and organize scholarly literature and raw data needed to answer scholarly questions.
  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to analyze and evaluate scholarly literature and raw data to answer scholarly questions.
  • Be able to effectively communicate the results of their work via either expository rhetoric or a creative work to an audience that does not specialize in their area of study or share their disciplinary perspective.
  • Be able to effectively craft their program of study for intellectual and professional purposes as the foundation for life-long learning.

Program Requirements

Program Specific Recommendations for UMKC General Education Core Coursework

Anchor I 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 Constitution course requirement below)
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
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 or any UMKC Focus A Course 16
Science and Math Division of CAS or any UMKC Focus B Course6
Social and Behavioral Sciences Division of CAS or any UMKC Focus C Course6
Writing Intensive Course (300-level or above)3
MATH 110Precalculus Algebra (or any 200-level or above Math/Stat course) 23
or MATH 116 Mathematics For Liberal Arts
or MATH 120 Precalculus
Laboratory Science Experience1
Total Credits25

BLA Requirements

Hour Requirements and Eligibility

A 2.0 GPA is required to declare intent to pursue the B.L.A. and a 2.0 overall GPA is required by the University of Missouri for graduation.

The credit/non-credit option is not available for students pursuing this degree.

Minor Requirement

Students must complete a minor offered by any interdisciplinary program or department in the University. Students may also complete a Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) approved emphasis area to fulfill the minor requirement. The Black Studies Emphasis Area is currently the only MDHE approved emphasis area for the BLA Students will work with the faculty adviser corresponding to the selected minor or emphasis area.

Area Requirements and Limitations Applicable to This Degree
Humanities Area (18 credit hours required; 6 of which are satisfied by CAS distribution requirements above)12
Natural Sciences (18 credit hours required; 6 of which are satisfied by CAS distribution requirements above)12
Social Sciences Area (18 credit hours required; 6 of which are satisfied by CAS distribution requirements above)12
Total Credits36

At least 36 of the total hours must be at the junior/senior (300-400) level. Twelve of these junior/senior (300-400) level hours must be taken within the BLA Area Requirements at UMKC or in the College of Arts and Sciences at UMKC. Additionally, coursework must be taken from at least two departments in each division.

Students should note that some departments within the College of Arts and Sciences (for example, geosciences and history departments) offer coursework that can be applied to more than one division. Students should consult with an advisor in selecting coursework to ensure that they receive proper credit in the various divisions required for the degree.

General Electives

Students must take elective credit hours to meet the minimum credit hour requirement for their degree, including at least 36 credit hours of coursework at the 300-level or above. The minimum required by the university is 120 credit hours, of which at least 30 credit hours must be taken at UMKC, but some degree programs require more.

General Electives32

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.