Bachelor of Liberal Arts

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 Written Composition and one course in Oral Communication; and a Math Pathway course. Transfer students entering UMKC will elect from the UMKC Essentials General Education Program or the Missouri Core 42 General Education Curriculum.  Academic advisors will meet with incoming transfer students to determine which option best serves the student’s educational needs. More information about General Education may be found here:

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:

  • 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 Description

The School of Humanities and Social 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 90+ Program or Six-Year Law Scholars.

Potential for Graduate Study

Students completing the B.L.A. degree have the potential to pursue graduate study in many areas. 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 advisor in that discipline early in their undergraduate career.

Program Requirements

UMKC Essentials

First Semester Experience Course (GEFSE)3
Written Communication:
ENGLISH 110Introduction to Academic Prose3
ENGLISH 225English II: Intermediate Academic Prose3
Oral Communication (choose one of the following):3
Fundamentals of Effective Speaking and Listening
Introduction to 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
Any 200-level MATH or STAT cousre
ACT Math Subscore of 28 or higher; or SAT Math Subscore of 660 or higher
Critical Thinking in Arts & Humanities (GECRT-AH): Satisfied in program requirements below.
Critical Thinking in Natural & Physical Sciences (GECRT-SC): Satisfied in program requirements below.
Critical Thinking in Social & Behavioral Sciences (GECRT-SS): Satisfied in program requirements below.
Culture & Diversity Course (GECDV)3
Civic & Urban Engagement Course (GECUE)3
Total Credits21

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.

School of Humanities and Social Sciences Degree Requirements

Writing Intensive Course (300-level or above):3
Total Credits3

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.

Area Requirements and Limitations Applicable to This Degree
Humanities Area 18
Natural Sciences Area18
Social Sciences Area 18
Total Credits54

Coursework must be taken from at least two departments in each 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.

In addition to fulfilling general education requirements, UMKC Essential courses may be applied to the B.L.A. as follows:

  • GECRT-AH may be applied toward the 18 hours in Arts and Humanities
  • GECRT-SC may be applied toward the 18 hours in Natural Sciences
  • GECRT-SS may be applied toward the 18 hours in Social Sciences

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 Electives39

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 the Registrar) 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 the Registrar) 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).