Emphasis in Urban and Land Use Law, Environmental Law

UMKC students can engage in a course of study within the J.D. degree with an emphasis in Urban and Land Use Law, Environmental Law or both. 

Admission Requirements

Students in their second or third year may elect to specialize in the "Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law" curricular emphasis program. To do so, a student must apply no later than the end of the second year. Advice about compliance with the requirements is available from the Emphasis Faculty Advisors.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • Students will demonstrate mastery of core doctrinal knowledge within emphasis area
  • Students will demonstrate mastery of skills necessary for objective legal analysis.
  • Students will demonstrate mastery of the skills necessary for effective legal research in the emphasis area.
  • Students will demonstrate mastery of legal writing.
  • Students will demonstrate mastery of the duties of attorneys as members of the legal profession.
  • Students will demonstrate ability to work with people in a professional environment
  • Students will demonstrate competency in professional work habits
  • Students will demonstrate entry-level proficiency in lawyering skills especially relevant to the emphasis area.

Important Note: Because the School is committed to keeping up with changes in the practice of law, the requirements for emphasis areas may change during the course of a student's enrollment at the School. The requirements at the time a student is granted admission into the emphasis area are the requirements that govern completion of the student's emphasis requirements. For possible revised requirements that will take effect with the next academic year, see http://law.umkc.edu/Academics/Emphasis-areas/Urban-Land-use-Environment/

General Requirements

Minimum Total Hours Required

Students must complete seven of the listed courses: students must complete all courses in Group A, three courses from Group B and one course from Group C. All courses must be taken for a grade (with the exception of those courses for which a grade option is not available). Course work satisfying this requirement must total at least 15 hours.

Writing Requirement

Students must complete an academic research paper of high professional quality concerning a topic within the field of the emphasis area. They may fulfill this requirement in conjunction with any of the listed courses, or as part of the Research and Writing requirement, as part of an Independent Study option, through one of the Law School's journal offerings, or through a research project pursued at the Center for the City at UMKC. Unless written to meet the R&W requirement, the paper must be written for a grade. Advance approval of the topic and faculty advisor is required by one of the land-use and environment faculty.

Practical Skills Component

Students must participate for at least one semester in a practical skills component. The following opportunities satisfy this requirement: the EPA Law Clinic, Region VII; the EPA Law Clinic, Agricultural Center; or a service placement with the Center for the City at UMKC. Participation in the EPA Law Clinics can simulataneously be used to satisfy the minimum hours requirement.

Ethics Component

Ethical considerations will be incorporated into the listed emphasis area courses.

Research Component

All students in the program must complete an advanced research offering which will provide advanced skills in research in the urban, land use and environmental law field. This may entail a separate course of study, a component of an existing course, or separate lecture, seminar or workshop offerings as designated by the Program Faculty Advisors.

Curriculum Requirements

Group A: Core Courses (must take all)

  • Administrative Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Land Use Planning

Group B: Specialized Courses (must take three)

  • Air & Water Regulation
  • Cities and the Environment "J"
  • Current Issues in Property Law Seminar
  • Environmental Law Seminar
  • International Environmental Law
  • Law and the American Indian
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Preservation Law
  • Seminar in Urbanization
  • State & Local Government Law
  • Toxic Torts
  • Urban Lawyer Board
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Law Clinic: Region VII Headquarters
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Law Clinic: National Agricultural Compliance Assistance Center
  • Water Law

Group C: Related Law Courses and Interdisciplinary Courses (must take one)

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (2)
  • Complex Litigation (3)
  • Economics and the Law (2) "J"
  • Federal Jurisdiction (3)
  • Legislation (3)
  • Real Estate Finance (3-4)
  • Real Estate Transactions (2)
  • State and Local Government Tax (2-3)
  • Biogeography and Landscape Ecology (3) (Department of Geosciences)
  • Managing Urban Economic Development (3) (Bloch School)
  • Urban and Regional Planning for Urban Administrators (3) (Bloch School)
  • Urban Planning Theory and Practice (3) (Department of Architecture)
  • Urban Planning and Design (This course would have additional assignments for law students)

Graduation Requirements

To be recognized as having graduated with an emphasis in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law, students must complete all requirements with an average grade of B or better (and no grade below a C). Students who have met the program requirements by the time of graduation will have this distinction noted at that time.