UMKC Catalog


Admission to the Juris Doctor Program


To be eligible to apply for admission to the School of Law's Juris Doctor degree program, a person must have either:

  • A bachelor's degree based on a program of courses with substantial intellectual content (such as history, English, accounting, philosophy, calculus or chemistry) from an approved institution; or
  • Completed at least 90 acceptable hours of credit in courses with substantial intellectual content in an approved institution, completed all non-elective coursework toward a bachelor's degree and made arrangements with the school that will award the degree to accept law school credits for the remainder of the work required to earn that degree, so that the student will earn the degree prior to the granting of the J.D. degree.

Criteria for Admission

The School of Law restricts the number of students admitted each year in order to maintain a favorable faculty-student ratio and to provide the best possible legal education for each student enrolled. Because many more people apply to the Law School than there are seats available, admission is competitive.

Students are drawn to the School of Law because of its intellectually stimulating academic environment, vibrant and diverse campus life and interaction with and in the surrounding community. In addition to being highly skilled and ethical attorneys, graduates are expected to leave UMKC able and committed to making a difference in their families, workplaces, communities, organizations and society at large. While substantial weight is given to each applicant's LSAT score and undergraduate GPA, the law school and its faculty also consider other factors in shaping an entering class. These factors, consistent with the University's values of diversity, inclusiveness and respect, include:

  • Advanced or specialized educational achievement demonstrating potential for academic excellence in the study of law.
  • Contributions to the cultural diversity of the School of Law.
  • A history of overcoming challenges and barriers based on societal discrimination or economic disadvantage.
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities.
  • A significant and sustained commitment to public or community service.
  • Other accomplishments or qualities that indicate the applicant will contribute to the School of Law's academic and service missions.

Admissions Process

applicants are required to submit a completed, signed application form, the application fee, a personal statement and a resume. All undergraduate transcripts and two letters of recommendation must be sent to the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS). Instructions for this service may be found in the LSDAS booklet. Once all materials have been submitted, a file is considered complete and ready for an admission decision to be made.

 The law school makes admission decisions on a rolling admissions basis. That is, decisions are made as files are completed. This process begins in October of the year preceding the academic year applicants are applying for and continues until sufficient admissions are granted to fill the entering class. Accordingly, applications should be submitted as early as possible.

 A nonrefundable application processing fee, in the form of a check or money order payable to the University of Missouri-Kansas City, must accompany the application. In addition, a seat reservation fee must be paid by April 1 or a designated period after admission, whichever is later. The fee is nonrefundable but will be credited toward first-semester fees. An additional nonrefundable seat reservation fee is due May 1. This fee will also be credited toward first-semester fees.


In order to gain admission, an applicant must take the LSAT. The test may be taken at various locations, including UMKC. It normally should be taken no later than February for purposes of admission for the following fall. Information concerning the test is available online at or by writing to the

    Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)
    Box 2000
    Newtown, PA 18940-0998
Applicants also must arrange for evaluation of their college and university transcripts by the LSDAS. Further information and a registration form for this purpose may be obtained at the Web site and mailing address above.

Once the student applies, the school will request a copy of the law school report from LSDAS. Please make sure the report is paid for so there is no delay in transmission.


No undergraduate courses are specifically required for admission to the Law School. The best preparation is a broad liberal-arts education designed to provide an understanding of the institutions and values with which the law deals and the development of those skills and habits of thought essential to legal reasoning.

Any course of study leading to an undergraduate degree will be sufficient for admission, as long as the emphasis was an intellectually demanding one that challenged the student to employ critical-thinking skills and communicate effectively. Particularly helpful to law school study, however, are courses in history, as rules of law are best understood in terms of the historical milieu in which they were pronounced or enacted. Courses in political science and economics are beneficial, because lawyers must understand the institutions of government and the economic system with which they will be dealing. Courses in speech, logic, debate and the various language arts also are useful, because they expand and sharpen reasoning and communication skills. Courses with a strong emphasis on writing are particularly encouraged in light of the crucial role effective writing plays both in law school and law practice.

Matriculation Options: Full-Time amd Part-Time Progress

Most students matriculate on a full-time basis. Some students, however, may do so on a part-time basis.

The ability to proceed part-time in the day program is designed for students who are unable to enroll on a full-time basis, e.g. disabled students, or those with family or career responsibilities. These students must enroll in 8 to 9 hours of classes each semester in the first year, and 8 to 12 hours per semester thereafter. In all other respects, students enrolled part-time are required to satisfy all graduation requirements applicable to full-time students, including the requirement that they complete all degree requirements within five years. Part-time day students develop programs with the associate dean that are designed to parallel, as much as possible, the sequence of courses for full-time students. Part-time student eligibility for Law Review, Urban Lawyer, honors and other activities will parallel, as much as possible, eligibility of full-time students.

A full-time student may not become a part-time student without permission of the associate dean. Part-time students may not become full-time students until they have completed all first-year courses, unless they obtain permission to proceed full-time from the associate dean. Once part-time students have completed all required first-year courses, they may enroll full-time or part-time for remaining coursework at their option. Students are cautioned, however, that enrollment in 13 or more hours triggers the rule limiting outside work to no more than 20 hours per week and full-time first-year law students should not engage in any outside work..

Admission with Advanced Standing

Except for transfer applicants enrolled at the University of Missouri-Columbia (to whom transfer is granted more liberally), an applicant for admission with advanced standing must meet the requirements applicable to entering students; be eligible to return as a student in good standing to their current law school; and present a letter from the Dean of their law school showing such eligibility. In order to be considered for admission, a transfer applicant who would not have been admissible (based on LSAT score, undergraduate GPA, etc.) had such applicant applied for initial admission at UMKC, must have at least a B average after at least one full year of law study in an approved law school. Otherwise, a transfer applicant must have at least a C+ average in all law work in order to receive consideration. Admission decisions on transfer applications typically are not made before mid-July, once the number of available seats in the second-year class have been determined.

A maximum of 30 semester hours credit may be allowed for work successfully completed at another law school, with the right being reserved to refuse to transfer credit, in whole or in part, for any such coursework.

Except in the case of students transferring from the University of Missouri-Columbia, hours for a course in which less than a C was earned will not transfer, but retaking the course may be waived on an individual basis. Grades earned at another law school are not transferred, nor do such grades count for class ranking purposes. Transfer students must earn at least a C+ average in courses taken at the UMKC School of Law in order to graduate.

Admission Without Undergraduate Degree

Students who have completed at least 90 acceptable hours of credit in courses with substantial intellectual content and have completed all non-elective coursework toward a bachelor's degree, may be admitted on the condition that the undergraduate degree be earned prior to or simultaneously with the granting of the J.D. degree. Usually this condition can only be met if the institution which will grant the undergraduate degree will accept credits earned in the UMKC Law School.

Since the UMKC Law School does not confer the undergraduate degree and assumes no responsibility in regard to it, it is the duty of the student to make certain that the requirements for the degree are satisfied. Questions concerning requirements for the undergraduate degree or of the transferability of law credits to complete the degree should be directed to the institution granting the undergraduate degree.

A letter from the institution confirming that it will accept credits earned in the UMKC Law School to complete the undergraduate degree must be submitted as part of the application for admission.