Expand Your Options for Success With the Bachelor of Liberal Arts Degree

Students and alumni share their stories
A student studies on a laptop in Haag Hall

Students face many challenges when making college decisions. For many, one of the biggest is deciding on a program of study. They want and need a program that is affordable and flexible and will prepare them for a great job after graduation.

The Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City College of Arts and Sciences is designed for those who seek scientific literacy, an understanding of social sciences and an appreciation of the humanities but do not wish to commit themselves to a specialty.

UMKC B.L.A. students gain maximum course flexibility and a tailor-made program providing an alternative to a traditional Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Sciences degree program. The B.L.A. program also is a good option for individuals who want to return to college and finish their degrees.

“The B.L.A. is a popular and great choice for these students as it is the most flexible program we offer in terms of transfer credits and ease of course scheduling,” said Emma Casey, UMKC College of Arts and Sciences manager of Recruitment and Outreach. “With our current world situation, I am seeing an influx in non-traditional, adult and transfer students applying to return to finish their degrees.”

A liberal arts program helps students become well-rounded in a variety of subjects and helps students acquire knowledge and skills about a variety of subjects and careers. Students learn a wide range of skills that prepare them for a variety of professions that can include account executive, analyst, business development manager, copywriter, communication specialist, physician, health care professional, entrepreneur, human relations specialist, journalist, lawyer, legislative assistant, nonprofit director, policy analyst, professor or public relations manager.

The UMKC degree is particularly beneficial to students who matriculate into the six-year medical program and pursue the combined B.L.A./M.D. degrees and those applying to UMKC School of Law through the early-entry law program.

A dedicated B.L.A. advisor is provided in the professional advising office. Students also can work with the specific departmental advisor in a chosen minor and can seek out any of the college’s advisors as they determine the focal points of their studies.

Meet some students and a graduate.

Vickie Goods 

vickie-_150.jpg
"I wanted
to show them
you never
give up
on your dreams."
When you enrolled at UMKC, were you new to college or were you returning to finish a degree?

I returned as an adult learner. I took a 3-year hiatus from my academic journey. I've been pursuing my bachelor's degree since I was 19. I enrolled at UMKC in 2018.

Why did you decide to finish the degree?

I continue my academic pursuit to be a role model for my two adult children, Ashley 28 and Jordan 21. I wanted to show them you never give up on your dreams. It's never too late to start over and create a new beginning. My initial goal was to graduate with a business administration degree, but life took me on a different path.

Why did you choose UMKC?

I submitted applications to several universities in the local KC metro area. I wanted to have the full college campus experience that I experienced when I first began my journey. I felt more connected with UMKC. I like the diversity and I knew this is where I should attend.

Why did you choose a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree?

"I didn't choose a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree, it chose me. I had earned college credits from previous universities."

The accumulation of those credits happily aligned me in the Liberal Arts department. 

What are your career/job plans?

When I close this chapter of personal achievement, I plan to enroll in a graduate program to obtain a degree in social work, counseling or Christian leadership. I plan to spend the first few years after graduation working as a school counselor or entry-level nonprofit position. I look forward to a future where I can use my tools and resources to serve others.

When will you graduate?

May 2021

What do you want people to know about getting or finishing a college degree?

Be patient. Embrace the journey. Seek assistance and utilize resources that's available to you. It's okay not to be okay at times, just don't give up on yourself!

What do you want people to know about UMKC?

The faculty, staff, instructors and advisors want you to succeed. Speak up and tap into the resources. 

What do you want people to know about you and any challenges you have had?

I endured many detours and realignments upon my journey. I graciously accepted each challenge of womanhood. Once I gathered all my broken pieces, I created a mosaic of self-love, strength and joy. Remember to take time for yourself as you set goals. Focus on the progress and never be anxious about the accomplishments. Don't be afraid or ashamed to hit the reset button whenever necessary. Trust yourself, enjoy and embrace the journey; you will arrive at your destination at the right time.

Rebecca Overbey

Rebecca Overbey
"UMKC provided
a program
that other schools
did not,
which would
allow me
to complete
my degree
faster than
the other schools."
When you enrolled at UMKC, were you new to college or were you returning to finish a degree?

I returned to UMKC to finish my degree. With the B.L.A. program, I am able to continue my career path and achieve my goal of completing a degree. The program I previously studied was different than the one I am pursuing now. 

Why did you choose UMKC?

I did look at other schools; however, UMKC provided a program that other schools did not, which would allow me to complete my degree faster than the other schools.

Why did you choose a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree?

The B.L.A. program accepted all of my credits from other schools I have attended. 

What are your career/job plans?

I currently have a job that I enjoy and getting a bachelor’s degree will provide me the opportunity to further my career with my company.  

When will you graduate?

Aiming for fall 2021

What do you want people to know about getting or finishing a college degree?

It was certainly a challenge getting back into the swing of school, but I feel that I have more motivation to earn my degree than I have in the past. I would tell others that not every person’s college path looks the same and it’s the end result that matters the most. Your timeline is your own.

What do you want people to know about UMKC?

I have attended a few schools and what makes UMKC different are the professors.  All of my professors have cared about me as an individual, which is something I was missing at the other schools I attended.

What do you want people to know about you and any challenges you have had?

While completing my degree in my early 20s, I went through an entire semester of classes with a case of mono that went undiagnosed until the semester was over. Not only did this ruin my motivation to continue with school, but it made me feel as though earning a degree was unattainable. My confidence in my intelligence was broken. I decided at that time to focus on my career and I have worked hard to get to where I am within my company today. I have always said that I would consider finishing my bachelor’s degree if it was required for future career advancement. So, to give myself potentially more opportunities, I started taking classes, just one at a time, to rebuild the self-confidence I had once lost. Not only have I gained that confidence back, but I feel more confident in my job as well. My college career has been anything but traditional and I don’t think I would change the direction it has taken me.   

Jessica Keith

Jessica Keith
"The Bachelor
of Liberal Arts
degree was
perfect for
someone as
intellectually curious
and indecisive
as me."
When you enrolled at UMKC, were you new to college or were you returning to finish a degree?

I transferred to UMKC as a sophomore, still unsure of what I truly wanted to major in. I entered as a criminal justice and criminology major before switching to English, then sociology and finally to the B.L.A.

Why did you choose UMKC?

I initially chose K-State for the scholarships they offered. When I decided to move back to my hometown of Kansas City, UMKC was my first choice. I had visited UMKC in junior high for a writing program, and remembered loving the campus. The urban environment was a welcome change from the rural campus I was used to.

Why did you choose a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree?

The Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree was perfect for someone as intellectually curious and indecisive as me.

"I changed my major a whopping seven times between both schools I attended, which left me with many credits across the liberal arts but few toward any specific degree. 

I loved that I could combine coursework in my many areas of interest to build the B.L.A. degree."

What are your career/job plans?

The breadth of the B.L.A. and the many skills I learned in my courses enabled me to work as a test prep tutor for two years, which I absolutely loved. From there, I began working in education administration, which led me back to UMKC, where I now serve as the senior executive assistant in the College of Arts and Science dean’s office.

When did you graduate?

December of 2016.

What do you want people to know about getting or finishing a college degree?

While future job prospects are an important consideration, a college degree has so much more to offer. The skills you gain, people you meet, perspectives you learn and experiences you find and create will bring fulfillment and growth to your life no matter what you end up doing with your degree. And it probably won’t be what you planned!

What do you want people to know about UMKC?

UMKC is a place where people care about you as a person, not a number. There are so many unique opportunities on campus and in the local community, so you can really explore and find your passion.

What do you want people to know about you and any challenges you have had?

Life will get in the way of education. Whether it’s work, or family, or health, or a global pandemic, the important thing to remember is why you are working so hard toward your degree. As a first-generation college graduate and the oldest of six siblings, I was motivated to prove to myself and my family that success is possible when we stretch. But a degree isn’t the end. Keep learning and stretching and pushing past the growing pains, and opportunities will come your way.


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