At UMKC Law, we embrace diversity in all forms. This includes a vibrant community of students who are attending law school as a second or third career. These students, known as non-traditional students, enrich the law school community with their life experiences.

To accommodate the needs of students with established careers or family commitments, students have the ability to take a part-time course load. With the part-time option, you have up to five years to complete your JD

Part-time & Non-traditional Student FAQ

Part-time & Non-traditional Student FAQ

Student Groups

Older Wiser Law Students, or OWLS, focuses on non-traditional law students, particularly those who are married, have children or pursued a career before entering law school. OWLS promotes spouse and child-friendly social activities, along with career-focused lectures (focusing on law as a second career, and how to successfully make the transition into a law career). They provide peer advice in preparing for exams, as well as balancing the demands of law school and family, and supply a place for students to network with other non-traditional law students and address the concerns of this population.

For more information, visit the Student Organization page.

Financial Aid

Part-time students are eligible for both financial aid (student loans) and scholarships (merit-based awards). The criteria for receiving merit-based scholarships are the same for both part-time and full-time students. The monetary awards may still be structured for 3 years, however, even if it takes longer than 3 years to graduate. Scholarships are also structured to be applied for Fall and Spring semesters, not for Summer.

Students taking at least 5 credit hours are eligible for financial aid; students taking 10 credit hours are considered “full-time” for financial aid purposes. While the amount allowed toward tuition, fees, and books varies depending upon whether a student is classified as part-time (5-9 credit hours) or full-time (10+ credit hours), students get the same living expenses allowance regardless. 

Students can also easily switch between part-time status and full-time status as they choose, with permission by a dean or advisor.

Non-traditional students are eligible for several different scholarships: the Suzanne Gilmore Memorial Scholarship is awarded to one law student who is a single custodial parent over the age of 30; the Alan Brooks Memorial Scholarship is awarded with a preference toward non-traditional students, students of color, or students with a military background; and the Mark A. Dover Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a student pursuing law as a second career. To learn more about these scholarships as well as our other scholarships, please visit the Scholarships page.

*Please note that these awards may not be available each semester as they are dependent on funding.

For more information about funding your legal education, visit our Financial Aid pages.