Graduate Programs

J.D./M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics Dual Degree

The MU College of Arts & Science, Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, and MU School of Law now offer an integrated dual degree program in which students may obtain both an M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics and a J.D. from the School of Law. Applications for the M.A./J.D. dual degree program will open in Fall 2023.

Students who enroll in the J.D./M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics dual degree will enjoy the strengths of two outstanding programs at the University of Missouri. The School of Law offers students rigorous study in the theory and practice of law, with a student-faculty ratio that provides multiple opportunities for faculty engagement, while the M.A. allows students to examine the connections and conflicts among the diverse peoples of the Atlantic basin, including the Americas, Africa, and Europe, from the dawn of European empires, through the age of nation-states, and into the more recent “American Century.” The M.A. also includes a month-long study abroad program at University of Oxford (Corpus Christi College), through which students earn the first nine credit hours required to complete the degree, and an opportunity to participate in the rich intellectual life of the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy.

Although an M.A. degree in Atlantic History & Politics normally requires one year plus one summer of study, and a J.D. requires three years, many students will be able to complete both degrees in three years plus two summers. Students also have the option of completing the dual degree program in 3.5 or 4 years.

Applications for the 2025-26 M.A./J.D. cohort will open in September 2024 with a final deadline the following April.

Why Pursue a J.D./M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics Dual Degree

Thinking holistically, the J.D./M.A. dual degree will immerse students in their chosen scholarly fields with a rigor and expansiveness that few other academic programs can, as participants’ exploration of the theory and practice of law will be significantly enhanced by simultaneously considering the global historical environment in which legal practices and institutions have evolved over time.

Additionally, any student who pursues the J.D./M.A. will have access to faculty and programming in two of Mizzou’s many elite academic units. Founded in 2014, and now with faculty in History, Political Science, Law, and Public Affairs, the Kinder Institute is an international research leader in the study of both the historical and philosophical origins of constitutional democracy in the United States and the reverberation of these origins across centuries and continents. Since its inception, a vibrant intellectual community of professors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate and undergraduate students has been cultivated at the Kinder Institute through a regular series of Friday colloquia, regional seminars, and major international academic conferences.

Founded in 1872, the University of Missouri School of Law provides law students with a challenging and practical education enhanced by a strong traditional curriculum with an orientation toward lawyering as a problem-solving endeavor. In addition to nationally recognized faculty who help students discover what they are most passionate about and refine the skills necessary to succeed in any area of law, the MU Law School provides myriad opportunities for hands-on training and academic specialization through its 9 clinics and 2 centers, including the U.S.’s #3 ranked Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution, as well as its 9 certificate programs and countless elective classes.

On top of all of this, J.D./M.A. students will take part in the month of study at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, that the M.A. program kicks off with, and are invited to also take advantage of: the M.A.’s January-session study abroad course on “Race and Politics in South Africa” at University of Western Cape; the M.A.’s option to fulfill three credit hours of degree requirements through archival, public history, and academic programming internship opportunities; the for-credit legal externships, legal internships, and law clinic work available through the J.D.; and the Kinder Institute’s biannual program (by application) of graduate student research and travel grants.

M.A. Study at Oxford

Perhaps the M.A. degree’s defining aspect, both M.A. and J.D./M.A. students will travel to the U.K. prior to their first semester on campus in Columbia for four weeks of study at University of Oxford’s Corpus Christi College, one of the globe’s oldest institutions of higher learning (founded in 1517) and a longtime leader in the field of Atlantic History. In addition to the three classes that they’ll take while there (detailed below), students will live in graduate housing at Corpus, take their meals in the sixteenth-century Hall, and attend scholarly events at the Rothermere American Institute (RAI), the largest center for the study of the U.S. outside of North America.

CNST DEM 8041: The Making of the Atlantic World, taught by Dr. Grace Mallon, Kinder Junior Research Fellow at the RAI

CNST DEM 8042: The Atlantic World from the Age of Revolutions to the Age of Nation-States, taught by Dr. Lawrence Goldman, Senior Research Fellow of St. Peter’s College, University of Oxford, and Senior Fellow of the Kinder Institute.

CNST DEM 8050: Britain and the World, a course comprised of guest lectures from Oxford faculty, excursions to sites of historical interest, such as Blenheim Palace, Sulgrave Manor, and the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, and faculty-led discussion sessions.

Degree Requirements & Curriculum

The program of study outlined in the degree checklist below meets requirements for the J.D. with 83 hours of law credit and 6 elective credit hours in Atlantic History & Politics, for a total of 89 credit hours. Requirements for the M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics are met with 24 credit hours of coursework in the Kinder Institute, the Department of History, and the Department of Political Science, and 6 elective credit hours within the School of Law.

The curriculum has been designed so that Law requirements and essentials for the M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics are addressed, while still allowing students room to pursue specialized, upper-level elective courses in each of the integrated degrees.*

Students in the dual degree program normally will spend the summer prior to starting law school completing the M.A.’s Oxford component. Then, students will spend their first two semesters at MU exclusively at the School of Law, taking the traditional first-year law curriculum. During the remainder of the dual degree program, students will take courses in the School of Law and courses in the College of Arts & Science associated with the Atlantic History & Politics M.A. Students who wish to graduate in 3 years should take 9 hours of elective credit during the summer following the first year of law school. Students wishing to graduate in 3.5 years will take their remaining elective credits during the fall semester of their fourth year in the program.

Students’ chosen program of study in Atlantic History & Politics is subject to approval by their advisor at the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy and by the Institute’s Director of Graduate Studies.

*In addition to taking the 21 credit hours of required coursework for the M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics, students will take three hours of elective credit, which can be fulfilled through a course in the Kinder Institute, Department of History, Department of Political Science, or Truman School of Public Affairs that is at the 7000-level or higher and that does not focus on the histories of the U.S. or Britain since 1688.

Application Procedures

Applicants to the J.D./M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics dual degree program must submit formal applications for admission to both the School of Law and to the MU Graduate School (for the Atlantic History M.A.), accompanied by a statement requesting permission to pursue the dual degree. Students must meet the requirements for admission to both programs.

For students who seek admission to and enroll in one program and then later choose to pursue the dual degree, a successful application to the second program and the request to complete the dual degree typically must be submitted before the student has substantially completed the requirements of the first program. However, petitions requesting admission to the dual degree from students at more advanced stages in either program will be considered.

Click here for application requirements for the M.A. and here for application requirements for the MU School of Law.

Any questions about applications can be directed to M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics Academic Advisor, Caroline Spalding, JD/MPA, at

Degree Policies

—Students whose prior background does not allow them to undertake the program of study specified above may be admitted contingent upon their completing additional courses for which they may not receive credit toward the degrees.

—Credit cannot be awarded for any class taken before matriculation at the MU School of Law. Dual degree candidates must, therefore, enroll at the School of Law before taking the 6 credits of Atlantic History & Politics courses to be counted toward the J.D. degree.

—Dual degree candidates who subsequently decide to pursue only the M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics or the J.D. must complete the degree program in its entirety and subject to the same rules and requirements as students not pursuing a dual degree.

—Law students who receive credit under the dual degree program for taking Atlantic History & Politics courses may not receive credit for taking other classes outside the School of Law.

—Student honors and class ranks at the School of Law will be computed on classes enrolled in as law courses.

—The listing of courses in the curriculum section above does not constitute a binding commitment that these specific courses will be offered during the student’s course of study or that the graduation requirements will remain unchanged. However, required courses for the dual degree will be offered in a manner sufficient for students to complete the dual degree in a timely fashion.

—Students in the dual degree program are subject to the same rules and regulations that apply to all students at the School of Law, the College of Arts & Science, the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, the MU Graduate School, and the University of Missouri.

—Completing the program in 36-months will require careful planning that takes into account limited summer offerings.