The Kinder Institute’s undergraduate programs are designed to promote rigorous, communal inquiry into the history, theory, and practice of constitutional democracy in the United States and around the globe. We envision this happening first and foremost in the classroom, and our new B.A. in Constitutional Democracy in the College of Arts & Science was created to encourage students to engage in an in-depth study of the history of democracies across centuries and continents. We also want students’ exploration of these subjects to expand far beyond the classroom walls, and we have designed a number of programs with this goal in mind: a living-and-learning community for first-year MU students, a summer program in Washington, D.C., week- and yearlong study abroad opportunities at University of Oxford, a January intersession study abroad course at University of the Western Cape in South Africa, and an extracurricular academic fellowship program for Mizzou undergrads of any and all majors.

Questions about any of these undergraduate programs can be directed to Kinder Institute Director of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Thomas Kane at KaneTC@missouri.edu.



The Kinder Institute’s B.A. in Constitutional Democracy not only engages Mizzou undergrads in a close, interdisciplinary examination of the ideas and events that are central to understanding the founding of the United States but also provides students with an opportunity to trace the reverberation of these ideas and events over time and around the globe. How and why have the philosophical ambitions and historical practice of constitutional democracy changed over time? What are the institutions and who are the figures that have been most responsible for driving this change? How, over the course of its history, has U.S. constitutional democracy influenced—and been influenced by—foreign nations? These are just some of the many questions that students can explore through the major, which consists of required common curriculum courses and concentrated upper-level electives in Constitutional Democracy, History, Black Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Philosophy, Public Affairs, Economics, and more.


The Kinder Institute Democracy Lab, formerly the Kinder Institute Residential College, allows first-year Mizzou students interested in politics and history to begin forming a scholarly community right when they get to campus. All participants will live together during the first year on campus, take courses together during the fall and spring semesters with Kinder Institute faculty, and participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities associated with the program. Starting the application process is as easy as choosing “Kinder Institute Democracy Lab” on your online housing preference form, and use the “learn more” button below for more information on the admission and scholarship application process.

Scholarships for the 2023-24 Democracy Lab cohort are now closed. Contact Kinder Institute Director of Undergraduate Studies Thomas Kane, KaneTC@missouri.edu, with any questions about that program.



Launched in Spring 2018 by Kinder Institute Director and Professor of History Jay Sexton, the “Global History at Oxford” class is a study abroad program unlike any other. Every spring, students spend the semester’s first ten weeks exploring the global history of empire with Prof. Sexton on the MU campus, and then cross the Atlantic during Spring Break to continue their study with distinguished faculty at University of Oxford’s Corpus Christi College, one of the globe’s oldest institutions of higher learning.

In addition, the Kinder Institute has a yearlong exchange program with Corpus Christi, through which an MU undergrad spends three Oxford terms as a fully-embedded student of history.

Applications for the weeklong study abroad course are due each November and applications for the yearlong fellowship are due each April. Contact Dr. Thomas Kane, Kinder Institute Director of Undergraduate studies, at KaneTC@missouri.edu, to find out more about the yearlong Oxford Fellowship program.



The Kinder Institute’s flagship undergraduate initiative, the Society of Fellows is a competitive academic fellowship program through which students of all majors come together to forge an intellectual community dedicated to studying and drawing connections between the ideas and events of the American founding and the present state of constitutional democracy in the U.S. and abroad. The program kicks off each August with a three-day residential conference at the historic Tiger Hotel in downtown Columbia and continues throughout the school year with a series of lunch and dinner discussions with MU faculty and guests of the Kinder Institute.

Applications for the 2023-24 cohort of the Kinder Institute Society of Fellows are now open, with a deadline of Sunday, April 2, 2023 at 11:59pm. Mizzou students of any and all majors who are returning to campus for the full 2023-24 academic year are eligible to apply. See the call-for-applications below for more details.

An optional information session about the program will be held on Friday, March 10, 2023 at 4pm in Jesse 410. Questions and completed applications can be sent to Dr. Thomas Kane, Kinder Institute Director of Undergraduate Studies and Society of Fellows Program Coordinator, at KaneTC@missouri.edu



The Kinder Scholars D.C. Summer Program provides rising MU juniors and seniors with a rare chance to wed theory and practice by spending the summer in the nation’s capital taking a 3-credit hour seminar on U.S. constitutional history while also interning four days a week at an organization whose mission complements their academic coursework and post-college interests.

Applications for the 2024 cohort of the Kinder Scholars D.C. Summer Program will open in September.



Any student enrolled at Mizzou is eligible to apply to receive the Kinder Institute’s Minor or Certificate in American Constitutional Democracy. With a truly interdisciplinary curriculum that weaves together the study of history, political science, philosophy, economics, and more, both degrees were designed to provide students with expansive, diverse courses of study in the philosophical foundations and historical development of constitutional democracy not only in the United States but also around the globe.



Founded by Anurag Chandran, a member of the inaugural classes of the Society of Fellows and Kinder Scholars Program, the Journal on Constitutional Democracy is a student-run, scholarly publication organized each year around a new theme. Now structured as a two-semester, three-credit hour class with an Honors option, the Journal not only lets staff members conceptualize and patiently execute an article-length, academic writing project of their own devising but also gives them experience in the worlds of copyediting, layout and design, and promotion. All current and past members of the Kinder Institute’s Society of Fellows are eligible to take the Journal course, with seats also open for Constitutional Democracy majors.



Mizzou undergraduates of any major can examine the history and legacies of racialized rule in South Africa through HIST/CNST_DEM/BL_STU 4835: Race & Politics in South Africa, a three-credit hour class that includes an intersession study abroad component hosted at University of the Western Cape, in Cape Town, during January. The abroad portion of the course is organized around seminars, guest lectures, and tours of museums and sites of historic significance, and students fulfill the remainder of course requirements during the spring semester by completing a substantial, independent research and writing project.

Applications for the January 2024 study abroad trip to South Africa will open in September. Contact Caroline Spalding, cspalding@missouri.edu, with any questions.



A regular, three-credit hour spring course, Constitutional Litigation (CNST_DEM/POL_SC 4231) walks students step-by-step through the history and process of federal constitutional adjudication, from the contours of federal courts as laid out in Article III, through how the present-day Supreme Court goes about choosing its docket.

As part of the curriculum, students spend Spring Break in D.C. exploring the course’s subject matter in context through sitting in on oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court and touring other sites of relevance.

Applications for the Spring 2024 section of CNST_DEM/POL_SC 4231 will open in September.

The course satisfies the experiential requirement for the B.A. in Constitutional Democracy or Minor in American Constitutional Democracy.