B.A. in Constitutional Democracy

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 in the U.S.? 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, Philosophy, Public Affairs, Economics, and more.

Degree Plan

There are four primary components of the Constitutional Democracy B.A., which requires 36 total hours of coursework at a C grade or higher.

I. 15 hours of common curriculum coursework on the origins of the United States

II. 15 hours of upper-level coursework in one of five concentration areas: U.S. & the World, Politics & Policy, Law & Institutions, Social & Political Thought, and Early America

III. 3 hours of experiential coursework

IV. 3 hours of thesis or capstone coursework

A degree worksheet, which includes all a list of all non-Early America concentration courses, can be accessed using the link below. Use the “Early America Concentration” tab for more details about that opportunity.

In order to file a graduation plan for a Constitutional Democracy major with the College of Arts & Science, students must have completed at least four out of five common curriculum courses, and a minimum of 15 credit hours of major coursework total, by the end of their fourth semester.

Common Curriculum

Adapted from the Kinder Institute’s Constitutionalism & Democracy course series, the major’s common curriculum, which consists of the five classes below, allows students to explore the origins of the United States, from the philosophers that the founding generation were reading when they were contemplating the design and ambitions of the new nation’s government to the first rocky decades of the American republic.

CNST DEM 2450: Intellectual World of the American Founders (also POL SC 2450)
CNST DEM 2100: Revolutionary Transformation of Early America (also HIST 2100)
CNST DEM 2455: Constitutional Debates (also POL SC 2455)
CNST DEM 2120: Young Republic (also HIST 2120)
CNST DEM 4400: History of American Law (also HIST 4400)

Descriptions of the five common curriculum courses, along with all concentration-area courses, can be found under the “Course Catalogue” tab.

Early America Concentration

The Kinder Institute was created with the core mission of revitalizing study of early American political thought and history at the undergraduate level. The goal was always to create opportunities for students to apply their study of origins to an examination of the evolution of constitutional democracy, in the U.S. and abroad, over time and into the present. At the same time, we wanted students to have the option to focus their energy on a rigorous examination of the nation’s first century (roughly from the Revolution through Reconstruction). The Early America concentration was designed with this in mind.

The following five courses make up the Early America concentration, and they can be taken in any order.

CNST DEM 2860: American Political Thought (also POL SC 2860)
CNST DEM 4000: Age of Jefferson (also HIST 4000)
CNST DEM 4010: Age of Jackson (also HIST 4010)
CNST DEM 4070: Europeans & Indians in Early America (also HIST 4070)
CNST DEM 4080: Slavery & the Crisis of Union, the Civil War, 1848-1877 (also HIST 4040)

Space in the Early America concentration is limited to ten students per year, and it is open by application. Students interested in applying to this concentration must complete all required common curriculum coursework with an aggregate GPA of 3.0 or higher by the end of their fourth semester. A degree worksheet for the Early America concentration can be accessed below.

To apply, submit a writing sample from one of the required common curriculum courses and a letter of recommendation from one of the course instructors to Kinder Institute Academic Advisor Thomas Kane, KaneTC@missouri.edu, by April 1 of your fourth semester on campus.

Experiential Learning Requirement

We want to be broad and creative in our thinking about experiential learning, and students in the Constitutional Democracy major can fulfill this requirement in a number of ways, not only through internships through which they can pursue professional interests, but also through study abroad, research assistantships, directed research programs, and more.

The following courses can be applied toward the Kinder Institute’s experiential requirement, though students can petition the B.A.’s director, Prof. Justin Dyer (DyerJB@missouri.edu), to have other courses count.

CNST DEM 2445: American Constitutional Democracy-Online
CNST DEM 4004: Directed Research in Constitutional Democracy
CNST DEM 4075: Global History at Oxford
CNST DEM 4900: Beltway History & Politics
CNST DEM 4975: Journal on Constitutional Democracy
HIST 4940: Internship in History
POL SC 4940: Internship in Political Science
SRV LRN 3028: Civic Leaders Internship

Note that students cannot use a single course to fulfill both a concentration area and experiential learning requirement and that all non-CNST DEM experiential coursework must be approved by the Constitutional Democracy Academic Advisor prior to students’ receiving major credit for it.

Thesis and Capstone Coursework

Students in the major can fulfill the thesis/capstone requirement by applying at the end of their sixth semester on campus to take CNST DEM 4980, the Kinder Institute’s yearlong thesis writing workshop, through which students will work independently with a thesis advisor to complete a scholarly work of at least 50 pages and also attend weekly seminars on the writing process or peer review workshops.

Space in the two CNST DEM 4980 sections is limited to 20. To apply, send a writing sample of 15-20 pages, two faculty letters of recommendation, and a thesis prospectus to Kinder Institute Academic Advisor Thomas Kane, KaneTC@missouri.edu, by April 1 of your sixth semester on campus.

Students can also fulfill the thesis requirement by taking an additional 4000-/7000-level seminar in their concentration area and fulfilling the graduate writing requirement for the course.

Course Catalog

Descriptions of all common curriculum and concentration area courses can be found in the course catalog, located here.

M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics

Students who complete all concentration area requirements prior to the end of their undergraduate career at Mizzou can begin taking coursework for the Kinder Institute’s M.A. in Atlantic History & Politics, a one-year, interdisciplinary Master’s program that begins with in July, with a month spent studying at University of Oxford, and continues in Columbia during the fall and spring semesters.

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