Kinder Institute Residential College

Launched in Fall 2019, after a successful pilot year in 2019-20, the Kinder Institute Residential College was designed to provide incoming, first-year Mizzou students with an opportunity to forge a tight-knit scholarly community committed to exploring the complex story of constitutional democracy in the United States and around the globe. Use the FAQ buttons below to find out more about the KIRC.

Q: What is the Kinder Institute Residential College?

A: Conceived and proposed in collaboration with the College of Arts & Science and MU Residential Life, it is Mizzou’s first undergraduate residential college, providing unrivaled opportunities for first-year students of all backgrounds and academic pursuits who are interested in American history and politics to live and learn together in historic Wolpers Hall and to begin forming a close-knit intellectual community right when they get to campus. Members of the Residential College take classes together during the fall and spring semesters on the founding and early history of the United States, build a community through the Residential College’s academic and extracurricular programs, receive valuable mentorship from the college’s in-house R.A. and graduate student Collegiate Fellow, form relationships with the Kinder Institute’s world-class faculty and get early exposure to the full breadth of our undergraduate programming.


Q: How do I sign up?

A: Step one is choosing “Kinder Institute Residential College” on your online housing preference form, when it opens up each fall (typically in late-November/early-December). This will save your spot in the KIRC. After this, you’ll have the option to complete a brief, encouraged secondary admissions application, which will be made available at the beginning of each academic year. Doing this will give you priority admission status, should we exceed our 60-student cap, and make you immediately eligible for one of our Morgan and Atterbury Scholarships for first-year students in the Residential College. All students who submit an application prior to December 31 will be notified of their acceptance into the KIRC by the end of January, and applications will remain open until March 1. All scholarship decisions will be announced on April 1.

After you’re notified of acceptance into the Residential College, the last step in the process is just signing a housing contract with Wolpers and then moving into the dorm when the time comes.

Q: Where is Wolpers?

A: A recently renovated, community-style dorm located in the heart of campus, Wolpers is right across the street from the Rec and the MU Student Center and a ten-minute walk from the Kinder Institute’s offices in Jesse Hall.

Q: What are the courses I’ll be taking with other college residents?

A: All students in the Residential College will be introduced to the mode of interdisciplinary inquiry at the heart of all Kinder Institute academic programming through first year classes that engage them in consideration of the relationship between idea and action in the early United States and beyond. During the fall, students will take “Intellectual World of the American Founders” (POL SC 2450), a small seminar that examines the political philosophy that informed the founding of the United States, as well as “The American Civil War: A Global History” (HIST 2150), a class which adds a transnational dimension to study of the Civil War. During the spring, students will take “The Revolutionary Transformation of Early America” (HIST 2100), another small seminar examining the events leading up to 1776 and the war that ensued, as well as a concentration area lecture of their choosing.

All courses associated with the KIRC are part of the B.A. in Constitutional Democracy curriculum, which Residential College participants can be as much as a third of the way toward completing at the end of their first year on campus. Residential College participants are not at all required to declare a Constitutional Democracy major, though we do encourage students interested in pursuing the degree to apply. In addition, the two small seminars associated with the KIRC, POL SC 2450 and HIST 2100, can be taken either as Honors or Non-Honors classes, meaning that Honors eligibility is not a pre-requisite for being part of the KIRC.

Along with the two three-credit hour classes, students will enroll during the fall semester in a one-credit-hour seminar, designed specifically for residents by the college’s R.A. and in-house Graduate Teaching Assistant, that consists of guest lectures, group discussions, introductions to other Kinder Institute programs, and excursions in and around Columbia.

Q: Are scholarships available?

A: We’re excited to be able to supplement select students’ regular financial aid packages with a limited number of Morgan, Atterbury, and Kinder Scholarships, which range in amount from $500 – $2,000, and which are designed to support incoming freshmen during their first year in the Residential College. Deadlines for submitting scholarship applications will be announced at the beginning of each academic year.

Q: Does the Residential College cost more than regular Mizzou enrollment?

A: Not at all. There will be no cost associated with the Residential College other than standard tuition, fees, and room and board costs.

Q: Can I stay involved with the Residential College after my first year?

A: Absolutely! You can continue to live in the dorm. You can apply to be a Residential College R.A. You can keep taking classes in the proposed Constitutional Democracy B.A. curriculum whether you’re pursuing the major or not. And you can just stop by Wolpers for the various student-developed extracurricular programs and activities that we imagine will start taking shape with our first class of college residents.

Plus, we hope you’ll take advantage of some of the other unique undergraduate opportunities at the Kinder Institute. Our programs are open to all students on campus and, in addition to the B.A., include a yearlong academic fellowship program, a chance to study at Oxford for a week or full year, and a summer program in Washington, D.C. In other words, we envision the Residential College being a four-year, not a one-year, experience.

Q: I forgot to ask, what’s the Kinder Institute?

A: We’re a signature academic center at Mizzou that brings faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and members of the community together to explore ideas and events related to the creation of the United States and to trace their reverberations over time and around the globe. We teach classes, we host lectures, we publish books, and most of all, we encourage the endeavors of students who want to learn more about the complicated story of constitutional democracy in the United States.