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*Developing Dynamics of Democracy

Netherlands: Amsterdam, Leiden; Belgium: Brussels

Introduction AcademicsLocation Faculty Program Director CostsDatesApplication


The MU International Center and the Department of Political Science have come together to offer a unique, four-week program in Leiden, Netherlands, and Brussels, Belgium.

The program will be led by MU professor L. Marvin Overby, who will teach a dynamic class that will "unpack" the term democracy, exploring its history, development and practice in various environments. This month-long study abroad program will be an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the development of supra-national democratic institutions within the European Union, while earning up to six MU credits.



All students who join the program will be enrolled in one MU course for a total of three credits. This course can be used for capstone credit and can count toward a minor in American Constitutional Democracy. Students can also arrange to earn an additional three hours of course credit while on the program.

POL SC 4840 (3): Developing Dynamics of Democracy is a four week course that focuses on the developing dynamics of democracy as practiced in the United States and Europe. Taking the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville as our point of departure, students will consider various aspects of democracy, comparing and contrasting situations in America and Europe historically and currently.

Students will consider democratic development in older versus newer societies, the influence of social and cultural factors, and divergent historical development patterns. Students will compare institutional arrangements and political practices, assessing their implications for democracy in the 21st century. Finally, students will reflect on the emergence and consequences of supra-national democratic organizations, such as the European Union.

Academic credit

All students will be enrolled in actual MU courses. All students are guaranteed to receive MU credit for successfully completed courses; however, students must work with their academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how courses might fulfill degree requirements.

MU students: Grades will calculate into students' MU GPAs and appear on students' MU transcripts when grades are recorded by the Faculty Program Director. Students must work with their academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how the courses might fulfill degree requirements.

Non-MU/visiting students: Transcripts will be issued from MU and can be mailed to students' home universities. Students must work with their home universities to determine how credit from the program will transfer. The MU International Center will issue ONE transcript per student to one domestic address, as indicated on the student's Non-MU Student Application for Study Abroad. Additional MU transcripts for study abroad must be requested and purchased from the MU Registrar.


Host program

The MU International Center and the Department of Political Science sponsor this summer faculty-led study abroad program.

Accommodations and meals

Students will stay in shared rooms in hotels or residence halls. Most breakfasts and some group dinners are included in the program cost--students will be responsible for all other meals on their own.

Host cities and surrounding areas

Leiden, Netherlands, is a lively university town nestled within a latticework of canals and charming city-streets lined with museums, shops, and gardens. The birthplace of Rembrandt, Leiden is close to both Amsterdam and The Hague, which hosts the International Court of Justice. Among Leiden's other famous landmarks is the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum. The Pilgrims of Thanksgiving fame set sail from this quaint Dutch town in 1620 for what later became the state of Massachusetts. Leiden is also home to Keukenhof Gardens, the largest flower garden in the world. From politics to history to nature and art, Leiden has something for everyone!

Brussels, Belgium, holds an important role as the seat of many of the main institutions of the European Union, making it essentially the capital of Europe and an ideal location for studying democracy in action. A truly international city, Brussels is famous for its delectable cuisine, including mussels, waffles, frites and some of the best beers in the world! Brussels has a multi-lingual population, bustling nightlife, and fascinating blend of classical and modern art and architecture. The city's central location offers students and visitors affordable accessibility to other European cities, including London, Paris, and Frankfurt.


Students will travel with the group, but they will have opportunities to explore numerous sites independently during their time abroad.

Visits around the Netherlands and Belgium might include tours of:

  • Burcht Castle
  • The Hague
  • Anne Frank Museum
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • European Parliament
  • European Commission

Tentative itinerary

  • May 31: Arrive in Leiden
  • June 1: Tour Leiden
  • June 2–12: Class in Leiden
  • June 13–14: Tour Amsterdam
  • June 15: Arrive in Brussels
  • June 16–27: Class in Brussels
  • June 28: End of program

Faculty program director

MU faculty member L. Marvin Overby, professor of political science, will accompany the students to Belgium and the Netherlands.

Faculty-led programs enrich the study abroad experience as well as the MU campus by providing students with opportunities to study other cultures and disciplines in depth while gaining new perspectives on our own society. Faculty leaders serve as mentors, role-models and resources as students explore their host institution and country.

L. Marvin Overby

L. Marvin Overby

Prior to joining the faculty at MU in 2002, he taught at the University of Mississippi and Loyola University Chicago. During 2000/01, he served as Lazslo Orzagh Distinguished Fulbright Professor at the University of Szeged in Hungary, and during both 1997/98 and 2005/06 as Fei Yi Ming Visiting Professor at the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, PRC.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Davidson College and his Ph.D. from the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma. His research and teaching interests include legislative politics, Southern politics and minority politics.

This course is a wonderful opportunity for students to consider the many facets of democracy, wrestling with what that term means, how its meaning has changed historically and how democracy is practiced in different ways in different political cultures. — L. Marvin Overby


Program Budget

Additional Expenses

In addition to the program costs paid to MU, you will have expenses associated with international travel and living abroad. The amounts listed are estimated costs based on current exchange rates and on the information provided to us by your host institution and past participants. Depending on your personal spending habits, you may spend more or less than the figures provided.

Please note that these expenses do not include vacation travel or sightseeing.

Financial Aid Information

If you are awarded financial aid for study abroad, it will be applied to your MU account according to the regular financial aid disbursement schedule. Reminder: You must be enrolled in study abroad and have completed the required financial aid forms for study abroad in order to be considered for aid.

Because non-resident tuition charges apply, MU students should be eligible to use non-resident scholarship towards the program costs.

Dates and Deadlines

Term Application Deadline Decision Date Program Start Program End
Summer 2014 02/17/2014 02/28/2014 05/31/2014 06/28/2014

Priority decision date: December 2, 2013

Summer faculty-led programs fill up quickly! Submit your application by the priority decision date to ensure preferred consideration for admission and to be eligible for scholarship funds reserved for priority decision applicants. Applications are still welcome after the priority decision date, but must be received by the final application deadline of February 17, 2014 for consideration.


We are delighted that you are applying to study abroad. This is the first step of your journey, and while there is a lot to do, it should not be overwhelming. Once you apply for the program, you will have an electronic checklist to help you through the process. In addition, our study abroad staff are available to answer your questions.

  1. Meet with the MU International Center study abroad adviser for your program or country of interest.
  2. If you are an MU Student, start an application in using the button below. Non-MU students should visit our page for Non-MU participants for more information about the application process. Please note:
    • Once you have started an application, you can login again using the myStudyAbroad button above.
    • By starting an application you will incur a $50 application fee, even if you do not complete your application.
  3. Complete your application. There will be several documents that need to be completed for the application. While specific requirements vary by program, a typical application consists of the following:
    • Material submissions - Printable forms which require the physical submission of materials.
    • Signature Documents - Items you may digitally sign (if you are over 18 years of age) to indicate your agreement and understanding.
    • Recommendation Forms - Recommendations may be submitted electronically by MU faculty and staff.
    • Application Questionnaires - Items that you complete and submit electronically online.
      • Application Certification/FERPA waiver
      • Essay
      • International Center Scholarship Application
      • Recommendation FERPA waiver

This program is not currently accepting applications.

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