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*Developing Dynamics of Democracy

Amsterdam, Netherlands ; Leiden, Netherlands ; Strasbourg, France

IntroductionAcademicsLocation Faculty Program Director CostsDatesApplication


The MU International Center sponsors this summer, faculty-led program in collaboration with Department of Political Science. MU professor L. Marvin Overby will lead this four-week program in Leiden, Netherlands, and Strasbourg, France.

This unique and dynamic course 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.

There will be five $1,000 scholarships from the Kinder Forum on Constitutional Democracy available for students enrolled in this program. Interested students should contact Marvin Overby for information on how to apply.



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: Developing Dynamics of Democracy (3) 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.


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.

Strasbourg is a historic city in eastern France and is home to France's second-largest student population. This medieval city's winding streets and iconic Gothic cathedral offer just a glimpse of what it has to offer. Regarded as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, the entire city center was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. In addition to its incredible architecture, the city is also home to many parks, museums and the second-largest library in France. Strasbourg is also the seat of many European institutions including the European Parliament.


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 France might include tours of:

  • Burcht Castle
  • The Hague
  • Anne Frank Museum
  • Van Gogh Museum

Tentative itinerary

  • June 6: Arrive in Leiden
  • June 7: Tour Leiden
  • June 8–18: Class in Leiden
  • June 19–20: Tour Amsterdam
  • June 21: Arrive in Strasbourg
  • June 22–July 3: Class in Strasbourg
  • July 4: End of program

Faculty program director

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

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 2015 02/17/2015 02/23/2015 06/06/2015 07/04/2015

Early acceptance date for summer 2015 programs: December 19, 2014

Summer faculty-led programs fill up quickly! Submit your application by the early acceptance date to ensure preferred consideration for admission and to be eligible for International Center scholarship funds reserved for early acceptance applicants. Applications are still welcome after the early acceptance date, but must be received by the final application deadline of February 16, 2015 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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