• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Political Sciences, Politics

This course examines the intellectual origins and analytical foundations of Western political thinking, from classical Greece through to the early modern period, focusing on selected thinkers from Thucydides to Machiavelli. The course blends normative and analytical thinking in reconstructing the political concepts at the core of some of the greatest texts in the Western political tradition. The aim of the course is to provide students with first-hand knowledge of the foundations of Western political thinking, including such normative concepts as rule, power, law, self-interest, the good society, the political regime, tyranny, justice, virtue and the good life.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

1. compare core ideas in the history of political thought over this period

2. explain key themes in the history of political thought over this period

3. interpret core texts and relate texts to their historical contexts

4. apply historical political thinking to contemporary political issues

5. argue with evidence about the intellectual and analytical foundations of political theory

Indicative Assessment

Critical Review Paper (20%) of 1000 words (outcomes 1, 2)

Research Paper (40%) of 3000 words (outcomes 2, 3, 4)

Examination (30%) with three required questions (outcomes 2, 3 and 4)

Tutorial Participation (10%) (outcomes 4 and 5)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


2 hours lecture and 1 hour tutorial each week. Students can also expect to spend 6-7 hours each week preparing for lectures, tutorials and assessment.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed12 units of 1000 level POLS courses; or permission of the convenor

Prescribed Texts

P J Steinberger, Editor. Readings in Classical Political Thought. Hackett Publishing 2000.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6696 28 Jun 2016 29 Jun 2016 08 Jul 2016 05 Aug 2016 In Person N/A

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