• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

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 Homer to Aristotle. 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:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. compare core ideas in the history of political thought from classical Greece through to the early modern period;
  2. explain key themes in the history of political thought from classical Greece through to the early modern period;
  3. interpret core texts and relate texts to their historical contexts;
  4. apply historical political thinking to contemporary political issues; and
  5. argue with evidence about the intellectual and analytical foundations of political theory.

Other Information

The intensive dates for 2018 are:

10am-3pm on the following six days

Tuesday 26 and Thursday 28 June

Tuesday 3 and Thursday 5 July

Tuesday 10 and Thursday 12 July

Indicative Assessment

Examination: take home examination distributed on last day of six day winter intensive (50%) (LO 1-5)
Research Paper: 3000 word paper to be submitted three weeks after last day of class (50%) (LO 1-5)

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.


96 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 24 hours of contact: 4 contact hours each day over six teaching days (Tuesdays and Thursdays over three weeks); and,
b) 72 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 level Political Science (POLS) courses, or with permission of the convener.

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.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $3900
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5580
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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