Skip to main content

Classic Texts


There are no classes currently available for registration.


This is a credit bearing course but can also be taken as a non-credit bearing course.

Discover the difference between our credit bearing and non-credit bearing courses.

This Classic Texts short course introduces you to some of the founding thinkers and texts of modern Western political thought. You will first be introduced to the skills involved in critical reading of political theory texts and then will proceed to apply these skills to the analysis of classic texts such as Machiavelli’s The Prince, Hobbes’s Leviathan and Rousseau’s The Social Contract. You will learn how to read these texts by placing them in the context in which they written, understanding the specific questions the authors raise in light of the political problems they were addressing. But you will also see how these texts can continue to be used in analysing and understanding the political problems of the present.

We plan to cover the following content:

  • Reading Political Theory
  • Machiavelli, The PrinceThe Discourses
  • Hobbes, Leviathan
  • Locke, A Letter Concerning TolerationTwo Treatises
  • Rousseau, The Second DiscourseThe Social Contract
  • Smith, Theory of Moral SentimentsThe Wealth of Nations
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Tocqueville, Democracy in America
  • Mill, On LibertyThe Subjection of Women
  • Nietzsche, The Will to Power

Assessment is via a 500-word seminar log (10%) and 3000-word essay (90%).

15 credits at level 6

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    The Classic Texts short course is equivalent to the final year of an undergraduate degree, so you should have some previous knowledge of the subject at first-year undergraduate level or have professional experience in this area.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.