Political Ideas and Political Thought

Griffith University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Political Ideas and Political Thought

  • Host University

    Griffith University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Classics, Philosophy, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Course Description
    This course introduces students to major political philosophers in the tradition of western political thought. In examining the original works of thinkers from Plato to Marx, students have to opportunity to engage with their challenging ideas and thereby explore foundational political concepts, such as justice, power and liberty. Thoughtful engagement with these thinkers will also allow students to examine the dynamic relationship between political ideas and practice.

    Course Introduction
    This course aims to introduce students to some of the main thinkers who have shaped the tradition of western political thought and to investigate their place in that tradition. In this course students get the invaluable opportunity to read the original works of a range of philosophers, from Plato and Aristotle, to Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Marx and Mill. In undertaking a close reading of these seminal works students will be able to engage in the great debate or theoretical conversation that has shaped western and contemporary political philosophy. This will allow students to explore and understand the way fundamental concepts and ideas, such as the nature of justice, equality, power, rights and liberty, as well as specific themes regarding regimes, institutions, government and democracy, have been formulated and debated. A thoughtful engagement with these major thinkers and their writings will also allow a greater insight into the dynamic relationship between political ideas and practice, and thereby provide students with greater clarity in understanding how ideas are relevant to current politics. Students will therefore have the opportunity to enhance their ability to think critically and develop coherent, written arguments in the fields of political thought and practice.

    Course Aims
    The course aims to investigate the political ideas of various thinkers, note their place in the history of political thought and also explore their relevance to current politics. It will enhance the ability of students to understand major political concepts as well as their ability to undertake research, think critically and develop coherent, written arguments in the fields of political thought and political science.

    Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1 Have a clear understanding of a selection of the main thinkers in the tradition of western political thought;
    2 Have the ability to comprehend various thinkers' place in that tradition and their relevance to current politics
    3 Apply critical skills in analysing relevant source materials and in developing arguments in relation to topics and issues in the history of political thought.

    Assessment Plan
    Guided discussion with peers - Peer Group Discussion and Contribution 10%/10
    Assignment - Written Assignment - Philosopher's Notebook 10%/10
    Assignment - Written Assignment - Essay 40%/40
    Exam - constructed response - Exam 40%/40

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.