USQ LogoCourse specification
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

HMT1000 History of Western Ideas

Semester 2, 2013 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities and Communication
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Jess Carniel
Moderator: Bryce Barker

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


Students studying in a wide range of disciplines, in the Faculty of Arts especially but also in other faculties, will profit from a broad survey of the main movements of ideas in Western culture during the last two thousand years. This course will provide an essential background of such general knowledge and will enable students to contextualise specialised areas of study in their programs of study within broad philosophical and socio-historical frameworks. It will lay a secure foundation for future study in the Humanities and Social Sciences generally, and will provide a point of connection and common knowledge for students studying a diverse range of subjects in different majors.


This course provides a survey of some of the most significant currents of ideas in Western culture. Although the course circles back constantly to certain recurring key ideas (the nature of reality, individual and society, culture and technology, gender, religion and belief), it follows a roughly historical structure, beginning with the origins of philosophical thinking amongst the ancient Greeks and in the early Christian world, discusses the origins of the modern world in the European Renaissance and Enlightenment, and finishes with some of the great issues of our own times, such as social revolution, the theory of evolution, structuralism, and environmentalism


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of philosophical, social and historical concepts
  2. identify some of the major schools of thought, key ideas and most important thinkers in Western culture
  3. understand the relationship between schools of thought and their social and historical contexts
  4. develop and articulate an informed personal position on important philosophical and social issues


Description Weighting(%)
1. The Civilised Society 10.00
2. Ideas and Reality 10.00
3. Empire, State and Culture 10.00
4. Religion and Authority 10.00
5. Humanism, Individualism and Enlightenment 10.00
6. Culture and the Industrial World 10.00
7. Modern and Postmodern 10.00
8. Creation and Evolution 10.00
9. Gender and Sexuality 10.00
10. Globalism and the Environment 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Tarnas, Richard 1991, The Passion of the Western Mind, Pimlico.
    (Copyright 1991, printed & distributed by Random House 1996, 2010.)
  • Instructional package.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Appignanesi, R & Garratt, C 1995, Introducing Postmodernism, New York, Totem Books.
  • Braudel, F Trans. Richard Mayne 1995, A History of Civilisations, Penguin, London.
  • Cantor, NF 1994, The Civilisation of the Middle Ages, Harper Perennial, New York.
  • Darwin, C 2009, On the Origin of Species, Penguin, London.
  • de Steiguer, JE 2006, The Origins of Modern Environmental Thought, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Lectures 13.00
Private Study 126.00
Tutorials 26.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ONLINE POSTINGS WEEKS 1-12 100 10 25 Jul 2013 (see note 1)
SHORT ESSAY 100 20 31 Aug 2013
FULL ESSAY 100 30 22 Oct 2013
EXAM 100 40 End S2 (see note 2)

  1. Weekly
  2. Students are to check UConnect for their exam timetable once it has been finalised

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students’ responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    The examination for this course is a Restricted Examination.

    The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are:
    o writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination);
    o Students whose first language is not English, may, take an appropriate unmarked nonelectronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination.
    o Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate’s possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.