Course Description

Basic Program Year 1 continues with Winter Quarter. New students may join the program in Winter Quarter.

The Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults offers a rigorous, noncredit liberal arts curriculum that draws on the strong Socratic tradition at the University of Chicago and covers the foundations of modern Western political and social thought. Read, explore, and engage with these important texts in a dedicated community of learners, led by experienced instructors. There are no tests, papers, or grades; you will instead discover, disagree, and discuss these works just as students in the College at the University of Chicago do, with the benefit of additional years of insight and experience to add to the conversation.

Courses meet three hours, once a week, for ten weeks. Each class session consists of a seminar, covering three or four texts, and a tutorial, which involves in-depth analysis of one or two texts. Students take the curriculum in order, progressing with their classmates from quarter to quarter and year to year.

Course code BASC10202

Participants earn a certificate upon completion of the entire four-year curriculum, as well as some of the privileges of University of Chicago alumni.

No application is required at any time. Students register for courses one quarter at a time. Participants must study the curriculum in order: Year 1 is a pre-requisite for Year 2, and so on.

Course Outline

For specific dates, see at right under each Section: SCHEDULE AND LOCATION. Reading schedule is identical across all Sections.


Week Seminar
1 Herodotus, The History, Book I, 1-94
2 Herodotus, The History, Book I, 95-216
3 Herodotus, The History, Book II, selections
4 Herodotus, The History, Book VII, 1-137
5 Herodotus, The History, Book VII, 138-239
6 Herodotus, The History, Book VIII
7 Aeschylus, Agamemnon
8 Aeschylus, Agamemnon
9 Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers
10 Aeschylus, The Eumenides


Week Tutorial
1 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book I
2 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book I, cont'd
3 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book II
4 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book III
5 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book IV
6 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book V
7 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book VI
8 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book VII
9 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book VIII-IX
10 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book X

Required Texts

  • Herodotus, The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories. Penguin Random House, ISBN 9781400031146.
  • Aeschylus, The Oresteia (Lloyd-Jones, tr., University of California Press, ISBN ISBN 978-0520282100).
  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (Bartlett and Collins, tr., University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226026756).


Books are available using the Textbook order form from the Gleacher Center Bookstore online, or by using the ISBN number to order the correct edition elsewhere.


Deadline for Online Registration: Online Registration for Winter Quarter courses will close on December 22 at 5pm CT. Register today to secure your place!

Taking a Graham School Remote Course: You will receive an invitation to join Canvas about a week before the course begins. Please accept the invitation and create a log-in for Canvas using your email as the user name and create a password. Then go to the Dashboard and click on your course. Next click on Zoom Professional Education and you will see the link to "Join" your classroom. Canvas houses the course information including the course syllabus, announcements, and discussions. You will not be able to participate in your online class unless you accept the Canvas invitation and set up your account.

For help visit, https://grahamschool.uchicago.edu/academic-programs/online/learning-resources/liberal-arts to find step by step instructions for Canvas and Zoom.


We encourage students to register for Year 1 in the Autumn Quarter, but it is possible for new students to join in Winter Quarter.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

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