Existentialism: Nietzsche and Sartre ADED11258

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Short Courses
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

What kind of beings are we? In what sense are we free? What is it to live an authentic existence? How do we find meaning in our lives? Through talks, group discussions and further reading, this introductory course seeks to explore these central questions that define existentialism. It introduces some of existentialism's key figures (Nietzsche, Sartre, and others), locates them within their historical context, and explores how they grappled with these questions. Lastly, it explores existentialism's continuing relevance for how we experience the world today.


Block 2

2 hours per week for 10 weeks

Thursdays, 19.00-21.00

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





5-minute presentation or 500-word written commentary summarising a key concept from existentialism with reference to its historical context (25%)


1,500-word essay comparing existentialist approaches to a contemporary situation (75%)

Course Aims

The aims of the course are to:

■ Introduce students to some of the key concepts and arguments that define existentialism

■ Present those arguments in their 19th and 20th century contexts

■ Explore the ongoing relevance of existentialist ideas for contemporary situations

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, through class discussions and optional formative assessment, students will be able to:

■ Analyse and compare some of the key concepts associated with existentialism

■ Recognise the historical contexts of those concepts and arguments

■ Apply existentialist concepts and ideas to contemporary situations.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.