United Kingdom, Brighton


when 21 July 2019 - 15 August 2019
language English
duration 4 weeks
credits 15 EC
fee GBP 2000

Is (human) existence necessarily finite? What does it mean to claim that existence precedes essence? Is existentialism best thought of as a version of humanism? These are just some of the fascinating questions posed in this module.

Although philosophers who are commonly associated with ‘existentialism’ would have neither accepted nor recognised the term, it is a useful way of grouping influential thinkers and themes.

The course critically engages with thinkers such as Kierkegaard, Kafka, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre. It will examine themes such as human freedom, the relation between faith and reason, and we will consider the absurd. It traces the development of existential ideas in philosophical, religious, poetic and fictional works, asking why this movement seems to have led to such a rich intermingling of philosophy and literature. It concludes by considering some of the political and ethical consequences of existentialism.

Course leader

Robb Dunphy

Target group

The University of Sussex International Summer School welcomes applicants from a wide range of educational backgrounds. Although most of you will be currently enrolled at a university or college, we also welcome applicants who have been away from education for some years, as well as highly committed senior high school students - for some courses a good general education, an open mind and lots of enthusiasm are the main qualifications. For some other courses you will see that prerequisites are listed - applicants for these courses are expected to submit transcripts to demonstrate that they have taken, or are currently taking, the necessary precursors.

Course aim

The International Summer School provides an opportunity to meet and study with people from different countries and cultures, on a cosmopolitan campus. The large range of courses on offer allows you to get ahead with credit in core courses, or simply to experiment with something new.

Credits info

15 EC
Summer School courses carry 15 credits and last for four weeks. Since the standard annual load for a Sussex student is 120 credits, this means that each course is equivalent to 4 semester hours or 7.5 ECTS credits. Students can take only one course per session, as the courses are intensive. You can expect to spend 30 to 45 hours each week on your course between attending classes, labs and workshops, as well as time spent outside class preparing the readings and assignments. You can find information about the courses offered by the International Summer School through our course directory or courses by subject pages of our website.

Fee info

GBP 2000: Tuition (one four week session).
GBP 4000: Tuition only (both four week ISS sessions).