Are you ready to discover the enduring insights of the greatest thinkers, poets and artists of Western civilisation? Are you curious about the forces and factors that enabled distinctively Western achievements, such as those that led to the birth of modern science in the West?
Course and scholarship
Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation - A degree for the intellectually fearless
Through the study of great works of art, literature, religion, science, philosophy and politics, you will become part of a conversation about ideas that have changed the world as we know it. The skills you acquire from participating in this conversation will equip you for meeting the contemporary challenges humanity faces today with insight, open-mindedness, and the ability to reflect on the nature of what is true, right, and good.
In a learning environment of small, focused groups, you will join a conversation that has been going on since the days of Plato and Aristotle in which you will hear from diverse voices within and beyond it. And you will grapple with abiding questions that touch upon our deepest humanistic concerns about love, death, truth, justice, beauty, democracy, and the challenges of being and becoming an individual within a society.
Applications must include:
- a written essay (see essay requirements and questions on this page)
- most recent academic results:*
- current Australian Year 12 applicants outside of NSW/ACT will need to provide Year 11 results
- applicants not currently in Year 12 will need to provide most recent secondary and/or tertiary study results
*Current Australian Year 12 applicants within NSW/ACT do not need to provide results as these will be accessible via UAC.
Eligible applicants will be invited to take part in a telephone interview with UOW.
Applicants are also encouraged to apply for a UOW Ramsay Scholarship.
The application process includes a written essay submission.
Applicants are required to choose one of the following questions for the essay topic. Please support your answer with reference to at least two great works. Submissions must be between 700 and 800 words (upload in PDF, limit of 5MB). Turnitin will be used by UOW for the purpose of plagiarism detection while assessing your essay.
- Italo Calvino says ‘A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.’ What might this mean? Do you agree?
- Paul Klee offers the insight, ‘Art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible.’ What do you make of this statement? Do you agree?
- L.P. Hartley says, ’The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.’ If so, what good can the great works of the past do in the present?
- Your response to your chosen question should make clear the claim or thesis your short essay is defending in a concise way.
- The body of your essay is expected to provide considerations, analysis, and/or evidence in favour of your thesis (for example, referencing the text or texts you are referring to in your essay.)
- It should be clear how the body of your essay takes you to your conclusion and, thus, supports your thesis.
- Advance a claim that can be backed by reasons: do not simply state your personal opinion. Do not merely give your personal take on the answer to the question. Say why you think that answer is a good answer. Attempt to persuade your reader to see things your way.
- Focus on providing strong reasons in support of your claim. Avoid advancing too many ideas or lines of thought/argument: you have limited space.
- Consider possible objections to your claim and address them, if possible. If you can imagine no challenges or rivals to your claim then it is likely to be obvious, trivially true, and uninteresting.
- Get to the point quickly. Do not waste too many words in general, introductory remarks.
Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation course application key dates
- Application period: 19 July 2021 - 5 pm on 13 August 2021
- Applicants invited to admission interviews (by phone): 1-6 September 2021
- Admissions interviews (by phone): 8-10 September 2021
- Offers for the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation degree: 13 October 2021
Study the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation as a single degree or double degree combination with the Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of International Studies, Bachelor of Creative Arts, or Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
View the Subject Descriptions.
|Course||UOW course code||UAC course code||CRICOS||Campus||Duration||Start date|
|Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation||3019||753100||099633D||Wollongong||3 years FT/EqP||Autumn session|
|Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation/
Bachelor of Laws
|3023||751230||099637M||Wollongong||5 years FT/EqP||Autumn session|
|Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation/
Bachelor of Creative Arts
|3021||751901||099636A||Wollongong||5 years FT/EqP||Autumn session|
|Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation/
Bachelor of International Studies
|3022||751902||099635B||Wollongong||5 years FT/EqP||Autumn session|
|Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation/
Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics
|3024||751903||099638K||Wollongong||5 years FT/EqP||Autumn session|
|Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation (Honours)||3020||N/A||099634C||Wollongong||1 year FT/EqP||Autumn session|
See UOW key dates calendar for autumn session start date.
Q: What is distinctive about the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation?
A: We have designed a curriculum that takes students on a chronologically ordered journey through great periods and epochs of intellectual and artistic change in the West and challenges them to think for themselves.
At each stage of their journey, students will engage directly – in depth and detail – with exemplary classic works and masterpieces of Western art and literature. By learning directly from these works, students will cultivate open, critical minds. Our ambition is to put students into a live conversation with the great minds of the past so they can understand what those minds have to say to us today.
Philosophical reflection and analysis are also at the heart of our program. By joining the great conversation, our students will grapple with concepts they may not otherwise question, such as ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of religion and political philosophy.
By becoming acquainted with foundational epistemological and metaphysical debates such as those between rationalists and empiricists, idealists and realists, students will confront questions about the nature of the self, truth and reason.
Q: What is the origin of Western Civilisation degrees?
A: Western civilisation degrees have a special provenance and proud history. The first of their kind, a degree called Contemporary Civilisation in the West, was created for Columbia College of Columbia University in 1919.
It was born out of an effort to restore public faith in Western Civilisation's powerful artistic, literary and philosophical heritage after German forces had tragically misused the "defence of western civilisation" as justification for atrocities committed during the Great War.
This liberal arts degree was designed to teach ‘student officers about the civilisation they had been tasked with defending’ during WWI. The course evolved into a peace studies degree and later became part of Columbia University’s core curriculum. It continues to be one of Columbia University’s most successful and valued programs of study to this day.
Q: What kind of student will study the new degree?
A: Students who are intellectually curious and interested in asking questions about received views and assumptions.
Our liberal arts program takes inspiration from the American Philosopher, Robert Hutchins, and his idea of the great conversation. Hutchins wrote in 1952, “Nothing is to remain undiscussed. Everybody is to speak [their] mind. No proposition is to be left unexamined.”
Students will be confronted with questions about the very idea of Western civilisation and its influences on contemporary thought and practice. A major aim of the degree is for students to ask fundamental questions about what they are studying and to give reasons for the views they adopt.
Our ambition is to instil a spirit of open questioning in all of our students and to equip our students to reason about and evaluate possible answers to those difficult questions.
As with our other arts and humanities offerings, they will learn how to think, not what to think.
Q: What is the application process to study the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation?
Q: Can new students defer an offer?
A: Yes, new students can defer an offer to study the degree however scholarship offers cannot be deferred.
Q: Can this degree be studied part-time?
A: Yes, the degree can be completed part-time however only full-time students are eligible to receive a scholarship.
Q: Can students undertake the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation as part of a double degree program?
A: Yes, students are able to study the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation as a double degree combination with the Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of International Studies, Bachelor of Creative Arts, or Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
Q: Will mature aged applicants be considered for a place in the degree?
A: Yes, mature aged applicants are invited to apply.
Q: Who will teach the new degree?
A: From 2019 to 2021, UOW will hire nine academics to teach the new degree. A global search will be conducted for the best and most suitable academic talent.
These colleagues will have the normal UOW academic contracts, including normal loading for research, and will accrue research leave entitlement at the normal rate.
Q: Where will graduates expect to find employment?
A: Graduates will be prepared for the future with invaluable transferrable skills. There is a demonstrated need for erudite graduates who can think and reason critically and creatively and who can communicate clearly. They will be well placed to be leaders in the knowledge economy, ready for careers in sectors including civil society, business and government, and ready to tackle the challenges facing Australia and the world.
UOW Ramsay Scholarship
The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation has generously donated thirty unique scholarship opportunities of $30,000 per annum for up to five years. This covers a full range of study options including; a 3 year single degree; a 3 year degree plus an honours year; or a full 5-year double-degree program. Scholarship recipients will enjoy access to a dedicated study lounge, small class sizes, academic mentoring and an opportunity to engage in a bespoke scholarly experience
You are strongly encouraged to apply for this scholarship opportunity if you are a high-achieving student applying to study the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation, and believe you demonstrate the UOW Ramsay Scholar Attributes*.
UOW Ramsay Scholarships will be awarded on the basis of an interview with the scholarship panel.
To be eligible for the UOW Ramsay Scholarship, applicants:
- must enrol in the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation as a single degree or double degree
- must enrol and remain enrolled as a full-time student in a Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation
- will normally be in Year 12; or have completed Year 12 within the past 12 months at the time of application
- will normally be aged 16-21 when the scholarship commences
- must be an Australian Citizen or Australian Permanent Resident
UOW Ramsay Scholarship applicants must complete the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation online application first, and then complete the UOW Ramsay Scholarship online application.
Scholarship applicants must submit a cover letter and resume outlining any extra-curricular activities or other achievements. The Scholarship Panel will also consider the essay you submitted as part of your course application.
Applications will be considered based on:
- the essay submitted for the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation course application
- a cover letter and resume outlining any extracurricular activities or other achievements
- an on-campus interview comprised of a small group session and an individual interview with a Scholarship Panel, at which the panel will assess applicants against the UOW Ramsay Scholar Attributes*
* UOW Ramsay Scholar attributes
Passionate, engaged, entrepreneurial, and responsible, UOW Ramsay Scholars are tolerant and collaborative contributors to their communities and workplaces. They are creative and critical thinkers who challenge and cross boundaries. They contribute effectively and independently to discussion and debate, while demonstrating self-awareness, a desire to empower others, and qualities such as empathy, humility and diplomacy. UOW Ramsay Scholars are the exemplar of UOW graduates: intellectually fearless and socially connected leaders.
UOW Ramsay Scholarship application key dates:
- Application period: 19 July 2021 – 5 pm on 13 August 2021
- Invitations to scholarship interviews: 17 and 20 September 2021
- Scholarship interviews held at UOW Wollongong campus: 28 and 29 September 2021
- Offers for UOW Ramsay Scholarships: 13 October 2021
Q: What is the criteria to become a UOW Ramsay Scholar?
A: Applicants must enrol in the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation as a single or double degree; remain enrolled as a full-time student in a Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation; will normally be in Year 12; or have completed Year 12 within the past 12 months at the time of application; will normally be aged 16-21 when the scholarship commences; and must be an Australian Citizen or Australian Permanent Resident.
Q: What is the process for the degree and scholarship applications?
A: Applications for the degree will be considered based on academic performance, a written submission (essay) and a phone interview. Applicants for the scholarship, will be considered based on eligibility criteria, the degree submission essay and on-campus interview. Refer to the ‘How to Apply’ and ‘UOW Ramsay Scholarship’ information on this page.
Q: What is the value of the scholarship?
A: The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation have generously donated thirty unique scholarship opportunities of $30,000 per annum for up to five years. This covers a full range of study options including; a 3 year single degree; a 3 year degree plus an honours year; or a full 5-year double-degree program.
Q: What is involved in the scholarship interview?
A: The process includes a small group activity and an individual interview with scholarship panel. The panel will assess students against a variety of criteria, including the UOW Ramsay Attributes.
Q: What are the UOW Ramsay Attributes?
A: Passionate, engaged, entrepreneurial, and responsible, UOW Ramsay Scholars are tolerant and collaborative contributors to their communities and workplaces. They are creative and critical thinkers who challenge and cross boundaries.
They contribute effectively and independently to discussion and debate, while demonstrating self-awareness, a desire to empower others, and qualities such as empathy, humility and diplomacy.
UOW Ramsay Scholars are the exemplar of UOW graduates: intellectually fearless and socially connected leaders.
Q: Will my scholarship be impacted if I study part-time?
A: The degree can be completed part-time but the scholarship is only available to full-time students.
Q: How do students receive the scholarship?
A: Two lump-sum payments will be made per year, shortly after Autumn and Spring session census dates.
Q: I applied for entry to the degree and the scholarship; I have an offer to study the degree but I was not awarded a scholarship, can I still study the degree?
A: Yes. There is no requirement to be a scholarship recipient in order to study the degree.
Q: How does the accommodation component of the scholarship work?
A: On campus accommodation will be guaranteed for all UOW Ramsay Scholars for the full duration of the scholarship. While UOW Ramsay Scholars are encouraged to take up this offer, it is not mandatory.
Q: Is the scholarship open to international students?
A: Only domestic students are eligible for the Ramsay Scholarship, however international students are encouraged to apply to study the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation degree.