Hillsdale College Online Courses
Learn with Hillsdale, and deepen your understanding of the great ideas of Western Civilization.
As Thomas Jefferson said, “Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to, convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.”
That’s why Hillsdale has become a national leader in free online courses. In fact, we average more than 1,000 enrollments per day across all our courses. And our most popular course—“Constitution 101”—now has more than 800,000 students around the world.
You’ll study with the same Hillsdale faculty who teach on our campus. It’s a great way to experience aspects of Hillsdale’s Core Curriculum, as well as learn from some of today’s best teacher-scholars in the fields of politics, history, economics, and English.
Shakespeare: Hamlet and The Tempest
One of the world’s greatest poets, William Shakespeare is the author of plays that have been read and performed for more than 400 years. A close study of his works reveals timeless lessons about human nature, which offer a mirror for examining one’s own character. In Hamlet and The Tempest, Shakespeare considers those virtues and vices that make self-government and statesmanship possible or impossible to achieve.
The U.S. Supreme Court
Article III of the U.S. Constitution vests the judicial power “in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” According to Federalist 78, the judicial branch “will always be the least dangerous” to the liberty of the American people. Yet, judicial decisions have done much to advance a Progressive agenda that poses a fundamental threat to liberty. This course will consider several landmark Supreme Court cases in relation to the Founders’ Constitution.
Public Policy from a Constitutional Viewpoint
The American Founders wrote a Constitution that established a government limited in size and scope, whose central purpose was to secure the natural rights of all Americans. By contrast, early Progressives rejected the notion of fixed limits on government, and their political descendants continue today to seek an ever-larger role for the federal bureaucracy in American life. In light of this fundamental and ongoing disagreement over the purpose of government, this course will consider contemporary public policy issues from a constitutional viewpoint.
Athens and Sparta
A study of the ancient Greek cities of Athens and Sparta is essential for understanding the beginning of the story of Western Civilization. Moreover, such a study reveals timeless truths about the human condition that are applicable in any age. This course will consider life and government in Athens and Sparta, examine their respective roles in the Persian and Peloponnesian War, and offer some conclusions regarding their continuing relevance.
An Introduction to C.S. Lewis: Writings and Significance
C.S. Lewis was the greatest Christian apologist of the twentieth century. He was also the author of works of fiction, including the Chronicles of Narnia, and of philosophy, including The Abolition of Man. This course will consider Lewis’s apologetics and his fiction, as well as his philosophical and literary writings, and their continuing significance today.
Winston Churchill and Statesmanship
Winston Churchill was the greatest statesman of the twentieth century, and one of the greatest in all of history. From a young age, Churchill understood the unique dangers of modern warfare, and he worked to respond to them. Though best known for his leadership during World War II, he was also a great defender of constitutionalism. A close study of Churchill’s words and deeds offers timeless lessons about the virtues, especially prudence, required for great statesmanship.
The Federalist Papers
Written between October 1787 and August 1788, The Federalist Papers is a collection of newspaper essays written in defense of the Constitution. Writing under the pen name Publius, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay explain the merits of the proposed Constitution while confronting objections raised by its opponents. Thomas Jefferson described the work as “the best commentary on the principles of government, which ever was written.” This course will explore major themes of The Federalist Papers, such as the problem of majority faction, separation of powers, and the three branches of government.
A Proper Understanding of K-12 Education: Theory and Practice
The American Founders recognized the central importance of education for the inculcation of the kind of knowledge and character that is essential to the maintenance of free government. For example, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 states, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” This course will consider the older understanding of the purpose of education, the more recent Progressive approach that has become dominant today, and some essential elements of K-12 education.
The Presidency and the Constitution
This free, 10-week, not-for-credit course, taught by the Hillsdale College politics faculty, will help you understand the structure and function of executive power in the American constitutional order. The course begins with the place of the president in the constitutionalism of the Founding Fathers and examines how that role has changed with the rise of the modern Progressive administrative state.
Great Books 102: Renaissance to Modern
This 11-week, not-for-credit course, taught by Hillsdale College faculty, will introduce you to great books from the Renaissance through the modern era. You will explore the writings of Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Austen, Twain, and more. This course will challenge you to seek timeless lessons regarding human nature, virtue, self-government, and liberty in the pages of the great books.
Constitution 101: The Meaning & History of the Constitution
Taught by the Hillsdale College Politics faculty, this course will introduce you to the meaning and history of the United States Constitution. The course will examine a number of original source documents from the Founding period, including especially the Declaration of Independence and The Federalist Papers. The course will also consider two significant challenges to the Founders’ Constitution: the institution of slavery and the rise of Progressivism.
Great Books 101—Ancient to Medieval
This 11-week, not-for-credit course, taught by Hillsdale College faculty, will introduce you to great books from antiquity to the medieval period. You will explore the writings of Homer, St. Augustine, Dante, and more. This course will challenge you to seek timeless lessons regarding human nature, virtue, self-government, and liberty in the pages of the great books.
Economics 101: The Principles of Free Market Economics
This is a free, ten-week, not-for-credit online course offered by Hillsdale College. With introductory and concluding lectures by Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, the eight lectures at its core—taught by Gary Wolfram, the William E. Simon Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Hillsdale College—will focus on the foundational principles of the free market. Topics include the relationship of supply and demand, the “information problem” behind the failure of central planning, the rise of macroeconomics under the influence of John Maynard Keynes, and the 2008 financial crisis.
History 102: American Heritage—From Colonial Settlement to the Reagan Revolution
This is a free, ten-week, not-for-credit online course offered by Hillsdale College. With an introductory lecture by Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, the nine lectures—taught by members of Hillsdale College’s history department faculty—are a continuation of History 101: Western Heritage and focus on key aspects of American history, from the settlement of the original thirteen colonies to the Reagan Revolution.
History 101: Western Heritage—From the Book of Genesis to John Locke
This is a free, ten-week, not-for-credit online course offered by Hillsdale College. With an introductory lecture by Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, the nine lectures—by members of Hillsdale College’s history department faculty—will focus on key aspects of the beginning of Western Civilization and its Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian heritage.
Constitution 201: The Progressive Rejection of the Founding and the Rise of Bureaucratic Despotism
This is a free, ten-week, not-for-credit online course offered by Hillsdale College. With introductory and concluding lectures by Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, the nine lectures—taught by members of Hillsdale College’s politics department faculty—are a continuation of Constitution 101 (2012): The Meaning & History of the Constitution. These lectures will focus on the importance of the principles of the American Founding and the current assault on them by the Progressives.
Introduction to the Constitution
This is a five-part introductory lecture series by Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn focusing on the Constitution of the United States.