Certificate in Political Philosophy

NFQ Level





12 weeks







The Certificate in Political Philosophy aims to provide learners with an overview of the classic topics in political philosophy and the major thinkers in the western political tradition, and support learners to examine the influence of these philosophical concepts influence on contemporary political structures. It also aims to deepen learner understanding of the links between into social, scientific, and philosophical subjects.

This course is divided into two parts. The first part examines classic topics in political philosophy, from the historical figures in Greek philosophy to social contract theories of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as well as key critiques. The second part of the course will explore issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as equality, human rights, and the politics of immigration with reference to contemporary case studies.

Credits: 5 ECTS

Delivery: 2 hour online lecture every second Saturday and 6-hours self-directed learning. See January 2024 Programme Schedule for further details.

The course will cover the following areas:

Introduction to Political Philosophy and Philosophical Inquiry:

Origins of and Development of Political Philosophy; Branches and Themes and Phases in Philosophy; Linking Philosophy, Social and Scientific Disciplines in the Context of Politics and Sociology

Theorists and Concepts:

Plato and the Republic; Social Contract Theories: Thomas Hobbes; John Locke; Jean-Jacques Rousseau; Human Nature; Natural Rights; Legitimate Sovereignty; The Social Contract; Notions of Freedom and Equality; Political Membership; Distributive Justice; Feminist, Postcolonial and Marxist Critiques.

Applying Political Philosophy to the Contemporary World:

The Ethics of Immigration; Open Borders; Distributive Justice; Citizenship – Exclusion & Exclusion


Entry Requirements

Applications are assessed on a case by case basis in accordance with Carlow College Admission Guidelines and Procedures for Part-Time Learners


Course fees are €350 and payable at registration.


Applications for Certificates commencing in January open in late October. Full application details are available here

The Certificate in Political Philosophy
is validated by the South East Technological University.

Course Contacts

Dr Eoghan Smith

Course Enquiries

T: 059 9153257

E: esmith@carlowcollege.ie

Admissions Office

Admissions Enquiries

T: 059 9153268

E: directentry@carlowcollege.ie

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