Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant's painting, "Antigone at the Bedside of Polynice"

Basic Program Year One: Autumn


Available Sections

Offered for
09:30 am—12:45 pm
Taught by
Cynthia Rutz, Noah Chafets
Section Notes
No class Nov 26
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Since 1946, the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults has engaged lifelong learners in reading, discussing, and building community around the foundational texts of literature, philosophy, and political and social science that continue to influence our lives and society today. Read, explore, and engage with these fundamental texts in our rigorous, noncredit courses, with a dedicated community of learners, led by experienced instructors. There are no tests, papers, or grades; you will instead discover, disagree with, and discuss these works just as students in the College at the University of Chicago do, but with the benefit of additional years of insight and experience to add to the conversation.

Courses meet three hours, once a week, for ten weeks. Each class session consists of a seminar, covering three or four texts, and a tutorial, which involves in-depth analysis of one or two texts. Students take the curriculum in sequence, progressing with their classmates from quarter to quarter and year to year.

Participants earn a certificate upon completion of the entire four-year curriculum, as well as some of the privileges of University of Chicago alumni.

No application is required at any time. Students register for courses one quarter at a time. Participants must study the curriculum in order: Year 1 is a pre-requisite for Year 2, and so on. We encourage students to register for Year 1 in the Autumn Quarter, but it is possible to join in later quarters.

Year 1 classes are offered, for your choice and convenience, in three different formats, and at different times in the week. Section 22A1 meets IN-PERSON in downtown Chicago; Sections 22A2 and 22A3 meet online via Zoom, and split the two ninety-minute halves of class into two days, with Tuesday for the Seminar and Thursday for the Tutorial; finally, the sections numbered 22A4 and up are offered online in the traditional three-hour block.

Tuition fee $500.

Course Outline

For specific dates, see at right under each Section: SCHEDULE AND LOCATION. Reading schedule is identical across all Sections.


Week Seminar
1 Sophocles, Antigone (opening scene will be read aloud in class)
2 Sophocles, Antigone (lines 1-625 [2nd ed.: 678])
3 Sophocles, Antigone (625-1352 [2nd ed.: 1424])
4 Plato, Apology (17a – 35e)
5 Plato, Apology (35e – 42a)
6 Plato, Crito (entire)
7 Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (Parts 1 & 2)
8 Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (Parts 3 & 4)
9 Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (Parts 5 & 6)
10 Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (Epilogue 1 & 2)


Week Tutorial

Plato, Meno (three pages per week, no assignment for Week 1)

Required Texts

  • Sophocles: Sophocles I, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226311517.
  • Plato: Five Dialogues, trans. by GMA Grube, Hackett, ISBN 978-0872206335.
  • Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment, trans. by Pevear and Volokhonsky, Vintage Press, ISBN 978-0679734505.


Books are available using the Textbook order form from the Gleacher Center Bookstore online, or by using the ISBN number to order the correct edition elsewhere.


Online registration deadline: Thursday, September 22 at 5 pm CT

Taking a Graham School Remote Course: You will receive an invitation to join Canvas about a week before the course begins. Please accept the invitation by clicking 'Get Started' and create a log-in for Canvas using your email as the user name and create a password. Then go to the Dashboard and click on your course. Next click on Zoom Professional Education and you will see the link to "Join" your classroom. Canvas houses the course information including the course syllabus, announcements, and discussions. You will not be able to participate in your online class unless you accept the Canvas invitation and set up your account.

For help visit, Online Learning Resources to find step by step instructions.

Taking an In Person Course: At Graham health and safety is our highest priority. As we resume on-site programming, we want to share COVID-19 requirements for attending.

In-person programming must adhere to University of Chicago guidelines, including the following measures:

  • All in-person participants must show proof of fully vaccinated status, defined as two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after one dose of a single-dose vaccine.
  • It is strongly recommended that all in-person participants receive the COVID-19 booster shot(s).

For more information on Education Guidance including vaccine requirements and masking requirements, please visit

For more information on measures the university is taking to help protect public health, please visit