About the Institute

The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization in Cupertino CA is a non-profit organization for higher education founded in 2002. Our courses and lectures seek to improve our collective understanding of how we in the twenty-first century came to be who we are, why we think the way we do, and what assumptions about the world and human nature are traceable back to earlier periods in the five-thousand-year story of Western civilization.

William H. Fredlund, Ph.D., the Institute’s founder and director, leads our distinguished faculty. Our evening courses in Western cultural history are offered at the Institute building at 10060 Bubb Road in Cupertino. Our students are adults living mostly in the South Bay Area, who take the courses for professional development and/or personal enrichment. In recent years, we have offered courses in the histories of England, France, Italy, Spain, ancient Rome, and ancient Greece, among others, as well as our survey of the history of Western civilization, called The Making of the Western Mind. We also offer language courses (French, Italian, and Spanish) and lively Friday and Saturday evening lectures, featuring visiting professors who present a wide variety of topics.

The Institute Scholarship

An important part of the Institute’s mission is the extension of full tuition scholarships and cash grants to secondary and college instructors who are currently teaching social sciences or humanities (history, literature, philosophy, art, and related courses) in Bay Area schools.

The Institute scholarship award for the 2021-2022 academic year (October 4, 2021 to June 2, 2022) covers:

  • One academic year (30 weeks) of full tuition for the Institute’s classics course, the History of Ancient Greece*
  • A packet of required books for the above class
  • A $1,000 cash grant for the teacher’s own classroom or other educational expenses
  • Eight (8) semester units of Continuing Education (C.E.) units for the year, granted by the University of the Pacific. NOTE: The Institute runs on the quarter system, but the U.O.P. units are granted on the semester system — that is, in two parts, 4 units at the end of the U.O.P. Fall semester (which occurs during the Institute’s Winter quarter), and 4 more units at the end of the U.O.P. Spring semester — for a total of 8 semester units for the academic year.

The class will be presented in a COVID-safe combination of in-person and online sessions.  No grades or tests are required, and the recipient is not required to account for classroom expenses that are defrayed by the cash grant. However, regular attendance and participation in the class are required.

*Part of the strength of the scholarship program comes from the collegiality and contacts afforded to new program entrants by virtue of sharing the same course experience. However, an applicant my choose a different Institute 30-week course (History of Germany, History of Russia, or History of Art) if such choice is more appropriate to a his or her area of professional focus.

Class Details

The History of Ancient Greece, Monday evenings, 7:00-9:45pm

Our class surveys the great heritage that our civilization received from the ancient Greeks— the whole structure of rational thought that led to modern science, the whole structure of democracy, the concepts of law and equality of the citizen before the law, the ideas of freedom of speech and freedom of publication, the art of rhetoric, and the arts of drama and epic poetry.  During our 30 weeks (three quarters), we also enquire into where the Greeks came from, where they settled, how they built their cities, how they built an empire and lost it, and how they were conquered by the Romans—and how Roman intellectual life was conquered by Greece.

  • Fall, 10 weeks: October 4 – December 13, 2021 (no class November 22)
  • Winter, 10 weeks: January 3 – March 7, 2022
  • Spring, 10 weeks: March 28 – May 31, 2022

The instructor is William H. Fredlund, Ph.D., the Director of the Institute, who obtained his B.A. and M.A. from UCLA, where he specialized in European history and art history. He then studied in Italy on a Fulbright Fellowship and completed a double Ph.D. in history and humanities at Stanford, specializing in Renaissance Italy. Dr. Fredlund, who is one of Silicon Valley’s most popular lecturers, has taught for UCLA, the University of Florence, Stanford, and UCSC Extension.

The course is conducted live at the Institute building at 10060 Bubb Road, Cupertino 95014, and in-person attendance is subject to COVID safety rules of the time.  The live course is simulcast via-quality video streaming with interactive Q&A, and recordings of the sessions is available afterwards.

For more details, please see the course syllabus.


Please download, fill out, scan, and send the application to:

  • office(at)westernciv(dot)com

Or mail to:

  • Institute for the Study of Western Civilization
  • 10060 Bubb Road, Cupertino CA 95014

Deadline for submission:October 1, 2021 (space permitting ~ scholarships to qualified candidates will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis until the program is full).

The Institute Scholarship Program is made possible by a generous grant from The Valley Foundation.