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, and ancient Rome, 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 a lively Friday night lecture series, 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 2019-2020 academic year (October 7, 2019 to June 1, 2020) covers:

  • One academic year (30 weeks) of full tuition for the Institute’s core course, The Making of the Western Mind
  • 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 will be 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.

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.

Class Details

The Making of the Western Mind, Monday evenings, 7:00-9:45pm
(class is always preceded by a fun gathering hour of wine and goodies)

The Making of the Western Mind invites students to come to know the major philosophers, painters, sculptors, architects, poets, playwrights, and novelists of our western cultural tradition. During our thirty-week journey, we read philosophical essays and epic poems, look at slides of frescoes and oil paintings, and study the biographies of great leaders.

  • Fall, 10 weeks: October 7 – December 16, 2019 (no class November 25)
  • Winter, 10 weeks: January 6 – March 9, 2020
  • Spring, 10 weeks: March 30 – June 1, 2020

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 offered at the Institute building at: 10060 Bubb Road, Cupertino 95014.

For more details, please see the course syllabus. (NOTE: At present, the dates on the syllabus are for the 2019-2020 Making of the Western Mind class. Dr. Fredlund will be updating the syllabus for the 2019-2020 class very soon; the content will be largely the same as the previous class.)


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, 2019 (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.