About us / Subjects

History of Ideas

Graphic element for the subject of History of IdeasThe History of Ideas is about the history of human thinking, from Antiquity to the present day. The subject not only covers the history of philosophy, religion and science, but also that of political ideas.

The focus is on man as a creative and ordered being, how man has perceived the world and mankind. As an idea historian you follow how ideas and concepts change and try to understand why. Concepts that we now consider preposterous can become understandable if we study them from the perspective of a bygone time. They can also open our eyes to contemporary ideas that we often take for granted.

About the subject

One of our students described the benefits of studying the History of Ideas as follows: “An approach based on the History of Ideas means that current social norms appear to be just one of a number of possible ways of organising life; the thought frameworks that seem natural to us can suddenly be influenced and a tendency
towards determinism has to give way to a more open view of both now and the future.


I really believe that such an opening can actually save the world.” The History of Ideas is one of the most comprehensive subjects offered in higher education and is therefore a good basis for a range of degrees. The subject is offered by eight different higher education institutions in Sweden, each having a slightly different emphasis. However, at Bachelor’s level (first cycle) they are generally comparable, with Södertörn University’s particular focus first being emphasised during further studies. The History of Ideas at Master’s level (second-cycle) is currently taught within the framework of the Master’s in the History of Ideas. For more information please visit our Swedish web page.