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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: HUMN550 Course ID: 3528 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course provides study of the logic and methods of science in relation to the development of the universe. It addresses the path by which scientific description of the universe has been made possible. It covers the origin of the universe, the nature of reality, and the relationship between observer and nature. Course topics include cosmology and the future of the human race. Readings for this course include Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time and other emerging relevant contemporary documents.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
10/26/20 - 04/02/21 04/05/21 - 05/30/21 Spring 2021 Session B 8 Week session
01/25/21 - 07/02/21 07/05/21 - 08/29/21 Summer 2021 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • CO-1: Apply appropriate graduate-level analytical, research and writing skills in essays.
  • CO-2: Compare and contrast the contributions of the major theorists on the evolution of the Earth and Universe.
  • CO-3: Assess competing theories on the nature of time and the implications of time travel, should it ever prove feasible.
  • CO-4: Assess and critique the validity and implications of the Copernican Principle for making scientific predictions about the future.
  • CO-5: Synthesize the concepts in this course with independent research to produce graduate level essays and presentations.

The course is based on substantial Lesson content each week, Reading Assignments, forum discussions, and formal written assignments. Your Forum posts and responses and written paper/presentation will indicate how well you have read the materials and should refer to both the lessons and other readings when you post and reply to peers. There is a forum for each week of class, and participation is required during the week of the forum. The final paper is broken down into various components to be completed throughout the course, including a lit review, abstract, etc. As you write and develope these various parts, please keep in mind that they should all come together in the end, in the form of a research proposal and presentation.

NameGrade %
Forums 40.00 %
Introduction Forum 4.44 %
Week 1 Forum 4.44 %
Week 2 Forum 4.44 %
Week 3 Forum 4.44 %
Week 4 Forum 4.44 %
Week 5 Forum 4.44 %
Week 6 Forum 4.44 %
Week 7 Forum 4.44 %
Week 8 Forum 4.44 %
Final Project 60.00 %
Week 2: Final Project Proposal 6.00 %
Week 4: Final Project Literature Review 12.00 %
Week 6: Final Project Abstract 6.00 %
Week 7: Final Paper Proposal or Report 21.00 %
Week 8: Final Project - Presentation 15.00 %

Required Course Textbooks: In addition to the required online readings, two texts are required for this course:

Barbour, Julian. The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Physics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN: 0-19-514592-5

Gott, J. Richard. Time Travel In Einstein’s Universe. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001. ISBN: 0-618-25735-7

Required Readings: both textbooks named above and the Websites listed below.

Additional Resources: no other resources are currently required.


In addition to the required course texts the following public domain Websites are useful. Please abide by the university’s academic honesty policy when using Internet sources as well. Note web site addresses are subject to change.

Site Name

Website URL/Address

“History of Cosmology”

“Cosmic Journey: A History of Scientific Cosmology”


Plato, Timaeus

Plato, “Allegory of the Cave” from

The Republic

Aristotle, On the Heavens

Nicholas Copernicus, On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres

Johannes Kepler, Harmonies of the World

“Tycho Brahe"

Galileo Galilei, Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences

Sir Isaac Newton, Principia Mathematica

Albert Einstein, The Principle of Relativity

Stephen Hawking, Lectures

J. Richard Gott

Time Travel In Einstein’s Universe (paper text)

Julian Barbour

The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Physics (paper text)

Book Title:Add'l alternate sources available online at:,
Publication Info:Open Web Sources
Book Title:Time Travel in Einstein's Universe - eBook available in the APUS Online library
Author:Gott, Richard
Unit Cost:$19.35
Book Title:The End of Time:The Next Revolution in Physics - eBook available through the APUS Online Library
Publication Info:Oxford University Press
Author:Barbour, Julian
Unit Cost:$26.35

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.