An institute for critical education in the South Pacific

A ʻAtenisi picture

ʻOtuhaka (2009)


Bio. 100 • Introduction to biology

Students will appreciate the breath and depth of this course in many aspects of life-science, biological chemistry, cell biology, zoology, ecology and evolution. Starting with a brief summary of basic chemistry and the important molecules of life we stress the differences between different life-forms that have evolved on the planet. We experience the wildlife of Tonga and especially concentrate on the diversity of the reef and the rainforest from a scientific angle. We also concentrate on conservation and restoration biology from a Tongan viewpoint since the area is declared a biological hotspot internationally. In the second part emphasis is put on biochemistry and physiology linked to diseases, nutrition and mammalian development and many more medical aspects of biological science.

Chem. 100 • Introduction to chemistry

The aim of this course is to address the requirements for a first year university chemistry course and bring together the areas of chemistry that traditionally have been taught apart from one another. We analyse the physical properties of chemical binding, chemical reactions, reaction kinetics, equilibria and electrochemistry. We analyse the soil and the chemistry of the Earth exemplified by mining processes. We get updated knowledge of chemical spectrometry and other analytical methods used in chemical laboratories. We enter into the amazing world of carbon chemistry which fundamentally composes the life in our cells. Finally the aim is to overview the many anabolic and catabolic processes in the cells.

Math. 100 • Linear algebra 1 • Prerequisites: highschool mathematics

This course is focused on solving linear problems using matrices and determinants. Being less abstract, rigid and axiomatic than a course for pure science students, it is also suitable for arts students. Geometry versus algebra; vectors; matrices; Gauß-Jordan reduction of linear equations; eigenvectors; simplex method; least squares and others. If time permits excursions into number theory and differental equations will be added.
Textbook: Elementary matrix algebra with applications, Richard Painter & Richard Yantis

Math. 120 • Introduction to statistics

Statistics is a means of making sense of data from a host of disciplines (i.e., the social sciences, biology, business, etc.). This course seeks to provide the student with the basic concepts and skills in order to proceed to upper level statistical courses and perform with a level of sophistication. Covered are frequency distributions, measures of central tendency and variability, issues of populations and samples, reasoning with probability, theoretical distributions, estimating, differences between means and variances, cross-tabulation and chi-square tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and other comparison methods, relations between two sets of measures, simple regression analysis, and problems of the combined effect of two variables. Emphasis on how to use statistical methods is shared with when and why to use particular methods so that the student can become a critical user of statistics.


Econ. 100 • Introduction to economics

Economics is the study of choice under scarcity. This course is an introduction to the economic way of thinking, to enable the student to understand how people make choices in a world where resources are scarce. We will examine the essentials of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Economic History, and in the process explore important public policy issues. The object will be to learn ways of approaching the problems of the material world by applying a basic economic analysis.

Econ. 200 • Intermediate economics • Prerequisites: economics 1

Economics is the study of choice under scarcity. This course expands on the concepts studied in Economics 1 through the study of the optimizing individual, decision making and game theory, supply and demand and further exploration of the Neoclassical and New-Keynesian models of the macroeconomy. We will also explore Economic Growth and Development from a historical and contemporary perspective.

Pol.St. 120 • Introduction to the dynamics of government

Pol.St. 220 • Intermediate political dynamics

Pol.St. 320 • Advanced political dynamics

Political science is one of the social sciences. In this course, beginning students can expect to compare the political dynamics of the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Intermediate and advanced students can expect to learn to use several political science and social scientific perspectives (i.e., the democratic, elitist, and pluralist, etc.). All students can expect to learn the basics of the major phenomena of the polities under study (i.e., histories leading up to the formation of national and sub-national governments, branches of government, legislative bodies, etc.). Upper-level students can expect to gain and demonstrate basic political scientific research skills.

Pol.St. 110 • International relations

Pol.St. 210 • Intermediate international relations

Pol.St. 310 • Advanced international relations

The purpose of International Relations Theory is to develop an understanding of the debates about theory and issues in the international relations discipline. Expertise in the field consists of knowing the rival arguments and assessing their relative success at establishing themselves and undermining their rivals. Within the ongoing debate about IR theory, some formulations rise and others fall. Within the issues debates, some strategies and solutions gain credibility and others lose it. Another key tenet of the course is that theories are about facts; they need to be tested against facts and compared with facts.

Psych. 100 • Introduction to psychology

Psych. 200 • Intermediate psychology

Psych. 300 • Advanced psychology

A survey of the basic concepts and assumed objectives of clinical psychology. Neurology is perceived as the “hardware” of the psyche and is evaluated functionally, systemically, and biochemically; particular attention is paid to the processes of emotion and slumber. Behaviour is studied as an interaction of genetics, ethology, and sociobiology. The interaction of perception, sensation, and cognition is explored, with special attention to the process of learning. An inventory of both normal and abnormal personalities is described, as a guide towards clinical attitudes. Finally, key clinical treatments – such as psychotherapy, behaviourism, and biochemical intervention – are critically compared to the objectives of the discipline.

Soc. 100 • Introduction to sociology

Soc. 200 • Intermediate sociology

Soc. 300 • Advanced sociology

Sociology is one of the social sciences. In this course, beginning students may expect to gain a broad comprehension of sociology and learn to identify many of the classical (i.e., Comte, Weber, et al.) and contemporary (i.e., Merton, Lenski, et al.) sociological thinkers. Beginning students can look forward to also using several sociological perspectives to examine major phenomena investigated by sociologists – such as the roles of culture and technology in a globalizing world. Intermediate and advanced students can expect a review of sociology’s major voices, the use of symbolic interactionist, conflict, functionalist, and other perspectives, and major sociological phenomena. Upper-level students will learn to do sociological research and will be expected to demonstrate their skills.


Phil. 100 • Introduction to philosophy

Phil. 200 • Intermediate philosophy

Phil. 300 • Advanced philosophy

The course regards classical philosophy as the theoretical prototype for ensuing progress in modern social science, as well as classical and modern natural science. Deploying that perspective, it surveys key philosophers beginning from the Milesian Substantialists of ancient Greece (e.g., Thales, Anaximander) to the European existentialists of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Milesians are examined as the bridge from mythology to naturalism; Herakleitos as the pioneer of a dynamic paradigm of interactive instability; Socrates as the trailblazer of investigative inquiry; Plato and Aristotle as the opposing forerunners of idealist and empirical philosophy. The course next credits Descartes and Hume with inaugurating rigourous analysis in the 17th and 18th centuries whilst the counterpoint of German idealism (e.g., Kant, Hegel) is studied as a critique of rationalism and empiricism. Finally, 19th and 20th century existentialism (e.g., Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre) is variously considered as an individualist riposte to institutional theology, empiricism, German idealism, and social democracy.

E.L. 100 • English composition

This course will be an in-depth exploration into the writing process with an emphasis on prewriting, drafting, conferencing, revising, proofreading, and publishing research papers. An emphasis will also be placed on ESL trouble spots such as sentence structure, punctuation, word choice, grammar, and mechanics. Lastly, this course will look at appropriate ways to conduct research, evaluate sources, and avoid plagiarism.

E.L. 210 • U.S.A. literature • Prerequisites: English 1

E.L. 310 • Advanced U.S.A. literature • Prerequisites: English 2

This course will explore at least three written masterpieces, including Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick”, Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”. All three of these works have at one time or another been called “The Great American Novel” because of their rich depiction of American culture. This course will challenge your critical thinking skills and will help develop your reading, speaking, and writing skills in English as well.

Sp.L. 100 • Elementary Spanish language

Introduction to Spanish as a foreign language – pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. Development of communicative skills through the practice of communicative functions, including reading, writing, and dialogue.

Fr.L. 100 • Elementary French language

The course focuses on everyday conversational French by emphasising oral and reading skills. It starts with basic introductions (e.g., name, age, queries about well-being). It next covers spatiotemporal descriptions (e.g., time, date, adverbs of space and time) as well as pronouns and possession markers. Students become competent in describing people and their environment, their activities, and their tastes, as well as coping in various situations whilst traveling (e.g., asking directions, reading a menu). The course primarily employs two tenses – the present and near future.

Hist. 101 • Introduction to modern global history

Hist. 201 • Intermediate modern global history • Prerequisites: (see instructor)

Hist. 301 • Advanced modern global history • Prerequisites: (see instructor)

A global survey of representative, fascist, and communist movements – and their interaction with the evolution of global corporate capitalism – since 1600. Movements are examined from a national and international perspective. The English Civil War and “Glorious Revolution” is studied as a transition from feudal monarchy to military dictatorship to representative government based on Locke’s social contract. The establishment of republics in the Americas is perceived as a series of democratic experiments. Colonialism is evaluated as a form of resource imperialism, with fascism regarded as a genre of imperialism rooted in populist racism. Particular attention is paid to resistance to Anglo-American hegemony in India, Russia, Mexico, Germany, Japan, China, and Tanzania in the 20th century.


Mus. 100 • Music theory

Introduction to the fundamentals of music, focusing on identifying tones and pitches (as well as their rhythm and duration) bass and treble clefs, scales, intervals, key signatures, and harmonic analysis. Using these musical building blocks, students will develop practical skills in keyboard, ear and sight training, voice leading, and harmony construction.


E.L. 050 • English composition • Prerequisites: form 5 or 6

Bio. 050 • Biology • Prerequisites: form 5 or 6

Geog. 050 • Geography • Prerequisites: form 5 or 6

Hist. 050 • History • Prerequisites: form 5 or 6

Math. 050 • Basic mathematics • Prerequisites: form 5 or 6