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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Classical Sociological Theory by University of Amsterdam

2,652 ratings

About the Course

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will offer the participants an introduction into the most important classical sociological readings between the 18th and 20th century. Highly influential social science scholars, such as Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim, will be discussed during 8 sessions. Combined with small tests, based on the video’s and recommended readings, the participants will be encouraged to dive deeply into the complex texts and get familiar with classical sociological concepts that are still very relevant today....

Top reviews


Jan 6, 2019

Simple,neat and interesting way of explaining the content. Didn't get bored. Good refreshment if you already know the stuff and good introduction if you are new to sociology. Professor is really nice.


Apr 2, 2021

- Excellent content organization.

- Very clear and entertaining teacher.

- Very relevant visual content.

- Very well structured theme.

- It awakens the interest to continue investigating.

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26 - 50 of 730 Reviews for Classical Sociological Theory

By Pius W

Jan 11, 2021

My motivation for this course was to use it as starting point to develop my soft skills. The idea was to start with a solid base about modern society started and which thought processes are still ongoing. To know where our modern way of interaction comes from. Through this course I had several eye-opening moments. Thanks to Marx I started to understand how important it is to reconnect employees to their work when we automate their workflow. Smith gave the right vision to do it anyway. Tocqueville told why we should make sure we can integrate minorities into the process and create ladders for them to climb up through the ranks. Comte said: good idea - let´s transform history. Durkheim came over with some predictions how it will effect certain groups. Weber made an ideal type for it and finally Elias gave the final motivation to make all good to get more civilised.

It was a pleasure to go through the course. Very good made, very well presented with interesting readings. And last but not least, an incredible professor with real passion for his craft!

By Jacob N

Oct 2, 2022

The presenter is obviously knowledgeable and is quite engaging.

This is much more of a history of early sociological thought than a sociology class so if you take it as that, it is quite good.

There are a few minor nitpicks though:

1. The presenter keeps referring to sociology as a science. If nothing else, this class proves that it is not a science, not anywhere close

2. The final exam is easily the longest I have taken on a coursera class. It was something like 87 multiple choice questions including class and reading material. That is fine and if you pay attention you should be able to pass it easily but it was slightly surprising.

3. Sociology is mostly gibberish. It is like philosophy without the logical consistency.

Those aside, this is an excellent course for those interested in learning more about the subject matter and I plan on taking a modern one next.

By Eleni K

Aug 5, 2021

The professor is passionate about the subject and has an excellent grasp of the topic as well as a real talent for teaching. The way he explained the complicated theories and made them look so easy to learn and remember is just unbelievable. Also, the tests made so much sense -instead of being there just to justify the certificate, they actually help memorize the most important points and review what was taught. They are not difficult if you actually watched the videos, but they do take some thought (more than many of my University's exams, I may add). Overall an amazing course, I'll gladly be revisiting the videos regularly when in need of a clear and coherent phrasing of fundamental sociological concepts.

By dermot m

Sep 16, 2020

Excellent material and survey, gave me important markers around which to organize. Some readings were heavy going of course but the Calhoun spurce was good, the “alternatives” online not so much, but not bad for free. The last questions in the exam referred to my Calhoun bookand i am Pretty sure i had the right edition, 3rd edition 2012, but the author, Elias i think it was, did not appear there. I did find the important article from a journal online through a university library subscription. It was one on effect of civilizing orocess on aggression as a character or personality trait.

By Borremans J

Aug 13, 2019

I envy the students of the University of Amsterdam who had the privilege to learn from such an excellent professor, scholar . I admire the commitment , enthusiasm , scientific rigor and emotional commitment that Professor van Heerikhuizen demonstrated in teaching this course and giving it a soul and a very human dimension. The only negative point I have to make is that the good professor is a cat person and I a most clearly am a dog person.

A challenging extremely interesting course taught by an extremely talented teacher and scholar. Sincere thanks and please continue the good work.

By Firdaus K

Apr 15, 2020

Prof. Bart van Heerikhuizen was brilliant!!!!!! I loved the course, his line - up of Classical Sociologists and the reading material. But most of all Prof. Heerikhuizen's style of engaging the learner with not just the theory, but trivia about the thinkers, his own experiences and the specific comments to underline key ideas - all these aspects made the course intriguing, enjoyable, memorable & useful. I am so glad that I have finally begun my journey to learn Sociology. I would love to take every single course by Prof. Heerikhuizen in Sociology available on Coursera.

By Alba C

Mar 24, 2019

I loved it! I've studied some of the authors during University but I forgot a little bit about them. This course helped me refresh my memory and introduced me to the other authors.

But actually what I enjoyed the most was the Professor. He explains everything in a way everyone can understand and one can see the love and passion he feels for his career. He is such a good teacher. The way he explains sociology makes everyone want to keep learning about it! I would have loved to have him during my University degree.

Thank you so much, it's been a pleasure!

By Antonia T B

May 30, 2018

An EXCELLENT course. Professor Bart van Heerikhuizen is an incredible teacher. His lectures are exciting, interesting, well presented, and engaging. I love the fact that he quotes in the original French some times. The videos are short and very clear and the quizzes are great (interesting but easy). The course explores the ideologies and thoughts of different thinkers: Mandeville, Smith, Comte, Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, and Elias. A wonderful course. Really. Thanks a lot and many greetings from Madrid / Antonia Tejeda Barros

By Aisha A K V

Jun 7, 2020

Prof. Bart Van Heerikhuizen's classes were really in-depth and I could get quite a good overview about all the classical sociologists and their major works. As he took us ahead with class, I gained a better comprehensive understanding of the readings. I feel the course fulfilled attained it's aim of making the students prepared to learn and read the the classical sociological texts. This course overall was an insightful and thought provoking journey for me, as well it laid my foundations of understanding Classical Sociology.

By Prabhjyot S

Jan 10, 2019

I just want to say that the course was overall very good and thank you very much the team from Amsterdam university for making sociology an MOOC and present in such a beautiful way.

My feedback is that the sociological theories that we have taught here if somehow get connected with the problems and management system of the contemporary society than the students get develop a lens through which it can easily perceive and understand the society in a more sociological way.

Thank again team Coursera and University of Amsterdam.

By Nataliia S

Jan 15, 2023

I am so grateful for all creating team, who worked hard on this course, because getting a knowledge anf certificate makes me so much happy, satisfied and proud of myself. The course gave me a great basics of classical sociology theory and also a lot of topics to discuss with other people. Thanks so much to Mr Bart van Heerikhuizen, who made lectures fun, easy to comprehent and craving for more. Thanks Coursera and everyone who worked on this course for this opportunity. I really appreciate it. Best wishes, N.S.

By Valerie T

Jan 15, 2023

Great overview to classical sociological theory that I found accessible and easily understood despite having no prior background in this field of study. I would recommend it to anyone who is curious about possible explanations on how the social world works, and the evolution of sociology as a science. My one comment is that sometimes Dr Bart uses foreign words that are difficult to catch (i'm an English-speaker) and the word does not turn up in the transcript either. Then the sentence is quite lost on me.

By Myanah S

Jan 3, 2021

I thought this was a brilliant course. I liked the straightforward short lecture format, with the occasional assessment popping up to make sure you were awake.

As a former student of Norbert Elias in the early 60's, before his major works were published in English, I found that module particularly fascinating. As undergraduates we recognised his genius and compassion, but were totally unaware of the level of his scholarship. This course has enabled me to put him in the context where he rightly belongs.

By Elizabeth S

Jul 8, 2020

I am so grateful for this course! The lecturer is very passionate, and presents the topics in a very accessible, but interesting style. The course is well organized, so the concepts build on one another well. For me, this course was a great refresher as I have studied most of these theorists many years ago. It would also serve as an excellent first taste of the discipline for beginners. I highly recommend this course, and I am very hopeful there will be a second MOOC, as suggested in the last lecture.

By Ece N

Mar 7, 2021

It was a wonderful period of time that I spent listening to Professor Bart van Heerikhuizen. I found it useful for my other studies in humanities. It certainly helped me very much and I think it was not confusing at all, on the contrary it was mostly very enjoyable. I'd recommend that you take notes and keep a little notebook or word doc. on your computer. It worked really well for me both while learning and while repeating as well. Thanks very much. I'd certainly enroll if this had a sequel course.

By Sanjeet A

Dec 16, 2016

Excellent course with a well-balanced approach of the classical sociologists' fundamental ideas. Self-driven research is required if you wish to explore the topics presented to a deep degree but this course provides a great starting platform. In particular, Dr. Bat van Heerikhuizen was incredible. His passion for the subject is very evident and his teaching style is clear, well-focused, and personable. I highly recommend this MOOC for anyone remotely interested in an introduction to sociology.

By Travis S

Feb 16, 2019

This course was an excellent introduction to Classical Sociology, I learned a significant amount and greatly enjoyed it. Dr. Heerikhuizen was very effective in highlighting the key points and explaining them in an understandable fashion. The assigned readings provided good primers on the path to achieving the goal of the course, which is to be able to read the classical texts independently. I highly recommend this course for anyone looking to begin or expand their knowledge of sociology.

By María G

Jan 14, 2016

This course is the absolute best I have taken on Coursera. The teacher is very engaging, explains with ease is a very friendly professor that guides you effectively as if you weren't taking this class online. It is elegantly designed with in-video questions and helpful quizzes that are short and on-point. I liked the over-all design, it touches in the most important thinkers of Sociology but also focuses on aspects that aren't always taught in Sociology classes. A great course!

By Sergio S

Nov 30, 2020

Really good course. This was my first approach with sociology and one of the reasons why I've decided to study this career and leave the one I'm currently studying. All the lectures of the different thinkers were fascinating, at the same time the ideas were easy to grasp thanks to the explanation of Professor Heerikhuizen, this also made the recommended readings easier to read.

In general aspects, I would highly recommend this course for anyone interested in social sciences.

By Natasha B

Jun 3, 2020

An exceptional overview of classical sociological theory and an exceptional professor. Finishing this course in a week marked by civil unrest in the United States brought greater understanding to my surrounding world, and, in turn, a degree of solace that can be summed up in one of our professor's final comments: "Maybe one day we may better understand those figurational processes and learn how to steer them in such a way that it will lead to less human suffering."

By Chin L Y

Jul 19, 2017

A very intriguing course that looks into the thinking of the great thinkers who had thought much more about how our modern society works. It is, as if, they had used a long binoculars that could help them see the future from the past. I am not merely saying they are predictive in their thinking, in fact, I am saying their theories or observations had actually been so relevant even in today's context. I was never interested in sociology but this course changed me.

By Anoushka B

Aug 3, 2020

Amazing course, I learned so much! The videos were super fun and informational, I really enjoyed the way the professor intertwined his own experiences and reflections into his teachings. The readings were also a great addition to the videos. (However, they definitely take longer than the approximated time of "10 minutes"!). Overall an enriching experience. Very accessible and easy to navigate the way everything was laid out. Glad I did it! Thank you very much!

By Martaliu

Jun 18, 2020

This is the best Sociology Theory course I've ever had. I am a postgraduate Sociology student. I am a fan of Pro. Bart van Heerikhuizen's way of teaching, every section of this course is so amazing and attractive that I can't lose my attention on it. From his fantastic diluciation on those great classical sociologists' experience on their historical work, I gained more passion and interest on my sociological study which I was really appreciated for.


Apr 20, 2018

This course was everything I expected. It could not be more deep considering the media and the course's duration, but even though it was very explanatory of the classical authors in Sociology. I learned a lot. The instructor is terrific. And the quizzes are not absurdly obvious as they are many times here nor they are difficult even considering someone whose first language is not English. Looking forward for the course in contemporary sociologists

By saba

Mar 27, 2017

I should say this is one of the best cours in this subject that i have ever seen . i am sociology student in MA and indeed i have spent a different classes in such this subjects, so it is normal to recognize all of this theory , but this kind of method in explaining and the way is selected by this skilled professor is really nice , at the end i should say he really know her audiences and their question too .

thanks your team and website so much