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Course Details with Online Syllabus:
TPH-499: Argumentation and Critical Thinking

Course Code TPH-499
Course Name Argumentation and Critical Thinking
US Credits (USCH) 2
ECTS 2 x 1.5 - 1.7 (see Academic Standards)
Main Prerequisite ACA-401
Regular Instructor / Assigned Faculty (responsible for student interaction, validation and grading of student assignments, constructive feedback, oral examinations)

Clint Roberts

Note: see biography under Faculty Profiles

Faculty Coordinator (responsible for entry and exit coordination and interfacing between student and instructor(s))

Laurent Cleenewerck

Note: see biography under Administration

Syllabus Specialist (responsible for maintaining syllabus database and implementation of revised standards)

Ghebrehiwet Ghebremedhin

Note: see biography under Administration

Language for this course code E

General Concepts and Guidelines:

It is important to note that EUCLID functions under an intergovernmental mandate to deliver programs of higher education that conform to international standards and that are fully documented (Statutes IX). Accordingly, a standard 3 USCH course,which is at least equivalent to 4.5 ECTS, represents a number of classroom instruction hours equivalent to 3 x 12.5 = 37.5 hours (lower base line) – 3 x 14 = 42 hours (higher base line).

Even in the case of courses for which lectures (audio / video) are available to cover the entirety of the material, reading assignments are mandatory.

In the case of courses that are primarily delivered by means of reading assignments, EUCLID considers that a standard 3 USCH course should correspond to approximately 600-800 pages of intense, directly relevant readings. This is consistent with generally accepted standards applicable to the USCH and ECTS systems. Moreover, EUCLID favors full textbooks over compiled chapters from heterogeneous sources.

For practical and organizational reasons, this study workload is structured in the format of one semester (about 15 weeks). This logical ‘semester’ is organized in 7 periods of ‘2 weeks’ each, the last one being a buffer and final study period. Because EUCLID has a primary mandate to serve busy government officials for its Participating States, these periods are presented as a structured approach rather than as an enforced set of deadlines. In practice, then, a student may take more or less than 14 weeks to complete the course because the intention is not to reproduce an actual semester but rather to offer a logical breakdown of the course over a flexible span of time.

In all cases, all the assignments must be submitted, approved and graded for the course to be completed.

It must be noted that EUCLID guidelines require that a comprehensive oral examination take place upon completion of all other assignments in order for the final grade to be posted and for the course to be formally completed.

See also: Academic Standards

How to Use this Syllabus:

This standardized syllabus is your study guide for this course.

Most EUCLID courses require the sequential reading of the textbooks (and other materials) listed below. By “reading,” we do not mean mere casual reading but rather intense studying with an effort to memorize (highlighting with comments and taking notes is highly recommended).

The “Course Materials” may include textbooks as well as other types of resources including MP3 downloads, webcasts, compiled PDFs, etc.

It is the responsibility of the student to obtain the Course Materials. In most cases, the resources requires for the course are available from the EUCLID online library.

Once you have completed the reading of the course materials, you must contact your course instructor or coordinator to discuss the proposed theme of the required major paper(s).

Even though the quiz assignment is sometimes considered or listed after the major papers, it is advisable to complete this assignment prior to starting work on the paper(s).

For each quiz questions, do not forget to provide a footnote reference to where (text, page) the correct answer can be found. Remember that the instructor will evaluate your ability to create intelligent questions spanning all required textbooks, offer plausible answers, and properly footnote the textbook reference.

For the paper(s), do not forget that you must comply with all ACA-401 guidelines and requirements. Always refer to the latest Word template and ACA-401 checklist which can be found on the Egnyte Platform.

Student Responsibilities:

  • Read (study) all reading assignments carefully and intensely in order to be able to memorize, re-express, inter-relate and engage the information provided.
  • Write biweekly short reaction papers (“journals”) on the assigned readings, not longer than two single-spaced pages.
  • Write 1 or 2 (as directed) high quality, publishable major papers that meet ACA-401 guidelines and that provide several properly formatted citations to the textbooks.
  • Create a quiz that demonstrates your ability to create intelligent questions with plausible answers, and provide footnotes to the correct answers.
  • Prepare carefully for the final oral examination by re-reading the required textbooks. This is not an open book exam and you should have memorized the key terms and concepts in order to be able to offer a professional articulation and presentation when examined by the instructor.

General Course Description:

Students should be aware that EUCLID's Latin motto means "Let us also hear the other side." 

EUCLID's academic philosophy, applied within at schools of the extension, bears the imprint of this ideal. For this reason, 2 credits are assigned to this important course which is considered foundational. 

For most students (ask your instructor if this requirement does not apply), this course will use a recorded lecture by: Dr. David Zarefsky made available by The Teaching Company.

For all students, these lectures are complemented by a EUCLID-compiled course pack dedicated to Critical Thinking.

Course Objectives:

To verify, reinforce and increase the student's ability to understand, conceive, analyze and articulate sound argumentation.

Our direction to the students is to focus on the terminology used in the lectures (see glossary) and to be able to apply the concepts to debates and arguments.

Course Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, the student is expected to able to:

- identify fallacies and flawed argumentation

- articulate sound arguments

- use proper terminology

- analyze a debate or series of arguments

- present a convincing case on any topic


Note: some of the terms to be mastered include (this is a very partial list):

- Inductive / Deductive

- Ad Hominem

- Equivocation

- Syllogism

- Assumption

- Fallacy

- Circular reasoning

- Straw Man

Required Readings and Resources:

- Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning, 2nd Edition (24 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture) (Teaching Company Course No. 4294) 

- EUCLID Course TPH-499 Pack which includes selections from Asking the Right Questions - A Guide to Critical Thinking (Brown, Keeley) 

- EUCLID MED-506 compiled textbook + 42 Fallacies (PDF)

Supplemental Readings and Resources:

- Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life (Paul, Elder) 

- Critical Thinking with Free Student CD and PowerWeb (Moore, Parker)


Economic Debates: - http://www.economist.com/debates/ 

Political Debates: - www.pbs.org/podcasts/ 

Religious Debates: - www.aomin.org

Useful Templates and Resources:

Word Template Use this single-spaced template (DOCX) for Response Papers
Word Template Use this double-spaced template (DOCX) for Major Papers
Quiz Template Use this single-spaced sample (DOCX) for the Quiz
Sample RP This is a sample response paper for ACA-401
Sample MP This is a sample major paper for DIP-401
Checklist This PDF is a checklist to use before submitting a paper

Organization and structure of course studies:

Period 1 (Typically, weeks 1-2)
Reading Assignments Zarefsky Lecture notes
MP3s or Videos Zarefsky, Lectures 1-12
Method of Instruction Lecture, Reading
Tasks / Assignments Study course material + writing response paper 1
Deliverables Response paper 1

Period 2 (Typically, weeks 3-4)
Reading Assignments Zarefsky Lecture notes
MP3s or Videos Zarefsky, Lectures 13-24
Method of Instruction Lecture, Reading
Tasks / Assignments Study course material + writing response paper 2
Deliverables Response paper 2

Period 3 (Typically, weeks 5-6)
Reading Assignments EUCLID Course Pack (pages 1-201)
MP3s or Videos N/A
Method of Instruction Reading
Tasks / Assignments Study course material + writing response paper 3
Deliverables Response paper 3

Period 4 (Typically, weeks 7-8)
Reading Assignments EUCLID Course Pack (pages 202-end)
MP3s or Videos N/A
Method of Instruction Reading
Tasks / Assignments Study course material + writing response paper 4
Deliverables Response paper 4 + Create quiz - Start work on 1st major paper

Period 5 (Typically, weeks 9-10)
Reading Assignments EUCLID Folder Period 5 contents
MP3s or Videos N/A
Method of Instruction Reading
Tasks / Assignments Response paper 5 - Work on major paper (debate analysis)
Deliverables First major paper

Period 6 (Typically, weeks 11-12)
Reading Assignments Study TPH-499 samples
MP3s or Videos Choose one debate to watch or listen to
Method of Instruction Podcast / Videocast + Academic writing with references
Tasks / Assignments Complete paper(s) and submission of assignments as due
Deliverables Major paper (Debate analysis)

Period 7 (Typically, weeks 13-14)
Reading Assignments Review entire course material for exam
MP3s or Videos Review all applicable material for exam
Method of Instruction Personal study / Exam preparation
Tasks / Assignments Submit finalized major paper - Schedule exam
Deliverables All writing assignments - Final exam and course completion

Special Course Comment / Review of Required Assignments to Complete Course:

The major paper for this course is also the one for ACA-401. There is therefore single major paper for both courses.

Please refer to the sample to understand what is expected. The specialized terms (e.g. "fallacy" "ad hominem" "hasty generalization") should be in bold.

In addition to the short response papers, the standard required assignments are:


The student must create a multiple-choice or missing word quiz with 10 questions, based on the textbook(s), and with footnoted references to the correct answers (with page number in textbook).

A sample is available at http://www.euclid.int/syllabi/quiz.docx  and can also be found on the Egnyte platform under Courses > ACA-401

Major paper(s):

This course requires the presentation of 1 major paper(s) (standard length is 12-24 pages using the MP template which is double-spaced).The theme is the student’s choice, but must be selected and confirmed in consultation with the assigned instructor, and be based on the required study materials.

The major paper(s) must (1) comply with all ACA-401 guidelines (2) make at least 3 properly formatted references to the textbook(s).

Final Examination:

Once the paper(s) and quiz have been submitted, this course is capped by an extensive oral examination and interactive interview conducted by the assigned instructor using web-conferencing technology (WebEx, Skype).

Composite Evaluation and Grading:

  • 10% of the final grade is based on the response papers
  • 60% of the final grade is based on the major paper(s) and quiz
  • 30% of the final grade is based on the final oral exam / closing interview.

Failure to obtain a passing grade on the final oral exam will result in course failure.

Standard grading scale and academic policies apply to this course.

Standard EUCLID Grading Scale:

Even through there is no internationally standardized grading system, EUCLID uses a scale that is fairly standard, namely:

  1. Grades are numeric (0 – 4) and convertible to letters (F – A)
  2. A+ is a novelty and is not used
  3. EUCLID has a strict grading policy and does not engage in ‘grade inflation’
  4. Grading is based on standards, not ranking within the group
  5. Because of (3), 2.35 or C+ is the pass standard for all courses, provided that a full academic review of all grades under 2.5 conclude that the student does meet requirements for graduation.

Numeric grades are converted to letter grades as follows:



Explanation / Standards



All objectives are fully met



All objectives are fully met with minor suggestions for improvement



Rarely used: All objectives are fully met with minor suggestions for improvement



All objectives are met with specific suggestions for improvement



Satisfactory output, but improvement are expected to fully meet all the objectives of the program


Almost B

Rarely used: Satisfactory output, but improvement are expected to fully meet all the objectives of the course(s)



Passing but less than satisfactory output. Improvements in more than one course standards are expected to fully meet all the objectives of the course(s)

2.5 - 2.35


Minimum passing grade: Improvements are mandated in more than one course standards are expected to fully meet all the objectives of the course(s)



Failing grade: does not meet mandatory objectives of the course(s)



Failing grade: does not meet in any way the objectives of the course(s)



Assignment to does meet in any way the objectives of the courses or contains plagiarism / academic violations




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International Headquarters: Bangui, C.A.R.; Banjul, The Gambia

Email: info@euclid.int

Institutional High Steward: President Faustin Touadéra, PhD (Mathematics; Lille, France)

Diplomatic and Academic High Steward: Ambassador Juan Avila, PhD (Education; Fordham, USA)


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