Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: History


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap 80 Location Durham


  • A pass mark in at least ONE level one module in History.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To equip students with an understanding of the history of the nature of Tudor politics and religion, including that of Wales and Ireland.
  • To encourage students to evaluate critically a range of primary sources, written, visual and other material with the context of their understanding of sixteenth-century culture and political thought.
  • To acquaint students with recent historiographical debates and approaches to Tudor history and to encourage them to evaluate them critically.
  • To contribute towards meeting the generic aims of Level 2 study in history.


  • This course surveys issues of political and religious change in sixteenth-century England, Wales and Ireland: the consolidation of English authority over Wales & Ireland, the impact of the Renaissance and Reformation on politics, society and culture and changing assumptions about the exercise of monarchy.
  • It places these issues within the context of historiographical debate and takes a new approach: exploring the 'mental world' of those involved. What ideas shaped their actions and from whence did these ideas derive? It makes use of the latest research, places a strong emphasis on exploring a variety of primary sources (inc. printed books, letters, poems, plays, art, architecture, music, etc.) and consciously explores issues across the Tudors' dominions: Wales and Ireland, as well as England.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge and understanding of key themes of Tudor political, cultural and social history (inc.
  • the nature of politics, Tudor political thought, the impact of the Reformation, popular culture, women, the experiences of Wales and Ireland).
  • Familiarity with historiographical debates on the nature of Tudor politics, the 'British dimension' of sixteenth-century history, gender and religious change.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Subject specific skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/ModuleProformaMap/
  • In addition students will acquire:
  • The ability to assess critically different methodological approaches both to individual types of sources and to the study of Tudor history as a whole (especially 'New Tudor Political History').
  • The ability to evaluate critically a range of sources inc. contemporary printed books, literature, drama, art, architecture.
Key Skills:
  • Key skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/ModuleProformaMap/

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Student learning is facilitated by a combination of the following teaching methods:
  • lectures to set the foundations for further study and to provide the basis for the acquisition of subject specific knowledge. Lectures provide a broad framework which defines individual module content, introducing students to themes, debates and interpretations. In this environment, students are given the opportunity to develop skills in listening, selective note-taking and reflection;
  • seminars to allow students to present and critically reflect upon the acquired subject-specific knowledge, methodologies and theories, and to identify and debate a range of issues and differing opinions. The seminar is the forum in which students are given the opportunity to communicate ideas, jointly exploring themes and arguments. Seminars are structured to develop understanding and designed to maximise student participation related to prior independent preparation. Seminars give students the opportunity to develop oral communication skills, encourage critical and tolerant approaches to reasoned argument and historical discussion, build the students'ability to marshal historical evidence, and facilitate the development of the ability to summarise historical arguments, think in a rapidly changing environment and communicate in a persuasive and articulate manner, whilst recognising the value of working with others and, occasionally, towards shared goals.
  • Assessment:
  • Unseen Examinations test students' ability to work under pressure under timed conditions, to prepare for examinations and direct their own programme of revision and learning, and develop key time management skills. The unseen examination gives students the opportunity to develop relevant life skills such as the ability to produce coherent, reasoned and supported arguments under pressure. Students will be examined on subject specific knowledge;
  • Summative essays remain a central component of assessment in history, due to the integrative high-order skills they develop. Essays allow students the opportunity to recognise, represent and critically reflect upon ideas, concepts and problems; students can demonstrate awareness of, and the ability to use and evaluate, a diverse range of resources and identify, represent and debate a range of subject-specific issues and opinions. Through the essay, students can synthesise information, adopt critical appraisals and develop reasoned argument based on individual research; they should be able to communicate ideas in writing, with clarity and coherence; and to show the ability to integrate and critically assess material from a wide range of sources.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 19 Weekly in Terms 1 & 2; revision session 1 hour 19
Seminars 6 3 in Term one, 3 in Term two 1 hour 6
Primary Source Sessions 1 3 hours 3
Preparation and Reading 172
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essays Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay 1, not including footnotes and bibliography 2000 words 50%
essay 2, not including footnotes and bibliography 2000 words 50%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
unseen examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

One or more short assignments submitted in writing or delivered orally and discussed either 1:1 or in a group context.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University