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Module Details, Assessment and Regulations

Module Director: Prof. Mark Knights

Contact details: room H311;

About the module

This 30 CATS module is a core module for second-year single-honours History students. It may also be taken as an option by joint degree students, visiting students, and students from other departments.

Core modules are designed to complement teaching in more specialised options by providing a broad international context for understanding historical developments, and to develop the ability to study and communicate (both orally and in writing) through a relatively intense programme of seminars, lectures and essay work.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the module, students should:
  • a) have further developed their study, writing and communication skills.
  • b) be able to assess critically and evaluate historical analysis and argument.
  • c) have developed a basic understanding of the major social, economic, political, and cultural changes that took place in early modern Europe.
  • d) be able to recognise and evaluate points of comparison between different political, social, economic and cultural systems.
  • e) be able to employ, where appropriate, electronic resources in the gathering of historical evidence, and construction of an historical argument.
  • f) be able to make critical use, where appropriate, of historiographical debates.
Teaching arrangements
Attendance is obligatory at seminars (weekly, 1 hour). Any student unavoidably prevented from attending a seminar or class should inform the tutor concerned as early as possible beforehand. If this is impossible, s/he should contact the tutor as soon as possible afterwards. Attendance at lectures (x2 weekly) is VERY strongly recommended. For guidance on tasks and reading see the 'seminar group platforms' accessible (when signed-in) from the module home page. One revision class will be offered by tutors in the summer term (by agreement).
The 24 hr University 'Learning Grid' also provides the opportunity for group work and the preparation of presentations.
Plagiarism is a very serious offence which may lead to failure to obtain any degree. Please read carefully the relevant guidance on the departmental assessment pages:


There is a choice of two assessment patterns:
- Two 2000 word essays in term 1 and 2 + an optional mock exam (all formative)
- 3 hours / 3 questions summer term exam (worth 100% of your module mark)
- One 2000 word essay in term 1 + an optional mock exam (both formative)
- One assessed 3000 word essay (worth 40% of module mark) + seminar contribution (worth 10%) + 2 hour / 2 question summer term exam (worth 50%).

You will be asked by the department to decide which pattern you wish to follow in the course of the autumn term.

Seminar assessment:

All students will be assessed and feedback given, though the mark will only carry forward towards the final mark for those who take the second option. Seminar participation will be assessed across all classes according to the following criteria:

 Attendance - Marks will be deducted for unauthorized absences.
 Preparation - Evidence shows preparation for the seminar (has prepared notes and/or recalls the readings without the use of the open text).
 Engagement - Quality of engagement is active, respectful and inclusive.
 Initiative - Questions asked focus, clarify and summarize discussion.
 Response - Quality of response reflects knowledge, comprehension and application of the readings.
 Discussion - Quality of response extends the discussion with peers and reflects analysis, synthesis and evaluation.


Option A:

- 1st Formative Essay via Tabula: Monday Week 7, Term 1, 5pm
- 2nd Formative Essay via Tabula: Monday Week 7, Term 2, 5pm
- You may submit an optional two-question mock exam answer by Friday noon of week 3, term 3. This should not be by Tabula but given directly to your seminar tutor.

Option B:

- 1st Formative Essay via Tabula: Monday Week 7, Term 1, 5pm
- Assessed 3000 word Essay via Tabula: Wednesday Week 1, Term 3, noon
- You may submit an optional two-question mock exam answer by Friday noon of week 3, term 3. This should not be by Tabula but given directly to your seminar tutor.

Coursework and Assessment Regulations

All students (except visiting exchange students) MUST complete the relevant formative assessment(s).

Students can take seminar questions for essay titles - or you could adapt any of these or invent your own, so long as you have the approval of your seminar tutor.

Students taking option B: although they can convert their formative essay into a long essay if they wish, we caution against doing this since it may make revision harder for the exam, because you cannot use material in the exam that you have already used in an assessed piece of work. The assessed essay should aim to explore a theme more deeply than a 2000 word essay, in terms of usage of a broader range of secondary sources, greater conceptual sophistication and/or greater use of primary materials. Please think about making use of the digital resources that are available to you and set out here.

2-question mock exam. This is optional and past exam papers for this module can be accessed here.

For guidance on format, footnotes, quotations, and bibliography refer to the style guide in your history undergraduate handbook, or see the online style guide.

Written feedback on formative work will be received within twenty working days of submission (unless submitted late). Seminar tutors will provide individual feedback tutorials to support written feedback.

International and Visiting Exchange Students

Visiting exchange students are assessed entirely by essays, the number and length of which is determined by the number of terms each student will attend the module. Please refer to the department Assessment & Submission webpages for information regarding assessment requirement, submission instructions and deadlines.

Further guidance

Our examination and assessment webpages provide full and binding details; information on marking criteria appears here.