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Aims, Objectives, and Assessment

Aims and Objectives

  • To gain an understanding of the historical dynamics that connected the three British kingdoms and the emergent empire in America.
  • To explore the relationship between religion, politics and national identity.
  • To examine the ‘British problem’ comparatively, alongside the experience of other European states, empires and kingdoms.
  • To develop enhanced research, writing and communication skills through essays and oral discussion in seminars.
  • To provide a strong foundation for students undertaking special subjects featuring seventeenth and eighteenth-century political and religious themes.

Assessment 30 CAT option 2022-2023

For details of examination and assessment, please see Deadlines for visiting students may differ from the general deadlines.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries about these assessment methods.

Marking criteria

For information about the marking conventions used when assessing your work, please see:

Oral participation (worth 10%)

You will be assessed on your contribution to classes across the whole module, with one mark assigned at the end of the module. This will be based on your preparation, quality of contributions, methodological/historiographical observations, listening skills, engagement with other points of view, and the discussions you have with your peers.

1,500 word primary source commentary (worth 10%)

This assignment requires you to engage with one or more of the primary texts or sources that we have covered. This could be a text from the seminar reading list, one introduced in the lectures, a collection of sources on a database or website, or another source of your choice (discussed in consultation with your seminar tutor). You will be required to write an extended critical reflection on the source(s)/text(s)/database you have selected.

Each week we discuss primary sources, so this assignment replicates the type of analysis we regularly complete in class. This is intended as an opportunity for you to engage deeply with a source or group of sources and to get feedback and advice on approaches to incorporate primary material into your analysis for a longer second year essay or third year dissertation, where close engagement with primary material is a basic requirement.

Focus on text, context and significance. This means that you may need to do some research around the author and source itself rather than just taking its contents at face value. This will help you to understand its broader significance and intended purpose.

There is no need to focus on a question, unless you would find this useful.

Some questions you might want to consider when approaching your sources (not all will be applicable to all sources, but many will be):

  • Text. What are the essential or notable features of what is being said [this might have to do with the language/wording used as much as the content]? What keywords, phrases or concepts are involved? Why are they important?
  • Context. Who wrote this and what do we know about them – is it important? What do we know about the aims of the author(s)? When was it written and is this significant? In what ways is it significant to know the historical context in which it was written?
  • What is the significance of what is being said? Is this text part of a larger series of texts and if so, does this larger corpus have significance? How does the piece relate to other texts and to the period as a whole? Was it representative? innovative? unusual? Influential? What is its broader historical significance? How might readers react? Does the piece raise historiographical questions or relate to a historiographical debate? What are the key debates to which this relates? How have historians interpreted it or documents like it?

The marking criteria are the same as for any other piece of work. Reference secondary material in the normal way.


3,000 word essay (worth 40%)

This assignment assesses your ability to engage with an extended historical discussion on a particular topic and question (to be finalized in the Sprint Term). You are encouraged to devise your own question in consultation with the module tutor.

Please refer to the essay checklist provided by the module convenor for guidance on presentation, formatting, style and assistance with primary source citation: 

PLEASE NOTE: you should submit an electronic version of all your work via Tabula. A cover sheet is not required, but you should include the title of your essay and your student number. Details on how to submit the essays and deadlines for submission can be found on the Assessment and Submission webpages.

Individual time will be set aside for discussion of the coursework. Students are also welcome to see their tutors during office hours to discuss any issues that might arise along the way.

Visiting Exchange Students

Please refer to the department visiting student webpages for information regarding assessment requirement, submission instructions and deadlines: