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Assessment and Contact Hours

Summative assessment

The assessment for this second-year, 15 CATS option module is:

  • Applied task - 1,500 word book review (40%)
  • Essay or equivalent - 3,000 word essay (50%)
  • Oral participation/engagement (10%)

Deadlines for visiting students vary depending on the duration of the students' stay at Warwick. The main deadlines will be made available on Tabula and on the assessment page in the department handbook.

The long essay is an answer to the question: Where did modern science come from? Students will answer this question with respect to one of the scientific disciplines covered in the module, such as chemistry, physics, natural philosophy, and so on. Students may also choose a discipline not covered in the module, such as cartography, linguistics, ethnography...

Oral participation/engagement will be based on students' contributions to seminars over the whole year. There is no class presentation - the assignment is simply to do the seminar reading, turn up to seminars, and contribute to the discussion in class. This includes contributing to the forum on the module's Moodle page.

The applied task is a 1500-word review essay. For the purposes of this task, a "review essay" is an opinionated review of a book designed for an educated member of the British public. Examples of review essays are here, here and here. A review essay is much like an ordinary undergraduate essay in History, except that:

- it is based on a single book - you may choose any of the books on the reading list for this module

- the review should answer this question: what does the book under review tell us about where science came from?

- the review should appeal to a general audience, which means that it should a) draw the reader in by showing the interest of the topic covered by the book, b) be written in a lively style, and c) end with one or more 'take-home messages' for the reader

Things to avoid:

- merely summarising the book's contents, without evaluating or extending the argument of the book

- the opposite problem, ie. passing judgment on the book without telling the reader what is in the book

- judging the book without evidence. The review should give an opinion on the book, but the opinion needs to be backed up with data and arguments.

- using terms, names or examples that would be unfamiliar to an educated member of the British public

The essay should be referenced like an ordinary undergraduate essay. You may wish to draw on information from primary or secondary sources other than the ones contained in the book under review. This may help to understand and evaluate the book in question. That said, the aim is to discuss the book under review. You may wish to discuss the context of the book, such as the background of the author, but only do this if it helps you to answer the essay question (in italics above).

The 'marking decriptors' for the essay review are the same as those for an ordinary undergraduate essay.


The History department's policy regarding duplication is that there must be no substantial overlap between two pieces of assessed work submitted by the same student. This means that your second essay should be on a different topic to your first essay, and that your answers on the exam should be on different topics to your two essays. If you are unsure what counts as 'overlap', visit your tutor in their office hour.

Contact Hours

Student contact hours for this second-year 15 CATS option module are as follows:

  • Module duration: Ten weeks
  • Lectures: Nine one-hour lectures
  • Seminars: Nine one-hour seminars
  • Tutorials: One hour of feedback and essay preparation
  • Total: Nineteen hours