Module details for History and Social Change


This module will introduce students to a sociological understanding of the processes of social change within European history. It will trace the dynamic interplay of politics, science, technology, economy, art, culture and ideas that has defined the epochs of classical antiquity, feudalism, early modernity and capitalist modernity.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with : a broad introduction to the sociological understanding of European history.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Outline the key social, economic, cultural and ideological characteristics of the epochs (classical antiquity, feudalism, early modernity, capitalist modernity) that have defined European history.

2.  Explain how different conceptualisations of what it is to be a person in society have changed over time.

3.  Describe the sociological approach towards understanding historical change.

4.  Identify key moments of historical transition and the processes that were significant in bringing about such change.

5.  Illustrate basic foundational knowledge of the historical basis of contemporary culture and society.

6.  Discuss questions about the trajectory of human history in a reflective sociologically informed manner.

Indicative Content

1 Lectures

Lectures will be divided into four distinct sections that cover the following historical epochs: classical antiquity, feudalism, early modernity and capitalist modernity. Lectures will cover the social structure, economy, politics, science, technology, ideas and culture of the historical epoch concerned and the processes of historical change that led to its breakdown and supersession by another type of socio- political formation.

2 Tutorials

Tutorials will be of a traditional format centred around the discussion of readings from the core texts, related videos and library exercises - they will also offer guidance regarding the assessment requirements.

3 Introduction and Conclusion

In the first week there will be an Introduction to the Module and a lecture that focuses on the question 'What is history ?'. In the final week there will be an exam revision session.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

For session 2020/21 the expectation is that the teaching and learning hours stated in this descriptor will form a mix of synchronous and asynchronous student/staff activity, with the majority of this being online. The exact pattern of this activity is likely to vary from the standard face-to-face hours listed below but the overall student effort remains the same. Up-to-date information on the delivery of the module can be found on the relevant module MLS site and on your student timetable.

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Practical Activity 0
Assessment 30
Independent 134
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2020/21 , and may be subject to change for future years.