Scotland in the Age of Mary Queen of Scots module (HY52027)

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Module code


The module will cover the following broad topics:

  • The personal reign of Mary Queen of Scots: triumph and failure
  • The Scottish Reformation: popular revolution or elite coup d’état?
  • Making the Reformation: from revolt to national church
  • Scotland, England and Europe
  • Child monarchs and regency government


This module is assessed as follows:

  • Essay - 4,000 words (55%)
  • Assessed tasks - 2 short essays of c. 1,000 words (30%)
  • Module journal - c. 500 words every 2 weeks (15%)

Intended learning outcomes

This module concentrates on critical engagement with the historiography of the reign of Mary Queen of Scots and the Scottish Reformation. Students will use primary sources to inform their analysis of historians’ interpretations and enable them to develop those critical skills.

  • An appreciation of historians’ debates on the key issues of the Reformation, the reign of Mary Queen of Scots and the early years of the reign of James VI
  • An understanding of how events in Europe affected what happened in Scotland
  • The capacity to understand that attitudes and ideas in the past differed from our own, to avoid anachronism and to appreciate the role of the contingent in the past
  • An ability to critically evaluate historiography


  • To engage with the historiography of a key period in Scotland’s history
  • To contextualise the reign of an often-romanticised monarch
  • To foster an appreciation of the significance of the international dimension
  • To explore the role of religious change in shaping Scottish history


Dr Alan MacDonald



All learning materials are delivered via My Dundee.  This flexible distance learning module requires c.15 hours per week of study for approximately 15 weeks.