Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The European Reformation
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 50 minutes lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 5 x 2 hour seminars plus individual tutorials of 10-15 Minutes


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2 X 2,500 WORDS ESSAYS  40%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   1 X 3 HOUR CLOSED EXAMINATION  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate a firm grounding in the secondary source material and on-going debates in the study of the Reformation in Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

Show an understanding of the value of an inter-disciplinary and comparative approach to the study of the past

Reflect upon and critically analyze secondary and primary sources

Collect, collate and analyze historical evidence and produce both oral and written arguments

Work independently and collaboratively (not assessed).

Produce work in a professional manner and demonstrate skills appropriate to the study of history

Brief description

Historians now tend to look at the Reformation as a process rather than an event. The concept of Europe's Long Reformation, stretching from the early sixteenth century until at least the end of the seventeenth century, has become increasingly accepted. This module adopts this perspective, and looks at the Protestant and Catholic Reformations throughout Europe, and including North American in this period. The module, therefore, deals with a series of inter-related questions and themes; it looks at the magisterial reformers in some detail and examines the different `reformations' which they advocated. It then looks at how those different `reformations' became entwined with larger dynastic and political concerns throughout Europe; adopting a series of varied case studies from different parts of Europe. The module also explores the nature of Protestant belief and spirituality, and it looks at what it actually meant in real terms to be a Protestant in this period. The Reformation revolutionized forms of worship, family relationships and popular beliefs. This module gives students the opportunity to explore some of these issues in considerable depth.


This module gives students the opportunity to study the sixteenth and seventeenth-century religious Reformation. It takes a broad comparative approach, looking at the Reformation throughout Europe with reference to North America. It introduces students to the study of religious belief, central to pre-modern European cultures, and therefore draws upon the disciplines of history, theology and religious studies. The course will complement the department's existing suite of early modern modules, and will be of interest to students on the medieval and early modern degree scheme as well as general history students.


1. Introduction; historiographical orientation.
2. Was there a crisis in the late medieval Church?
3. The Renaissance and the Humanist critique of the Church
4. Martin Luther's protest
5. Luther and the German Reformation.
6. The Protestant way of salvation.
7. The Radical Reformation
8. John Calvin and the Genevan Reformation
9. The emergence of the international Reformed Churches
10. The Catholic counter reformation
11. Confessional conflict; the French Wars of Religion and the Dutch Revolt
12. A state reformation: the British Isles.
13. Spain and the Inquisition.
14. Religious and dynastic conflict in eastern Europe.
15. `A city set on a hill'. Creating a Protestant community in the New World.
16. The Reformation and popular belief; the persecution of witches.
17. The Reformation at home.
18. The `resolution' of the Reformation; the Thirty Years War.

1. Luther and the magisterial reformation.
2. What was Protestantism?
3. An international reformed community.
4. The Catholic response.
5. Confessional Armageddon in the seventeenth century

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Read a wide range of both primary and secondary texts; improve listening skills during the lectures, and consequently develop skills in note taking; demonstrate and develop the ability to communicate ideas in two essays; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but not assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Show awareness of own learning styles, personal preferences and needs; devise and apply realistic learning and self management strategies; devise a personal action plan to include short and long-term goals and to develop personal awareness of how to improve on these.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to access information on CD-Roms and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be encouraged to word-process their work. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Develop awareness of personal skills, beliefs and qualities in relation to course in progression; plan and prepare for future course/career.
Problem solving Identify problems and factors which might influence potential solutions; develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving; evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions.
Research skills Understand a range of research methods and plans and carry out research; produce academically appropriate pieces of written work.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Understand the concept of group dynamics; contribute to the setting of group goals; contribute effectively to the planning of group activities; play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars); exercise negotiation and persuasion skills; evaluate group activities and own contribution.


This module is at CQFW Level 6