History of the British Isles

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HIST 2206
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
HIST 2206, History of the British Isles, surveys the political, social, cultural, economic, and intellectual development of the countries of the British Isles – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – from Celtic Britain to the present day. Major themes include: the British Iron Age; the Roman province of Britannia; the Anglo Saxon Kingdoms; the Scandinavian frontier; Norman Britain; the expansion of the Tudor state and religious reforms; Stuart absolutism, civil war, constitutional monarchy and the creation of a United Kingdom; Britain’s emergence as an imperial power; industrial revolution and the social, political and cultural reforms of the Victorian era; nation, race, gender, citizens, subjects and modernity in the Imperial state; the Irish question; World War and the modern welfare state; de-colonization, de-industrialization and devolution; Britain, Ireland and the European Union.
Course Content

A sample course outline may include the following topics.

Note: Specific content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics. 

  1. Celtic worlds and the British Iron Age
  2. Roman and Anglo-Saxon Britain; Scandinavian migration
  3. The Normans: France, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
  4. The Tudor state, religious change and Ireland’s first partition
  5. Stuart Absolutism, Commonwealth, or Constitutional Monarchy?
  6. Britain’s overseas enterprise and the expansion of Empire
  7. Industrial revolution and social upheaval
  8. Victorian Britain: Industrial consolidation, social and political reform
  9. Imperialism, the metropole and global networks of power
  10. Crises: World Wars, social challenges, and economic depression
  11. A New Britain: Decolonization, deindustrialization and domestic reinvention
  12. Changing political and economic landscapes
  13. Immigration, identity and the fault lines of modern British society
  14. Britain, Ireland and Europe in the Twenty-First Century
Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

  • Participation, In-Class Work: 10%
  • Seminar Presentations: 10%
  • Primary Source Analyses: 15%
  • Historiographic Essay or Book Review: 15%
  • Research Proposal and Annotated Bibliography: 10%
  • Research Paper: 20%
  • Final Summative Assignment or Final Exam 20%
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).

4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history).


Textbook Materials

Textbooks may be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically. An instructor’s custom Course Reader, or selected additional monographs may be required. Additional online resources may also be assigned, and links to specific resources may be provided in the course outline.

Bartlett, Thomas. Ireland: A History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Burton, Antoinette. The Trouble with Empire: Challenges to Modern British Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Campbell, Kenneth L. A History of the British Isles. London: Bloomsbury, 2017.

Davies, John. A History of Wales London: Penguin, 2007.

Devine, T. M. The Scottish Nation: A Modern History. London: Penguin, 2012.

Fraser, Hamish, and Callum G. Brown. Britain Since 1707. New York: Routledge, 2009.

Heyck, Thomas William, and Meredith Veldman. The Peoples of the British Isles: A New History. From 1688 to the Present, 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Kearney, Hugh. The British Isles: A History of Four Nations, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Kent, Susan Kingley. A New History of Britain since 1688: Four Nations and an Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Levine, Philippa. The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2013.

Meigs, Samantha A., and Stanford E. Lehmberg. The People of the British Isles: A New History. From Prehistoric Times to 1688. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Mitchison, Rosalind. A History of Scotland, 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Ranelagh, John O’Beirne. A Short History of Ireland, 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Tombs, Robert. The English and Their History. London: Penguin, 2015.



One 1000-level History course, or permission of the instructor


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 2206
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX HIST 2XX (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU HIST 304 (3)
Camosun College (CAMO) CAMO HIST 120 (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR HIST 2XX (3)
Columbia College (COLU) COLU HIST 2nd (3)
Emily Carr University of Art & Design (EC) EC HUMN 200 lev (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU HIST 2XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG HIST 2XXX (3)
North Island College (NIC) NIC HIS 2XX (3)
Northern Lights College (NLC) NLC HIST 2XX (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC HIST 2XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU HIST 215 (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HIST 3XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW HIST 2XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO HIST 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 2XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV HIST 212 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC HSTR 220A (1.5)
Vancouver Community College (VCC) VCC HUM 2XXX (3)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU HIST 2nd (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023