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Scotland: From Reformation to Revolution, 1560-1690 (10 credit points)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

From the Reformation in 1560 to the revolutions of the 17th century. Discover some of Scotland’s best known and influential monarchs – Mary, Queen of Scots, James VI, Charles I – within the context of the social and political factors which influenced early modern Scotland.

Please note, this course takes place at the National Museum of Scotland (meet at the Information Desk in the entrance hall).


Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge required as this is an introductory course.

Content of Course

1. The Reformation in Scotland: the condition of the pre-Reformation church.

2. The Reformation in Scotland: the Reformation of 1560 and the post-Reformation church.

3. Mary Queen of Scots.

4. James VI.

5. Charles I: The National Covenant, Revolution and war.

6. The Scottish Witch-Hunt.

7. Restoration to Revolution.

8. Social and Economic conditions in 17th century Scotland.

9. Relations with England: the run up to union.

10. Conclusions.

Teaching method(s)

Lecture based with class discussion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • Evaluate the impact and importance of the reformation in Scotland;

  • Discuss the conflicting theories of seventeenth-century kingship;

  • Account for the causes and consequences of the revolutions of 1637 and 1688-89;

  • Understand the significance of the Union of the Crowns, how Scotland was governed after 1603 and the changing nature of Scotland's foreign relations;

  • Understand what is meant by the term 'early-modern Scotland' and discuss the changes taking place in Scotland's political and social structures in this period.


Core Readings


  • Dawson, Jane, 2007. Scotland Re-formed, 1488-1587. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

  • Donaldson, Gordon, 1990. Scotland, James V - James VII, Edinburgh: Mercat.

  • Brown, Keith, 1992. Kingdom or Province: Scotland the Regal Union, 1603-1715. London: Macmillan.

  • Ferguson, William, 1990, Scotland, 1689 to the Present. Edinburgh: Mercat.

  • Lynch, Michael, 1992. Scotland a New History. London: Pimlico.

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided, including extracts from sources.


10 credit courses have one assessment. Normally, the assessment is a 2000 word essay, worth 100% of the total mark, submitted by week 12. To pass, students must achieve a minimum of 40%. There are a small number of exceptions to this model which are identified in the Studying for Credit Guide.

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.