European Communism in the 20th Century HIST4006

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course introduces students to the history of communism in Europe, covering the period from the Marxist origins and the Russian revolution up to the present day.


12 lecture sessions of 1 hour duration and 4 x 2 hour seminars during the teaching period.


This is one of the honours options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes.

Excluded Courses





■ 1 essay (1500-2000 words excluding references and bibliography; 20%)

■ 1 seminar written paper: 1200-1500 words including references and bibliography; (5%) and 10 minute seminar oral presentation (5%)  

■ participation in seminar discussions (10%)

■ 2- hour exam in the April/May diet (60%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:


■ develop the intellectual interests and analytical skills acquired by students during their first two years.

■ be aware of previously unfamiliar methodological approaches, chronological periods and geographical areas by offering a wide and flexible choice of options

■ offer the opportunity to develop skills in historical computing, as well as basic IT awareness.

■ be familiar with complex historical debates and interpretations, skill in interpreting primary sources where appropriate, and to inform these discussions with new ideas derived from lecturers' current research.

■ develop transferable skills by fostering individual initiative, personal choice, group discussion and, where appropriate, problem-solving teamwork.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:


- critically discuss the general development of the history of communism in Europe in the 20th century.
identify the main moments of change and assess their impact.
discuss the main characteristics of the ideology of communism and its variants.
formulate ideas on the central problems of the communist regimes in Easter Europe as well as those encountered by communist parties and movements in the West during the Cold War.
critically discuss the historiography of the fall of communism.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.