History MA/MA(SocSci)

THE REIGN OF JAMES VI, c.1578-1603I HIST4035

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course provides an in-depth examination of Scottish politics, culture and society during the personal reign of King James VI.


The course will be taught for three hours every week as scheduled in MyCampus

Excluded Courses






2 essays (one in each semester) 10% each

2 seminar papers (one in each semester) 6% each

Seminar contribution (one assessment in each semester) 4% each

Examination: 2 x 120 minute examinations, worth 60% overall

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

The following aims are shared by all History special subjects:

1. to prepare students for independent and original analysis of a complex range of evidence, including source materials, thereby developing intellectual skills that will be of benefit in a wide range of careers.

2. to show students how a professional historian works.

3. to familiarise students, through source-criticism, with a wide range of problems of interpretation arising from different usages of language, underlying meanings and intentions, differing standards of objectivity, and the variety of purpose and intent associated with historical evidence (written, visual or other).

4. to ensure, through student-led discussion, that the relative validity of alternative historical interpretations is fully recognised.

5. to encourage students to develop the confidence, imagination, skills and self-discipline required to master a similarly demanding brief in the future, whether in historical research or in any sphere or employment where these qualities are valuable.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


demonstrate a deep and broad knowledge of the personality of James VI, and of the major events and issues connected to his life and reign;

critically assess the major developments in political, cultural and religious life in Scotland between 1567 and 1625, using sources in a variety of media to do so;

account for the ways in which Scottish society was transformed by James' transition to England in 1603, particularly the extent to which English cultural models impacted upon Scotland after the Union of the Crowns;

show a thorough knowledge of the relevant primary and secondary sources, and the problems of interpretation arising from these sources;

understand and reconcile multiple interpretations of complex historical debates relating to james and his reign, and to events within it;

present such understanding in clear, concise and effect prose in exams, essays and seminar papers, or in verbal argument in seminars, incorporating a range of substantiating evidence.

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.