• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History

This course introduces students to the people, society, politics, and culture of Western Europe during the later Middle Ages. Focusing primarily on England, but branching into most areas of Western Europe, it will explore some of the socio-political structures, mentalities, and events that contribute to our understanding of the later medieval period.

The later Middle Ages have been interpreted as a time of decline and decay which preceded an enlightened Renaissance or ‘early modern’ era. Candidates will be offered a variety of documentary, literary, and artistic evidence alongside recent historiography to help them reflect upon and critically assess this view. In addition to exploring such themes as social relations, power, and beliefs, this course will engage with concepts of periodisation, including the terms ‘medieval’ and ‘early modern’, and with notions of historical change, transition, and continuity. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

This course aims to enhance participants’ knowledge and understanding of a period central to European history, and to challenge preconceptions about medieval life with fresh perspectives on the people and culture of Western Europe in the later Middle Ages. 

On successful completion of the course, students will have developed the capacity to:

  1. critically discuss major social, political, economic, and cultural structures, events, and themes shaping the later Middle Ages
  2. evaluate and analyse different medieval sources and modern historiography
  3. identify and assess evidence of social change and continuity throughout the period
  4. critically evaluate the concept of decline in relation to the later Middle Ages
  5. conduct research using primary sources and historiography relating to the period
  6. formulate logical arguments substantiated with historical evidence
  7. express ideas clearly in both written and oral modes of communication

Indicative Assessment

1.Tutorial participation, including Reflective Writing and discussion:10% (Assesses learning outcomes 1–3, 6–7)

2.Tutorial Presentation: 10 minute presentation and 500 word source analysis on same topic 20% (Assesses learning outcomes 1–3, 5–7)

3.Topical Essay: 2000 words 30% (Assesses learning outcomes 1–2, 5–7)

4. Synoptic Essay OR Research Proposal: 2500 words 40% (Assesses learning outcomes 1–7, esp. 3–4)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


One lecture session of 90–100 mins (this will usually take the form of two lectures with a break) and 1 tutorial per week. Lectures will normally be recorded. Students should expect to devote an additional 7 hours per week of independent study to tutorial and assessment preparation.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 36 units of ANU courses towards a degree, or with the permission of the convenor.

Prescribed Texts

Recommended preliminary reading: 

Marcus Bull, Thinking Medieval: An Introduction to the Study of the Middle Ages, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, 2005; S. H. Rigby, ed., A Companion to Britain in the Later Middle Ages, Blackwell, Malden, 2003.

Weekly readings and additional source material will be made available electronically.

Preliminary Reading

To access details for each topic please use the topic link at the top of the page.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4760 15 Feb 2016 26 Feb 2016 31 Mar 2016 27 May 2016 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions