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There are no official prerequisites for this course, but I recommend HIST 200 (The Historian’s Craft) or the equivalent. You should be able to read and write at a college level before enrolling in the course. If you do not already have a general knowledge of European history between 1400 and 1700, you might want to consult a textbook. I recommend any volume of A History of Western Society (McKay, Hill, Buckler, and Crowston) that deals with the medieval and early modern period, but there are many other general textbooks that are satisfactory as well. Just be sure to find a recent edition.

Course Learning Outcomes

After completing this course and putting forth the requisite effort, you should be able to:

  1. Explain and analyze the major religious developments in Europe during the Reformation (1500–1700).
  2. Analyze and interpret primary source documents.
  3. Analyze and interpret a secondary source (monograph) and write a book review.
  4. Analyze interpret and debate the meanings and historical value of primary and secondary source texts.
  5. Evaluate historical questions and place them in a historiographical context.

Course Materials

The required textbooks for the course include

You will also read a secondary source of your choice from the following list:

You can choose your book early, and begin reading it as you work through the lessons. Then you will be ready to complete the 3-page secondary-source analysis for the Book Review Assignment in Lesson 14.

Note: One additional primary source reading is online, so you will need Internet access to successfully complete the course.

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Papers and Book Review

The course includes 16 lessons. Four of those lessons require you to write a three-page paper. Three of the papers will deal with primary sources, and one of them will be a book review of a secondary source. Each paper is worth 55 points. All papers will be graded by the instructor.

I will use these rubrics when I grade your papers and exams.

Primary Source Response Paper Rubric

I will grade your papers on these criteria:

Follows the assigned format for type, margins, spacing, and length yes  no      
Adequately answers the assigned questions 1 2 3 4 5
Examines the author’s main arguments 1 2 3 4 5
Focuses on analysis of the text(s) rather than summary 1 2 3 4 5
Is well organized 1 2 3 4 5
Is not plagued by grammatical errors, awkward sentences, or proofreading errors 1 2 3 4 5
Cites sources appropriately 1 2 3 4 5

Book Review Rubric

I will grade your book review on these criteria:

Follows the assigned format for type, margins, spacing, and length yes no      
Adequately outlines the author’s purpose/thesis 1 2 3 4 5
Examines the author’s sources  1 2 3 4 5
Examines the author’s main arguments 1 2 3 4 5
Focuses on analysis of the text(s) rather than summary 1 2 3 4 5
Is well organized 1 2 3 4 5
Is not plagued by grammatical errors, awkward sentences, or proofreading errors 1 2 3 4 5
Cites sources appropriately 1 2 3 4 5


Each lesson includes a multiple-choice quiz. Each quiz is worth 55 points. The quizzes are open book and open note, but there is a strict time limit of 15 minutes—if you haven’t read and studied the material, you will not be able to pass the quiz.

You must receive a score of 70% or better on each quiz before you can continue to the next lesson. You will be able to retake each quiz as many times as you need to reach at least 70%, but once you do, you will not be able to retake the quiz again.

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You will complete a midterm and a final exam, each worth 100 points. Exams consist of short-answer and essay questions. They are closed book and closed note, but there is no time limit. If you do not pass either exam with a score of 60% or better on your first try, you may retake the exam once for a fee. You must, however, pass the final exam to earn credit for the course.

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Academic Honesty

Please refer to the BYU Honor Code for policies on academic honesty. Any work that you submit for this course must be your own. Most obviously, you should not submit material that was written by another person, whether that person is another student, a friend, or an author of history. But that also means that when you write a book review or a paper, you should not use the Internet to find analysis of the text(s) and then pass it off as your own. When writing your papers, you should not consult any materials other than a textbook and the readings assigned for this course.

Assessment and Grading

Complete and submit these assignments and exams to earn points toward the course grade:

Assignment Points Percentage
3 short papers 165 (55 each) 33%
Book review 55 11%
16 quizzes 80 (5 each) 16%
Midcourse exam 100 20%
Final exam 100 20%
Total 500 100%

You will earn a letter grade for your papers and exams. Letter grades on your written work correspond to these percentages:

A 95%
A− 90%
B+ 87%
B 83%
B− 80%
C+ 77%
C 73%
C− 70%
D+ 67%
D 63%
D− 60%
E (fail) 59%

Grade Scale

Your overall course grade will be calculated according to these percentages:

A 93–100
A− 90–92
B+ 87–89
B 83–86
B− 80–82
C+ 77–79
C 73–78
C− 70–72
D+ 67–69
D 63–66
D− 60–62
E (fail) Below 60

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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