Elizabeth I (Online)

Course details

From £280.00
10 CATS points

Wed 29 Jan 2020 - Tue 14 Apr 2020

Elizabeth I (Online)


This course will examine the life and reign of Elizabeth I, from her troubled childhood to the death of the aged Virgin Queen. But what do we really know of this iconic queen? Can her reign be accounted a success?

The reign of Elizabeth I witnessed some of the most famous, transformative events in English history. The Elizabethan religious settlement finally established Protestantism as the official religion in England; the defeat of the Armada in 1588 played an important role in the formation of English national identity. Most of all, the image of the queen, iconically depicted in contemporary art and literature, has come to dominate historical accounts of the period. And yet we know very little about the queen herself. Elizabeth left few personal documents and no direct testimony about the key unanswered questions of her reign, such as her personal religious beliefs or why she never married. This course will address these questions and the other key issues of Elizabeth's 45 year reign, looking beyond the posthumous 'myth of the Virgin Queen to assess the success and effectiveness of her rule.

For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.

Programme details

Unit 1: The young Elizabeth: Education, childhood, and adolescent experiences

Unit 2: Elizabeth's accession: Religious settlement, The establishment of Elizabethan government, Burghley

Unit 3: Monarcy and government: Court and Council; Parliament; the Church

Unit 4: The marriage debate: Suitors; Leicester and Anjou; Virginity

Unit 5: The succession question: Candidates; Mary Queen of Scots; James VI of Scotland

Unit 6: Elizabeth's relationship with her nobility: Protestant nobles;1569 rising; the Catholic nobility

Unit 7: Crises of foreign policy: France; the Netherlands and Spain; The Armada

Unit 8: The challenges of the 1590s: Essex and Cecil; Essex rebellion; Ireland

Unit 9: The contemporary image of Elizabeth: Portraiture; Speeches; The 'cult' of Elizabeth

Unit 10: The posthumous myth of Elizabeth: Films; Fiction; Final evaluation: was Elizabeth's rule a success?

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.

Recommended reading

To participate in this course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following books:

  • Haigh, C., Elizabeth I. Profiles in Power, 2nd revised edition (2000). Pearson Education, Harlow.
  • Williams, P., The Later Tudors (1998). Oxford University Press, Oxford.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.

For more information on CATS point please click on the link below: http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/studentsupport/faq/cats.php

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.


Home/EU Fee: £280.00
Non-EU Fee: £300.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Dr Janet Dickinson

Janet Dickinson specializes in the cultural and political history of early modern England and Europe. Her publications and research focus on Elizabeth I and the nobility.  She has three times been named ‘most acclaimed lecturer’ by her students at OUDCE.

Course aims

Study and evaluate the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Course Objectives

  • To explore the key events and developments of Elizabeth's reign.
  • To break down the 'myth' of Elizabeth to evaluate Elizabeth's skills as a ruler.
  • Develop a range of historical skills through the evaluation of primary sources and historiography.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be expected to understand:

  • The key events of Elizabeth's reign and how her government dealt with them.
  • The construction of the queen's reputation by her contemporaries and since her death.
  • How to use primary sources in order to develop and support historical arguments.


By the end of this course students will be expected to have gained the following skills:

  • The ability to write analytical and critical evaluations of the key events and issues of Elizabeth's reign.
  • The ability to assess the success or otherwise of Elizabeth's reign, with an awareness of how far her reputation has been shaped by later accounts.
  • The ability to compare, evaluate and interpret primary sources in order to develop and support historical arguments and to communicate their own ideas successfully to debates about Elizabeth's reign.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment of 500 words due half way through the course and one longer assignment of 1500 words due at the end of the course.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.