The Industrial Revolution in Europe 1800-1914


The Industrial Revolution was a seismic economic, social and political transformation which started in Britain in the late-eighteenth century and was to define the economic structure of Europe by 1914. This course will examine Europe before the changes of industrialism and analyse the origins of modern industry in Britain. It then considers how these new industrial technologies and ideas spread throughout the European continent in the course of the nineteenth century. The new industry completely changed the way Europeans communicated and travelled. It re-built and re-modelled European cities and created a new range of political ideas which came to dominate the manner in which European states were governed. These powerful nineteenth century industrial economies were able to use advanced technology to dominate huge areas of the world outside Europe. Europe’s advanced economy gave the continent a leading role in the development of overseas colonies and meant that Europe had a pivotal role in international trade and commerce in the century leading up to 1914. Ultimately the European Industrial Revolution changed the world forever and this course will conclude by analysing the degree to which our world today has been formed and continues to be influenced by the new ideas and technology created in the years between 1800 and 1914.

Programme details

Week 0:  An Introduction to Teams

Week 1:  Europe Before the Industrial Revolution

Week 2:  Britain, Europe's Industrial Pioneer

Week 3:  New Industrial States before 1850

Week 4:  Europe's Industrial Explosion after 1850

Week 5:  A New World of Transport, Travel and Communications

Week 6:  A Changed Urban Europe

Week 7:  Political Transformation through Industrialism

Week 8:  The Industrial Revolution and European Colonies

Week 9:  Economic Rivalries and Tensions

Week 10:  The Industrial Revolution, Europe and the World


Background Reading

These books are not required for the course but have been recommended by the tutor for anyone with an interest in purchasing related literature.

The Pursuit of Power, Europe 1815-1914 \ Evans, Richard (Penguin, 2017)

The Industrial Revolution – A Very Short Introduction \ Allen, Robert (OUP, 2017)



Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. 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.


Description Costs
Course Fee £220.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


Mr Carl Wade

Carl Wade originally studied history at Jesus College, Cambridge. He has written and taught courses for OUDCE since 2004 in modern European and German history.

Course aims

The aim of the course is to consider the development of the Industrial Revolution and to examine its immediate and long-term social and political effects in Europe between 1800 and 1914.

Course Objectives:

1. To examine the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the development of the European economy.

2.  It also seeks to establish the long-term historical significance of the Industrial Revolution in the world.

3. Extensive use will be made of a variety of original visual and documentary materials to illuminate the developments and debates of the period, and to encourage students to engage with those arguments and debates.

Teaching methods

Teaching will be split into two different sessions each week. There will be a recorded presentation lasting one hour which will discuss the theme of the week. This will consist of the tutor presenting the key themes and ideas of the topic assisted by PowerPoint. During the recorded presentation key questions for later discussion will also be suggested. The second teaching session will consist of an interactive class of all the students using Microsoft Teams. The focus of the second teaching session will be the key questions raised in the recorded weekly presentation. All students will be encouraged to take part directly in this interactive class which will last for another hour. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course you will know:

1.             Have an understanding and knowledge of the history of the Industrial Revolution in Europe between 1800 and 1914 and it's longer term legacy in the world.

2.             Demonstrate an ability to assess and evaluate a variety of arguments and sources with reference to the period, and to be able to express their views interacting with other students and in written form.

3.             Become familiar with the structures of academic learning and be confident expressing their argument in a group environment.

Assessment methods

Students will be offered the possibility of writing an assignment related to the topics considered during the term. This assignment will consist of one essay of approximately 1500 words. The assignment needs to be completed to a satisfactory standard in order for credit to be awarded for the course.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.



Each course will close for enrolments 14 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (14 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

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.

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

Level and demands

The history topic is considered to be at the equivalent level of a first-year undergraduate course. However the course is open to all of those who are interested in the subject and the aim would be to provide an experience which would be suitable for those students who are generally interested in the topic and for those students who wish to study history further. So no specialist history qualifications are required. All students can complete a written assignment related to the course. There will be a range of assignment titles offered to students but it would be possible to select a title individually subject to approval from the tutor. Whilst completing a written assignment certainly is recommended, it is not compulsory and if students prefer to participate in the classes without being committed to written work then this is also possible. A great emphasis will be placed on active participation and discussion during the classes.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)