The Wars of The Roses: Power, Politics and Personalities (Online)

Course summary

  • Mon 24 Apr 2017 to Fri 07 Jul 2017
  • Online
  • From £255.00
  • 10 CATS points
  • Course code O16P490HIV
  • Applications being accepted

The Wars of The Roses: Power, Politics and Personalities (Online)


The recent discovery of Richard III's remains in Leicester highlights the dynamic new research being conducted into the period known as the Wars of the Roses. This courses asks students to engage with the latest work on this exciting and tumultous period.

The Wars of the Roses were a time of political upheaval and warfare in England during the fifteenth century. They were rooted in the disastrous reign of Henry VI and erupted into rebellions, battles and popular risings. Fought by lords and commons, for the cause of good government, they were also conflicts between families and friends concerned with property and power. Recent historical research offers new insights into government records, gentry letters and papers and popular ballads. Due to the diverse nature of the Wars of the Roses, historians continue to generate debates and questions, to which students taking this course can themselves directly contribute.

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

Programme details

1. Introduction: Narratives of the Wars of the Roses
2. Interpreting the Sources: Chronicles, Letters, Ballads and Governmental Rolls
3. Henry VI: Minority, Rule and Revolt
4. The Fall of the House of Lancaster: Edward IVs Challenge
5. The Wars of the Roses: Warfare, Armies and Military Tactics
6. The Wars of the Roses: Local Experiences
7. Return of Henry VI and the Victory of Edward IV
8. Royal Power: The Reputation of Richard III
9. Early Tudor Rule: A Revolution in Governance?
10. Legacy: Tudor Historians and the Wars of the Roses

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 book:

C. Carpenter, The Wars of the Roses: Politics and the Constitution in England, c.1437-1509 [Cambridge University Press, 1997] ISBN: 0521318742


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:

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: £255.00
Non-EU Fee: £295.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Dr Katherine Benson


Katherine Benson completed her doctorate on medieval diplomacy at the University of Reading, where she also taught in the history department. Her interests focus on political, diplomatic, and cultural history between 1300 and 1600. She has tutored online courses for the department for three years.


Course aims

Course Aim:
This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the most recent research into social, economic, political and cultural changes in English society during the period 1450-1500. It will give students an appreciation of the huge range of textual, architectural and archaeological sources which can be used to gain further insight into the Wars of the Roses.

Course objectives:
1. To examine the multifaceted causes of the Wars of the Roses.
2. To assess the extent and nature of social, economic and political change in the period 1450-1500.
3. To analyse the most recent scholarly debates.

Teaching outcomes

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

  • The most recent research into the causes of the Wars of the Roses.
  • The short term and longer term structural changes precipitated by the conflict.
  • The nature of the evidence of the period.

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

  • To be able to assess medieval textual and visual sources in order to evaluate the social, economic and political change in the period 1450-1500.
  • To be able to critically appraise the relevant scholarly literature.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

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


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.

Level and demands

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