History (HIST) 499

History of the Family in Western Europe: From the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution (Revision 1)

HIST 499 Course website

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: Credit in at least one history course is recommended but not required.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

History Home Page

HIST 499 has a Challenge for Credit option.

Course website

check availability


HIST 499 traces the changes that have occurred in family life in Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Era. The course is organized chronologically to emphasize that families do not exist in isolation. They are a component of a larger social structure, and are affected by economic, political, intellectual, and religious movements. The course examines the functions of the family, relationships within the family, and the family as an economic unit. Furthermore, it examines how these areas were affected by historical events.


  • Unit 1: An Introduction to Family History
  • Unit 2: The Family in the Middle Ages
  • Unit 3: The Family in the Early Modern Era
  • Unit 4: The Family in the Industrial Age


To receive credit for HIST 499, you must achieve a minimum grade of 50 percent on the final examination and a composite course grade of at least “D” (50 percent). The weighting of the course assignments is as follows:

Essay 1 Essay 2 Essay 3 Essay 4 Final Exam Total
10% 20% 20% 20% 30% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators that can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Davidoff, Leonore, and Catherine Hall. 2002. Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850. London and New York: Routledge.

Gies, Frances, and Joseph Gies. 1989. Marriage and the Family in the Middle Ages. New York: Harper & Row.

Houlbrooke, Ralph A. 1984. The English Family, 1450-1700. London: Longman.

Tilly, Louise A., and Joan W. Scott. 1987. Women, Work and Family. New York: Routledge.

Anderson, Michael. 1979. “The Relevance of Family History.” From The Sociology of the Family: New Directions for Britain, edited by Chris Harris, pp. 49-73. Sociological Review Monograph. Keele: University of Keele.

Other Materials

The course materials include a student manual and a study guide.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the HIST 499 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1.

Updated May 18 2016 by SAS