History (HIST) 327

Imperial Russia (Revision 2)

HIST 327 course cover

Revision 2 is closed for registrations, see current revision

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None, HIST 215 or HIST 216 is recommended.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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HIST 327 has a Challenge for Credit option

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History 327: Imperial Russia is a three-credit senior-level course that surveys the history of the Russian region from its earliest beginnings to the second phase of the Russian Revolution, often called the October Revolution. The geographical region covered comprises the former USSR, i.e., modern Ukraine, the Baltic republics and the Central Asian republics, as well as the Russian Federation.

The course begins with a brief summary of the geographic and climatic imperatives of the entire region. The remaining units examine Russian history, commencing with Kievan Rus. Other topics covered in the first half of the course include the era of Mongol suzerainty, the growth of Muscovy and the emergence of Greater Russia, the “Time of Troubles,” and the “Window to the West” during the reigns of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. The second half of the course focuses on the turbulent century before the Revolutions of 1917, dealing with the crisis of Tsarism in the early 19th century, the conflict between Westernizers and Slavophiles, the “Great Reform” of Alexander II, the return to authoritarian conservatism and nationalism under Alexander III and Nicholas II, and the Revolutions of 1905 and 1917.

Research and writing is an important component of the course. Students are assessed by means of three written assignments and a final examination.


History 327: Imperial Russia is divided into thirteen units:

  1. Introduction: Climate, Geography, and Peoples
  2. Kievan Russia
  3. The Mongol Invasion and its Aftermath
  4. The Unification of Great Russia
  5. The Time of Troubles: Foundations for a Nation
  6. Peter the Great: Window to the West
  7. The Age of Empresses
  8. Paul I and Alexander I: Tsarism in Crisis
  9. Nicholas I: Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationalism
  10. Alexander II: Political and Social Reform
  11. Alexander II and Alexander III: Diplomacy, Empire, and Radicalism
  12. Nicholas II: War, Revolution, and Reform
  13. World War I and the Revolutions of 1917


To receive credit for HIST 327, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent) and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the course assignments is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 - Short Essay 15%
Assignment 2 - Research Essay #1 25%
Assignment 3 - Research Essay #2 25%
Final Exam 35%
Total 100%

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

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 who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

Course Materials


MacKenzie, David, and Michael Curran. A History of Russia, the Soviet Union, and Beyond. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2002.

Stone, Norman and Obolensky, Dimitri (eds.). The Russian Chronicles. A Thousand Years That Changed the World: From the Beginnings of the Land of Rus to the New Revolution of Glasnost Today. Godalming, UK: Quadrillion Publishers, 1998. (e-text)

Other Materials

The course materials include course information, study guide, and a DRR.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you 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 about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the HIST 327 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the entire challenge examination.

Activity Weighting
Part I: Exam 50%
Part II: Exam 50%
Total 100%

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 2, July 13, 2016.

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