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History (HIST) 404

Historical Foundations of Modern Science (Revision 2)

Revision 2 closed, replaced by current version.

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None. HUMN 202 is strongly recommended.

Centre: Centre for Global and Social Analysis

HIST 404 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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HIST 404 is designed primarily for science students in the last year of a BS program, and for history students in the last year of a BA (History) program. As such, History 404 uses a range of primary and secondary materials as well as visual media, notably, the thirteen episodes that make up the lecture series A History of Science in Society.


Unit 1: What Is Science?

Unit 2: The Origins of Natural Philosophy or Why the Greeks?

Unit 3: Science in the Roman and Islamic Worlds and the 12th Century Revival in Western Europe

Unit 4: Science in the Renaissance

Unit 5: The Scientific Revolution

Unit 6: Science and the Enlightenment

Unit 7: Science and the Age of Empire

Unit 8: The End of Certainty: Science, War and the Onset of the Atomic Age

Unit 9: Discovering DNA

Unit 10: Hypatia’s Heritage: Women’s Role in Science

Unit 11: The Shrinking World


To receive credit for HIST 404, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent) and a grade of at least 50 percent or better on the final examination. The weighting of the course assignments is as follows:

Assignment 1 Assignment 2 Assignment 3 Final Exam Total
15% 20% 25% 40% 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 who 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


Alic, Margaret. Hypatia’s Heritage: A History of Women in Science from Antiquity to the Late Nineteenth Century. London: The Women’s Press, 1986.

Ede, Andrew, and Lesley B. Cormack. A History of Science in Society: From Philosophy to Utility. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2009.

Watson, James D. The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of The Structure of DNA. New York: Touchstone Edition, 2001.

Other Materials

The course materials include 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.

  • Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Policy
  • Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Procedures

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the HIST 404 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

  • Challenge for Credit 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, May 4, 2010.

View previous syllabus

Last updated by SAS  07/07/2014 16:42:09