History (HIST) 383

The Vikings (Revision 3)

HIST 383 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

HIST 383 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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History 383: The Vikings is a three-credit, senior-level course that surveys the political, military, economic, social, cultural, and religious history of one of early medieval Europe’s most famous peoples. Scandinavians of the late eighth to end of the eleventh century were active as raiders—or “vikings”—against the Christian peoples of western Europe, as aggressive traders in eastern Europe, and daring colonizers and explorers of the north Atlantic. To engage students in the study of the Vikings, the course presents primary source readings from the period as well as current scholarly interpretations by historians and archaeologists. Through researching a particular historical topic in detail, you will exercise the research, critical thinking, and writing skills you will need for success at university and beyond.


  • Unit 1: Introduction: Discovering the Vikings
  • Unit 2: Viking Homelands
  • Unit 3: Scandinavians and their Neighbours
  • Unit 4: Religion and Culture
  • Unit 5: Ships and Swords
  • Unit 6: Francia: From Norsemen to Normans
  • Unit 7: England Attacked and Settled
  • Unit 8: Vikings in Ireland and Scotland
  • Unit 9: Colonies of the North Atlantic
  • Unit 10: Vikings in Canada, eh?
  • Unit 11: The East: Russia, Byzantium, and Beyond
  • Unit 12: End of the Viking Age

Course Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing HIST 383: The Vikings, students should be able to:

  1. Explain major historical events from the Viking Age by recalling narratives, arguments, and detailed examples from the course-assigned reading material.
  2. Evaluate major primary sources from the Viking Age assigned in this course.
  3. Locate scholarly information about the Vikings using online library catalogues and databases.
  4. Explain the often differing scholarly interpretations of primary source evidence from the Viking Age.
  5. Synthesize information from different sources about the Vikings to formulate an answer to an assigned research question.
  6. Accurately communicate knowledge about the Vikings cogently, clearly, and logically in written form that corresponds to academic standards of doing history.



To receive credit for HIST 383, you must achieve a minimum of 50 percent on the final examination and a minimum composite course grade of D (50 percent).

The chart below summarizes the course activities and the credit weight associated with each and shows the order in which you should complete them, because each builds on the previous assignments.

Course Activity Description Value (% of final grade) Suggested Week for Completion in 14-week Schedule
Quiz 1 Library Research Skills (based on Module 1) 2% 1
Quiz 2 Chicago Style Documentation (based on Module 2) 2% 2
Assignment 1 Research Plan and Preliminary Bibliography 5% 5
Assignment 2 Review of Scholarly Article or Essay 20% 7
Quiz 3 Using Evidence (based on Module 3) 1% 11
Assignment 3 Research Paper 30% 12
Final Exam Invigilated exam 40% Scheduled by student in advance.
Total   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


Haywood, John. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. London: Penguin, 1995.

Roesdahl, Else. The Vikings. 3rd ed. London: Penguin, 2016.

Sawyer, Peter, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Somerville, Angus A., and R. Andrew McDonald, eds. The Viking Age: A Reader. 2nd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. eBook available through the AU Library.

Other Materials

The following materials are available online:

Cels, Marc B. History 383: The Vikings, Study Guide. Athabasca, AB: Athabasca University, 2018.

Cels, Marc B. History 383: The Vikings, Course Information. Athabasca, AB: Athabasca University, 2018.

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 383 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on each of the three challenge components and a composite grade of at least 50 percent.

Activity Weighting
Exam 1 30%
Exam 1 30%
Research Essay 40%
Total 100%

Exam 1

  • Three-hour invigilated exam testing student’s knowledge of course concepts, events, people and texts. This exam consists of briefly explaining 10 out of 15 major concepts from the first half of the course, and answering two out of six essay questions related to the first half of the course.

Exam 2

  • Three-hour invigilated exam testing student’s knowledge of course concepts, events, people and texts. This exam consists of briefly explaining 10 out of 15 major concepts from the second half of the course, and answering two out of six essay questions related to the second half of the course.

Research Essay

In consultation with the Course Coordinator, the student will research and write a report on a primary source assigned in this course. The student may submit before or after sitting the exams, but before his or her course contract expires.

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 3, May 30, 2018.

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