History (HIST) 404

Historical Foundations of Modern Science (Revision 3)

HIST 404 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None. HUMN 202 is strongly recommended.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

History Home Page

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:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 20%
Assignment 3 25%
Final Exam 40%
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


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

All of your Athabasca University materials will be found at your online course site. Key course materials include the Course Manual, the Study Guide, and assignments and quizzes.

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 404 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 3, June 8, 2012.

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