This Course is Expired

Investigating the Victorians

This course aims to investigate the lives of the Victorian people both rich and poor, in order to gain an understanding of the key issues that transformed Britain.
University of Oxford University Offices Wellington Square Oxford ,OX1 2JD United Kingdom
(4418) 65270000

Course at a Glance

Mode of learning : Online - Instructor Lead(LVC)

Domain / Subject : General/Others

Function : General

Trainer name : Ms Liz Woolley

Starts on : 10th Sep 2014

Duration : 10 Weeks

Difficulty : Advanced

About the course

When Victoria ascended the throne in 1837, Britain was already engaged in the complex and dramatic process of industrialisation. This process had unforetold consequences for the British people, challenging the lives of both rural people and those who migrated to the new expanding towns and cities. Death, disease and poverty were just some of the daily hardships encountered. Inventions and entrepreneurial initiatives brought wealth and prosperity to many, but to others just a life of misery and endurance. People’s public and private lives were also affected by distinct Victorian values which shaped attitudes towards religion, philanthropy, the role of women and leisure activities. It was a society of great contrasts, in many respects deeply religious, yet in other ways often seemingly immoral and uncaring. 

This course will investigate the key features of Victorian society and will seek to establish the links between economic and social change in order to understand the significant developments which transformed Britain during this period. It will also evaluate and assess the underlying values and attitudes which shaped Victorian society. 

Course Aim

Investigate and evaluate the lives of the British people during the Victorian era.

Course Objectives:

This course will enable participants to:

  • Describe and identify the key social and economic features of life in Victorian Britain.
  • Question and analyse the ideals and values of Victorian society with respect to religion, gender, family, class and social responsibility.
  • Develop a range of historical skills through the evaluation of primary sources and historiography.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Teaching methods

  • Guided reading of texts and internet resources.
  • Research topics with student feedback.
  • Different discussion formats eg very structured or informal.
  • Set questions on primary materials as part of ongoing assessment
  • Questions to be answered in personal folders. 
  • Quizzes

Teaching outcomes

By the end of this course students will be expected to have gained the following skills:

  • The ability to write both critical and balanced analysis in order to evaluate the main social and economic features of life in Victorian Britain. 
  • The ability to discuss and interpret the underlying values of Victorian society and to appreciate how issues such as gender and religion affected attitudes.
  • The ability to compare, evaluate and interpret primary sources in order to develop and support historical arguments and to communicate their own ideas successfully to debates about Victorian Britain. 

Course eligibility

Course Requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following text:

  • Royle, E: Modern Britain A Social History 1750 – 1997 3rd ed. (Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2012)
I would like to be contacted regarding this course

Course Content


The landscape of Victorian Britain

  • The Great Exhibition 
  • A changing environment 
  • Population trends 
  • Structure of society

Victoria: monarch and empire

  • The Image of a Queen
  • A modern royal family
  • Jubilees – celebrating the Empire

Victorian family life

  • Childhood
  • Marriage 
  • Legal rights of women

The workshop of the world

  • Industrial revolution
  • Innovations in transport 
  • Urban development

Public health

  • Health epidemics
  • Housing conditions
  • Attitudes and solution

Poverty and the workhouse

  • Problems of poverty
  • The workhouse
  • Victorian philanthropy

Crime and Punishment

  • The ‘criminal’ classes
  • Punishment
  • Treating the insane

Religion and education

  • The established church v nonconformism
  • Sectarian education
  • Education for the masses


  • Cultural interests
  • Growth of the seaside resorts
  • Popular entertainments


  • Strengths and weaknesses of the Victorian age
  • Final images of Victorian Britain


Write Your Own Review

Write your review here (required)

Is the price of course overrated?
would you recommend this course to others?
Is duration of the course sufficient enough?
Did you like the faculties?
What would you prefer in future classroom or online learning?

Key features

Disclaimer: The contents of the course & Institute are obtained from the institute’s website by automated scraping or manual updates. For the latest information, please refer the institute website directly. For any discrepancies in the content, contact us at