General Course Information for HIS300: Roots of Western Civilization

Course: HIS300 - Roots of Western Civilization
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Description: Explores social, material, cultural, and intellectual bases of European civilization and relates them to major Afro-Eurasian civilizations. Examines hunting-gathering and early agricultural societies; ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Judea; classical Greece and Rome; rise of Christianity; nomadic invasions of Europe; Byzantine and Islamic influences; and Europeandapos;s medieval synthesis.
Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Illustrate the variety of hunter-gatherer societies.
  • Identify the locations of human communities that populated the major regions of the world and describe how humans adapted to a variety of environments.
  • Outline the development of agricultural techniques that permitted the production of economic surplus and the emergence of cities as centers of culture and power.
  • Understand the relationship between religion and the social and political order in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
  • Depict the origins and significance of Judaism as the first monotheistic religion.
  • Trace changes in ancient Greek society and polity, including the significance of the invention of the idea of citizenship.
  • Evaluate the similarities and differences between the Hellenic and Hellenistic worlds.
  • Identify the location and describe the rise of the Roman Republic, it government and its significance, and its transformation into an empire.
  • Explain the circumstances that led to the spread of Christianity in Europe and other Roman territories.
  • Illustrate the legacies of Roman art and architecture, technology and science, literature, language, and law.
  • Clarify the rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire and its heritage in government, law, commerce, and religion.
  • Trace the origins of Islam and the life and teachings of Muhammad and explain the significance of the Qurandapos;an and the Sunnah as the primary sources of Islamic beliefs, practice, and law.
  • Explain the transformation of Europe with Germanic invasions and settlement.
  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Carolingian period of European history.
  • Clarify feudalism in the early and high Middle Ages.
  • Illustrate the revival of cities, long-distance commerce, and state structures in Europe.
  • Evaluate the late Middle Ages as an era of social, political, and economic crisis and transformation.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures