Throughout the learning process you will be awarded a Digital Open Badge for completing each unit. These are internationally recognised by many employers and educational institutions and will allow you to display your study achievements, even if you only wish to complete a specific unit.

Upon finishing the course, you will be issued an E-Certificate featuring all earned badges and stating that you have completed the full course, so that you can add it to your CV or education portfolio.

If you're interested in exploring what else University of Derby Online Learning has to offer, browse our online courses.

An accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office

We are proud to be an accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office for our online short courses and free courses, demonstrating that they conform to CPD best practice and are appropriate for inclusion in a formal CPD record.

Accredited CPD Centre Logo - The CPD Standards Office, CPD Provider 60069, 2024-2025

Course units

The course is made up of 5 units, each will require approximately 4 hours of study.

This unit introduces the ways in which historians understand the origins and dynamics of totalitarian regimes, focusing on Germany under Adolf Hitler, the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin, and the People’s Republic of China under Mao Zedong. Adopting a comparative approach, learners will encounter key debates, such as the debate whether ‘totalitarianism’ is a useful term to describe these regimes, introducing them to the nature of academic debate that is central to the study of history and politics at university.

This unit focuses on terror and coercion tactics used by authoritarian regimes, including the use of censorship, secret police forces and concentration or labour camps, while also exploring the limitations of these tactics. It introduces leaners to key scholarly debates, as well as helping them understand how historians and university students make use of official archival documents to explore the past.

This unit explores how authoritarian régimes, faced with the limitations of coercive strategies, made use of propaganda to persuade citizens of the supposed value of their political ideas. It introduces learners to academic approaches to reading newspapers, posters, and other propagandistic outputs as primary sources. It encourages learners to reflect on how they can apply the analytical skills acquired by doing this to present-day politics.

This unit explores to what extent ordinary people in their everyday lives did things that either strengthened or undermined the grip of authoritarian regimes. It discusses whether pressures ‘from below’ are partly to blame for the radicalization of certain regimes, and to what extent different forms of opposition and resistance to established authority were possible. In doing this, it encourages learners to think critically about key primary sources used in the study of history at university, including diaries and published private letters.

This unit discusses how states remember legacies of authoritarian regimes, covering postwar German attempts to come to terms with the Nazi past as well as the recent nostalgia for leaders such as Stalin in present-day Russia. It introduces learners to ways of interpreting material culture, including monuments and architecture, as sources that can help us understand both historical and present-day politics. In doing this, it encourages leaners to reflect on the contemporary relevance of the historical case studies explored across the course.