Free Richard III MOOC returns

As the second anniversary of the reinterment of Richard III approaches in March, the University of Leicester is relaunching its highly popular online course that explores what it was really like to live in the world of the last Plantagenet King.

The latest run of the free ‘England in the Time of King Richard III’ MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, will be launching on Monday 27 February – and will offer a fascinating insight into life during 15th century England.


The course, which is offered for free by the University of Leicester in association with FutureLearn, builds a picture of the England that Richard III inhabited in the 15th century and comes from the scholars in archaeology, history and literature who helped uncover the monarch.

It includes detailed video footage of preparations for the reinterment, interviews with the Dean of Leicester at the time of the reinterment and others involved in the landmark event.

Deirdre O’Sullivan, Lecturer in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, said: “The course will explore a time that saw huge upheavals, including savage dynastic warfare, shifting allegiances among a powerful aristocracy, and significant depopulation. Students will also learn about how workers become more prosperous as wages rose, and how the introduction of printing transformed access to literacy and books.”


The six week course, starting on 27 February, will cover a different feature of Richard III’s England each week, including:

  • The Wars of the Roses and medieval warfare
  • The lives of farmers, peasants and townsfolk
  • Books, literacy and the arrival of print
  • Death and commemoration
  • Medieval food
  • How historians and archaeologists wove together the story of Richard III’s journey to Bosworth and burial in Leicester

The course is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) delivered online to enable anyone to enjoy learning wherever they are, and whether they are enrolled at a university or not. There are no entry requirements, and it will entail about three hours of study a week.

It is one of a number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) run by the University. Other courses include Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum, Forensic Science and Criminal Justice and People Studying People: Research Ethics in Society.


“We think we’ve developed a course that will really enhance your interest and understanding of the period,” said Deirdre O’Sullivan. “As well as the way in which scholars go about identifying the questions that need to be answered and bringing evidence to bear on them. There are many controversies about the period and we hope that by the end of the course you will be armed with enough knowledge to formulate your own views of the credibility, or otherwise, of some of the theories around.”

To register for the England in the Time of King Richard III course, go to


Sign up for our weekly email newsletter!