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History: A-level

Qualification: A-level

Exam Board: AQA

Entry Requirements: Grade 5 or above in GCSE English and Grade 5 or above in GCSE History.


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Develop a critical understanding of the past

History involves the study of both British and Modern American History, with separate teachers. Students further develop their skills of analysis and are encouraged to think critically about different interpretations of events. Students learn how to construct discursive essays and to evaluate the reliability of sources and analyse the evidence and perspective they present, to a higher level.


The course

The course covers three main areas:

The Tudors in England 1485 – 1603

This topic allows students to study in breadth issues of change, continuity, cause and consequence by answering some key questions:

  • How effectively did the Tudors restore and develop the powers of the monarchy?
  • In what ways and how effectively was England governed during this period?
  • How did relations with foreign powers change and how was the succession secured?
  • How did English society and economy change and with what effects?
  • How far did intellectual and religious ideas change and develop and with what effects?
  • How important was the role of key individuals and groups and how were they affected by developments?

The American Dream: reality and illusion 1945 - 1980

This topic provides for a study in depth of:

  • The challenges faced by the USA at home and abroad as it emerged from the Second World War as a superpower.
  • How for many Americans, post-war prosperity realised the ‘American dream’ but the prosperity was not shared by all.
  • How significant problems at home and abroad challenged the extent to which the ‘American dream’ was a reality.
  • Concepts such as American identity at home and abroad, anti-communism, social equality, ethnic identities and federal versus states’ rights.
  • The nature of democracy in a pluralist society, political protest and the power of the media.


Independent coursework centred on Germany 1865 - 1945 - a personal study topic of the student's choice (4,500 words)


Beyond the classroom

Previous activities include trips related to topics in the curriculum.



History shows a range of research skills and the ability to develop reasoned and substantiated arguments. This could help lead to careers such as journalism, law, accountancy, librarianship, museum studies, and teaching.

History provides access to a wide variety of degree courses including history, law, social sciences, English, philosophy and many combined degrees.