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A level

History allows you to explore different aspects of the past, and to learn about influential people, significant conflicts and exciting events. The course focuses on revolution, the collapse of monarchy, and the establishment of new regimes. 

History A level is well-regarded by top universities and employers alike.

NB There are two options for this A level: Germany and Russia. You will choose one of these when you apply online.

Course content

Year 1 course content

Unit 1 

The English Civil War, 1603-1649

This unit considers the causes and events of the English Civil War, culminating in the execution of Charles I in 1649. You will study James I and Charles I, the way in which they governed England, disputes between the monarchy and Parliament, religious and social divisions, and the reasons for the outbreak of Civil War in 1642. 

Unit 2 

Students will opt to study one of the following: 

Option 1: The Russian Revolution, 1917-1929

This unit considers the revolutions of 1917, the consolidation of Bolshevik rule, and Stalin’s rise to power. You will study the causes and events of the revolutions, the establishment of a Communist dictatorship, the Russian Civil War, and the power struggle of the 1920s.


Option 2: The Weimar Republic, 1918-1933

This unit considers the German Revolution of 1918-19 and the establishment of the Weimar Republic. You will study the nature of the revolution, the economic, social, political and cultural developments of the 1920s, and the rise of the Nazi Party. 

Year 2 course content

In the second year of the course, students study the consequences of the events covered in the first year. In addition, they complete a piece of coursework. 

Unit 1 

Monarchy Restored, 1649-1702

Students will consider the events following the English Civil War. You will study the establishment of a Republic under Cromwell, restoration of the monarchy under Charles II, and the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688. 

Unit 2 

Students continue with the option chosen in the first year: 

Option 1: Stalin’s Rule, 1929-1953

This unit considers the nature and impact of Stalin’s rule, including his economic reforms, the Terror, and Russia’s emergence as a superpower following the Second World War.


Option 2: Nazi Germany, 1933-1945

This unit considers the Nazi dictatorship, its racial policies, and its impact on the German population.

Unit 3 

Students will complete a piece of coursework on the causes of the First World War.

You will be examined on both years’ study of Units 1 and 2 at the end of Year 2. This is 80% of the final mark: the coursework is worth 20%.

Is it for me?

You will enjoy and benefit from History if you are interested in:

  • the decline of democracy and the rise of dictatorships
  • causes of prejudice and campaigns for equality
  • the impact of war and the effect of propaganda

and are able to:

  • understand theoretical concepts and examine issues logically and systematically
  • analyse and compare source material
  • express yourself well, both in discussion and on paper
  • carry out independent investigative research, including extensive reading and using the internet.

Special features

Members of the History Department have the opportunity to take part in a number of popular ‘extra’ activities. In the past few years these have included:

  • representing the college in the Lessons from Auschwitz Project
  • historical film showings at the Picturehouse
  • talks by visiting speakers
  • trips to student conferences in London
  • foreign day or residential trips, for example to the Somme, Berlin and Bavaria.

Entry requirements

At least 7 GCSEs at Grade 4 in a range of subjects including Grade 4 in both Maths and English. A Grade 4 or equivalent is required in History if taken at GCSE level.

Examination board: Edexcel

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