A-Level History

So by this stage, you clearly love History as much as we do, so not only are making the sensible decision to take it for A-Level, but are considering the possibility of making the best decision ever and studying it at University. But before you get there, have a browse of our course content and fall in love with the past just one more time!

A Level History is a challenging and fascinating course.  You will study four modules, based on British and European History ranging from the 15th century to 20th.

Two teachers and a range of study techniques make the History lessons varied and exciting.  You will build on the essential skills of essay writing and source analysis that have already been developed at GCSE.  You will also carry out independent research, take part in presentations and debates, contribute to discussions and watch videos.

Unit 1     England 1445–1509: Lancastrians, Yorkists and Henry VII

A period of tyrannical rulers, complex political machinations, love affairs and leaders’ blood spilled both literally and metaphorically.  The inspiration for Game of Thrones comes to life in the classroom as you work out how power switched back and forth between two waging families.

Unit 2     The Unification of Italy 1789-1896

Garibaldi?  The downfall of the Bourbons?  No, not biscuits, this is the riveting story of a nation’s desire to unite under one banner. Italy was in 1815, as Metternich’s claims, ‘A geographical expression’. 60 years later, after bloodshed and political intrigue, it was a unified state. How? Why? This course looks to address the issues and complexities surrounding the Risorgimento.

Unit 3     Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964

“Assassinated, died, murdered, heart attack, suspected poisoned, removed” may not have the same ring as “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived” but the actions and fate of Russia’s rulers in this period is every bit as absorbing. This is a thematic unit in which students examine the reasons for and consequences of change and continuity in Tsarist and Communist Russia.

Unit 4     Historical Investigations

Students are able to complete a historical Investigation based on an area of interest to the students.  In previous years these have been as diverse as the abolition of slavery, the Spanish Civil War and Bloody Sunday.

Examination board:  

OCR A (H505)


Linear Assessment at the end of TWO years of study:

Y135 – Wars of the Roses – 1 hour 30 minute paper (25%)

Y215 – Italian Unification – 1 hour paper (15%)

Y318 – Russia and its rulers – 2 hour 30 minute paper (40%)

Y100 – Coursework – internally assess and externally moderated (20%)

Enrichment Opportunities

We normally look to attend academic conferences relevant to the course materials and as well as our work with Reading University to further expand our provision of excellence within the subject. We regularly go the annual Stenton lecture held at the university every year as well as other chances to attend Historical Association events. The department also offers a range of academic articles and extended reading materials to those wishing to develop their reading.