A / AS Level
2 years

What is AS/A Level History?

When we hear of a major event in the news we are seeing history in the making. What has happened in the past greatly affects all aspects of our lives in the present, and will indeed affect what happens in the future. Historians enquire into the events of the past and attempt to produce an interpretation and reconstruction of it.

We will be concerned with investigating why events happened and their significance, and try to understand the nature of historical evidence by examining documents and materials from the time. We will examine how historians have interpreted events and consider why they often disagree.

Much of the course content will depend upon the period you choose to study. For the AS Level there are three options, you choose the option which you think you will enjoy most.

AS Level Options

Option One: The Sixteenth Century
a) the Mid-Tudor Crisis 1536-1569 - the political, religious, economic and social problems of the period
b) Spain 1469-1556 - the problems facing the rulers of Spain during these years.

Option Two: The Nineteenth Century
a) from Pitt to Peel 1783-1846 – the challenges facing British prime ministers in this period
b) the Origins of the American Civil War 1820-1861 - the growing tension between the Northern and Southern States.

Option Three: The Twentieth Century
a) British Foreign and Imperial Policies 1856-1914 – the principles and issues relating to Britains’s relations with foreign powers

b) Dictatorship and Democracy in Germany 1933-1963 –Changes in Germany; the Weimar Republic, the Nazis and the Federal Republic.

A Level Options

Having successfully completed one of these three options you will have two possible courses in the second year.

Option One: Sixteenth Century England (for those who followed the Sixteenth Century Option in Year 1)
a) England’s Changing Relations with Foreign Powers 1485-1603
b) coursework – you will produce two pieces of work, one focusing on interpretation and the other on investigation– the theme will be the Reign of Elizabeth I.
Option Two: Modern Russia (for those who followed 19th and 20th century options in Year 1)
a) Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964 - An examination of Russian government from the tsars to the communists and its impact on the Russian people and society
b) coursework – You will produce two pieces of work, one focusing on interpretation and the other on investigation. The themes on offer will be Peter the Great and The Origins of Modern Russia, or the Cold War 1941-56. The latter option will be available for students who have studied the nineteenth century (i.e. option 2) at AS level. 

Is History suitable for me?

Students have praised the quality of teaching in History as well as the friendly atmosphere which exists in classes. They like the variety of themes covered as they are able to choose courses which fit with their interests. Most students agree that document work is the most challenging aspect of the course during the first year.

How will I learn?

A variety of approaches will be adopted. You may view artefacts from textbooks or magazines and take notes from a lecturer. You may be exploring documents from the time and using the College's IT resources. There will be regular homework - a student can expect to do 4 to 5 hours of private study each week for AS Levels (largely based on essays and document exercises).

How will I be assessed?

Coursework: Year 1 - 0%; Year 2 - 40% of A2

AS Level will consist of two examinations of 90 minutes, both of equal weight and each contributing 50% of the final grade for the AS Level.

A2 will consist of two pieces of coursework which will contribute 20% to the final grade and a 2 hour examination worth 30% of the final grade.


History is widely respected as a subject which develops your critical skills. You might wish to carry the subject further to degree level but it is also seen as an important stepping stone in to careers in areas such as law, management, journalism and administration.

Entry requirements

Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels. You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.

It is recommended you have achieved a grade C in GCSE History. You must genuinely enjoy reading widely to achieve at this subject.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own textbook, stationery, computer discs or memory sticks and calculators (where appropriate). Any further costs are outlined below:

Essential: £25 for textbooks
Optional: £20 magazine subscriptions

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Course Code