Whilst historical events may be fixed in the past, the study of History requires you to question how historical narratives have been constructed. Asking searching questions about interpretations of the past is a quest that rarely results in definitive answers, and it is this which makes the study of History not only a challenge, but an absorbing and exciting process!
Alongside deepening your existing interest in the study of the past, History A Level will teach you to think in a very particular way. Through working with evidence and examining differing opinions about the past, as well as analysing the trajectory of events, whilst also assessing the human aspect of these moments, you will develop a range of skills as you seek to explain not just how events happen, but why.
The minimum requirement is a grade 6 in History GCSE (and at least a grade 6 in both English Language and English Literature GCSE).
The following Edexcel options are studied:
This option comprises a study in breadth in which students will learn about the key political, social and economic features of Tudor England from the accession of Henry VIII to the death of Elizabeth I, an era of decisive change for the English state and church. The focus of study is on developments and changes over a broad timescale and so the content is presented as themes spanning a significant duration: 1509–1588. This option also contains a study in depth of historical interpretations on a broad question that is contextualised by, and runs on from, the themes: whether there was a general crisis of government in the last years of Elizabeth I’s reign, 1589–1603.
This option comprises a study in depth of Luther’s challenge to the Catholic Church, the development of a separate Lutheran Church within the German states, and the response of Empire and the papacy to this challenge to 1555. This would cause a fracture in the religious unity of western Christianity, which would, in time, spread through Europe and beyond. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of Luther’s religious protests and the involvement of secular and religious leaders in driving, and resisting, religious and political change in the German states in this period.
This option comprises two parts: the aspects in breadth focus on long-term changes and contextualise the aspects in depth, which focus in detail on key episodes. Together, the breadth and depth topics explore the relationship between authority and mass agitation in England, the struggle for greater representation in England, and the ways in which the interests and concerns of individuals in society could make themselves known. Within the primarily political focus, this option also gives students the opportunity to explore the economic and social contexts and their influence on developments and on the pressures for change.
The purpose of this coursework is to enable students to develop skills in the analysis and evaluation of interpretations of history in a chosen question, problem or issue as part of an independently researched assignment. The focus is on understanding the nature and purpose of the work of the historian. Students will be required to form a critical view based on relevant reading on the question, problem or issue. They will also be specifically required to analyse, explain and evaluate the interpretations of three historians.
A Level History is highly respected by universities and employers as it demonstrates the ability to not only process large volumes of information but to also analyse and critically evaluate. The writing skills developed throughout the course are also invaluable. History A Level is normally specified as a requirement for studying History at university. A History degree is an excellent course choice due to the sought after range of transferable skills which you will develop. As such, a History degree can lead to a wide variety of careers including Academia, Archaeology and curation, International Relations, Law, Marketing, Politics and Teaching, to name but a few.