A-Level History

History is regarded by employers as an excellent subject for developing analytical ability and the capacity for debate. The subject is highly regarded by admissions tutors for universities, as it equips you with so many transferable skills.

‘I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free’. Abraham Lincoln, 1858.

Entry requirements

Automatic entry onto Level 3 courses includes students achieving 5 x A*-C or equivalent at GCSE alongside a grade 5 or above in both English and Mathematics. Students with either English and/or Mathematics at grade 4 or below will have individual meetings to determine the most suitable pathway within sixth form. 

Course description

The new A-level will follow a linear format. Pupils will study Tudor England 1485-1603 and The American Civil War 1845-1877 for two years. The coursework element to be undertaken in Y13 will be on the topic of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA 1890-1990.

The new A-Level (September 2015 onwards) will consist of three main areas:

  • A breadth study of Tudor England, 1485-1603
  • A depth study of the American Civil War, 1845-1877
  • Non-British Historical Investigation

Each breadth study requires a study of an extended period and will allow students to develop an understanding of change and continuity over time. The Tudor breadth study covers the consolidation of Tudor power under Henry VII following his victory in the War of the Roses, the Reformation in Britain under Henry VIII and the consolidation of Tudor power, the mid-Tudor crisis and the ‘Golden Age’ of Elizabeth as Queen. This is an exciting course that allows pupils to engage with a key period in British History.

The depth study is focussed on a period of major Historical change. This option provides for the study of a period of major change in American history, which saw the disintegration of the country into Civil War, demanding a subsequent reconstruction. Pupils will learn about the causes of tension between the North and South, and the long road toward the Confederacy breaking away from the Union in 1861. Pupils will focus on the two sides at the outbreak of the Civil war and analyse who was better prepared. Pupils will analyse the great battles of the war and evaluate the causes of Northern victory in 1865. Pupils will finish the course by analysing to what extent the period of ‘reconstruction’ in America was successful.

The Historical Investigation requires students to independently research and write a piece of extended writing between 3000 and 3500 words in length. The investigation will draw upon student’s analysis of both primary and secondary source material and will be based around the development of African American Civil Rights in the USA

Exam board

  • AQA

Course code

  • History 7042


This is a two year linear course that will be weighted in the following way:

  • Tudor Breadth study – One Examination 40%
  • America: A Nation Divided, c1845–1877 – One Examination 40%
  • Historical Investigation (coursework) - 20%

Ways to help my child succeed

The course is designed for pupils to use a wide range of knowledge in their answers therefore reflection and revision is vital throughout the two years. As this is advanced level History, pupils will be expected to read around the topic, so support in this area will be vital to their success. In the useful websites section there is a link to the reading materials suggested by the exam board. Please note pupils are not expected to read all of the suggested materials!

Useful websites

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