fb-pixel A Level History | Co-ed 13-18 Sixth Form London | Mill Hill Schools


Why Study History?

Pupils who choose History as one of their A-levels normally do so because they enjoy the subject and have a natural curiosity about the past. The study of history is both interesting and intellectually rigorous. It develops the skills of research, assimilation, comprehension and the analysis of a wide range of material, formulation of a reasoned interpretation and the development of an ability to communicate clear and coherent judgement. Consequently historians are to be found in a wide range of professions because of the general intellectual training the subject offers.

Entry requirements

6 in GCSE History and English Language.

Course Outline

The A-level course comprises three examined units and a topic-based individual essay (coursework) unit.

Unit 1: A British Period Study with an Enquiry Topic: The Mid-Tudor Crises 1547-1558 and Elizabethan England 1558-1603

The Period Study is an essay-based course covering the political dynamics of the Elizabethan monarchy, including the roles of the Court, Privy Council and Parliament; the Elizabethan religious settlement, the Puritan challenge and Catholic threats; Marriage and Succession; the threat of Mary Queen of Scots, the Northern Rebellion and Foreign Policy.

The Enquiry Topic is a source-based study which covers the stability of the monarchy under Edward VI and Mary Tudor focusing of issues of age and gender, religious changes leading to unrest and persecution, and the causes and nature of the rebellions of 1549 (Western and Kett), 1553 (Lady Jane Grey) and 1554 (Wyatt).

The examination is 1 hour 30 minutes and is worth 25% of the total A-level.

Unit 2: A European Period Study: Russia 1894-1941

This Period Study covers the rule of Tsar Nicholas II, the causes and events of the 1917 Revolutions, the Bolshevik consolidation of power under the leadership of Lenin, and the rise to power and rule of Stalin. The examination is 1 hour and is worth 15% of the total A-level.

Unit 3: A Thematic Study and Historical Interpretations: Civil Rights in the USA 1865-1992

This unit focuses on the struggle of citizens in the US to gain equality before the law without regard to ethnic origin, gender or wealth. Candidates will study the main developments and turning points relevant to the theme such as the role of African Americans in gaining civil rights, the changing status of Native Americans and the various campaigns for women’s rights.

Three in-depth studies of Civil Rights in the ‘Gilded Age’ 1875-1985, the New Deal and Civil Rights, and Malcolm X and Black Power will examine the debates and interpretations surrounding these topics.
The examination is 2 hours 30 minutes and is worth 40% of the total A-level.

A Topic-based Essay of 3000-4000 words

This essay may arise from content studied elsewhere in the course or be on a topic of the pupil’s choice. The essay is worth 20% of the total A-level.

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

History can be studied as a single honours degree, including Ancient and Modern or easily combined with a number of other subjects. Many Millhillians have gone on to study History or courses such as History and Politics, History of Art, Economic History, and even History and Law. The study of history develops an array of skills including independent critical thinking, analysis of a range of data, the ability to process and synthesise vast amounts of information, all of which are crucial in the world of work. The ability to analyse and then prioritise information is vital to decision making. If studied at an esteemed university, a degree in History can be an impressive and attractive feature on a CV. Graduate prospects in the Top 10 UK universities for History are generally high. Studying History provides a pupil with transferable skills which are invaluable in many jobs. The intellectual training involved in studying History means that after graduating, History pupils go on forge a wide range of careers in academia, research, the civil service, politics, journalism, consultancy, banking, business, PR, marketing, retail, accountancy and more. Many pupils intending to pursue a career in the legal profession undertake a History degree before taking a law conversion course.