History is the study of the past – of its successes and failures, of great men and women, of the illiterate or disenfranchised, of decline and fall, of unrest, upheaval, change, progress, and tragedy. It is the study of facts, falsehoods, propaganda, and statistics, and is a subject which generates fiery debate, as those who practice it quest for the truth about what really happened, and what this tells us about who we are today.

The course and its structure

The History A-Level comprises four parts. Unit 1 explores change and consolidation within a particular country (or geographical area) over fifty or more years. The exact period of history to be studied will be chosen by the Faculty Leader with consideration of the upcoming cohort and their interests, but may be ‘France in Revolution, 1774-1815’ or ‘Britain, 1906-1951’. Unit 2 concerns particular historical ‘issues’, which will be studied in considerable depth. Examples include ‘Britain and Appeasement of Germany, 1919-1940’, or ‘The USA and Vietnam, 1961-1975’.

For A2 you will study two more parts. For Unit 3 you will investigate the relationship between the state and the people, with possible papers including ‘Aspects of International Relations, 1945-2004’ and ‘Triumph and Collapse: Russia and the USSR, 1941-1991’. Finally, Unit 4 is a coursework assessment, which will ask you to examine changes occurring to a particular theme over a period of at least 100 years. You will also be asked to consider how the opinion of historians towards this theme has developed over time. This Unit will require you to work with a range of sources, such as books, biographies, newspapers, films, TV programmes, cartoons, and the internet.


History is available to all students at the Academy. The Academy’s general entry criteria apply.

Where will History
take me?

History teaches rigorous skills in research, self-study, critical analysis, organising material, and communicating arguments in a coherent and well-structured manner. For these reasons it is a highly respected subject, and valued across a wide range of professions, including law, journalism, politics, the civil service, publishing, and the charity sector. It is also highly useful for careers as an archivist, librarian, or museum curator.

In terms of university entry, an A Level in history is essential for students wishing to study history at undergraduate level, and is useful for supporting applications to study politics, economics, history of art, law, and archaeology.