Exam Board: AQA


The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Help students understand the significance of historical events, the role of individuals in history and the nature of change over time.
  • Help students gain a deeper understanding of the past through political, social, economic and cultural perspectives.
  • Provide students with the knowledge and skills required to succeed as AS and A Level historians.

Entry Requirements

Students should have Grade 4 or higher in GCSE English. Ideally students will have achieved Grade 4 or higher in GCSE History, but well-motivated and capable students who have not studied history at GCSE will be able to succeed on this course.

Students must be prepared to undertake significant reading and be willing, and able, to write at some length.

Course Structure

The topics and key areas covered during the course are as follows:

The Making of Modern Britain, 1951-2007

We will study in depth the key political, economic, social and international changes which helped to mould Britain in the second half of the 20th Century. We will explore concepts such as government and opposition, class, social division and cultural change. This course encourages students to reflect on Britain’s changing place in the world as well as the inter-relationship between political policies, economic developments and political survival.

1H Tsarist and Communist Russia, 1855–1964

Students will study in breadth issues of change, continuity, cause and consequence in this period through the following key questions:

  • How was Russia governed and how did political authority change and develop?
  • Why did opposition develop and how effective was it?
  • How and with what results did the economy develop and change?
  • What was the extent of social and cultural change?
  • How important were ideas and ideology?
  • How important was the role of individuals and groups and how were they affected by developments?


There are two examinations, each lasting 2.5 hours, worth 80 marks apiece. In addition, students will submit a 3,500 word personal research paper worth 40 marks.

The personal research paper covers an analysis of hundred years of history on a topic negotiated between the teacher and the student; the work will be questioning, will examine an issue of controversy between historians, and will, involve the scrutiny and deployment of primary evidence. The personal study will be rigorous with a full bibliography and written in the appropriate academic style.

Core Text

2S The Making of Modern Britain, 1951-2007
Authors: J M A Hugh. Series editor: Sally Waller
Publisher: Oxford University Press (including Nelson Thornes)
ISBN-13: 978-0-1983-5464-2

1H Tsarist and Communist Russia, 1855-1964
Authors: Chris Corin, Terry Fiehn
Publisher: Hodder Education
ISBN-13: 978-1-4718-3780-7

Careers and Opportunities

A significant number of students studying History at undergraduate degree level enter the legal profession, where their analytical and critical reasoning skills are highly valued, as well as library, information and archivist careers, where their research expertise and ability to select, manage and organise information comes to the fore.

Other career options include politics, publishing, journalism, media and writing in all its forms, together with business and commerce, public sector administration and the charity and voluntary sectors.