A-Level History

A-Level History

By studying History, you are able to explore a wide range of topics and periods in English, European and American History. You will also develop knowledge of a wide range of historical perspectives and be able to identify the diversity of society.

By studying A-Level History, you will also be able to explore some of the many events that have shaped the societies, institutions and governments of today.

A-Level History

A specific arrangement of units is required for certification, made up of two AS-Level units and two A2 level units. You will study four units in total and the assessment for A-Level History is by coursework and exams.

Over the course, you will undergo at least 360 guided learning hours over a two-year period. These guided learning hours are levels set by the government on how much time the tutor at your sixth form or college has to be present to give guidance (such as lectures, tutorials etc.) towards your award.

AS-Level History

OCR offers two AS-Level History awards, AS-Level History A and AS-Level History B.

  • OCR AS-Level History A

There are two routes available at AS level, which give you the opportunity to specialise in a period of history.

British History Period Studies offers the opportunity for you to study Medieval and Early Modern 1035 – 1642 or Modern 1783-1994 history. Both of these options explore significant events during these periods of British history. The British History Enquiries offers the choice of Medieval and Early Modern 1066–1660 or Modern 1815–1945.

In European and World History Period Studies, you can study Medieval and Early Modern 1095–1609, or Modern 1795–2003. The European and World History Enquiries unit allows you to choose either Medieval or Early Modern 1073–1555 or Modern 1774–1975.

  • OCR AS-Level History B

You can choose to study the Historical Explanation – British History unit and Using Historical Evidence – British History units together, or the Historical Explanation – Non-British History unit and Using Historical Evidence – Non-British History unit together. This route through AS-Level History allows you to consider theoretical and methodological issues, and then apply them to specific periods in history.

  • AQA AS-Level History

Change and Consolidation allows you to develop understanding of change over time, explore historical perspectives and focus on government responses to change. The Historical Issues: Periods of Change allows you to study significant periods of history in detail.

  • Edexcel AS-Level History

The Historical Themes in Breadth unit allows you to study aspects of the past and you will address two linked themes from a range of perspectives. The British History Depth Studies offers the opportunity for you to explore British History in some depth.

  • WJEC AS-Level History

You will be required to engage in a period study and an in-depth study. If you choose to study a British History topic for your period study, you have to study an in-depth study in European History. The Period study offers the opportunity to study a chronological period of 100 years or more and the in-depth study will allow you to study a much shorter period of history, but in detail.

  • CCEA AS-Level History

The first unit, Historical Investigations and Historical Interpretations will allow you to engage in historical enquiry in a specific theme in British and European history. The Conflict and Change in Europe unit will allow you to study a variety of topics in a broad historical context.

  • University of Cambridge International Examinations AS-Level History

For the award of AS-Level History, you can choose to sit one paper on one of the following topics:

  1.  Modern European History, 1789–1939
  2. Southeast Asia: from Colonies to Nations, 1870–1980
  3. International History, 1945–91
  4. The History of Tropical Africa, 1855–1914
  5. The History of the USA, c. 1840–1968
  6. Caribbean History, 1794–1900.

A2-Level History

The A2 History is the equivalent of the second year of study of A-Level History. This is not a separate award. The A2 –Level History with the AS-Level History makes up the A-Level History.  The A2-Level History will further develop your knowledge from AS-Level History.

  • OCR A2 History A

The first unit, Historical Interpretations and Investigations offers you the chance to study two topics in detail to produce two pieces of coursework. In The Historical Themes unit, you study either Medieval and Early Modern 1066–1715 history, or Modern 1789–1997.

  • OCR A2 History B

You choose two of the following three units to study at A2 level: Historical Controversies- British History unit, Historical Controversies – Non-British History unit or Historical Significance.

  • AQA A2 History

The State and the People: Change and Continuity will build on AS knowledge and focus on relationships between the state and its people. The Historical Enquiry unit offers the opportunity for you to produce a piece of coursework that focuses on understanding change over a 100-year period.

  • Edexcel A2 History

In the first unit, Depth Studies and Associated Historical Controversies you will undertake in-depth study of two subjects from a selection of world history topics. The Historical Enquiry unit will allow you to explore key aspects of a theme of your own choosing over a period of at least 100 years.

  • WJEC A2 History

This builds on your AS knowledge and you will study An Historical Investigation arising from the In-Depth Study unit. This is based on your AS in-depth study and the second unit relates to topics and themes of both your AS in-depth and period study.

  • CCEA A2 History

The unit, Change Over Time offers you the opportunity to study change over a short term and long term period of time. You will need to demonstrate your historical knowledge and understanding by comparing the periods. The Historical Investigations and Interpretations unit will allow you to engage in historical enquiry of a specific period in history.

  • University of Cambridge International Examinations A2 History

You are required to sit a paper for two of the topics below. If you have taken the AS-Level History first, then you choose one additional paper:

  1. 7.      Modern European History, 1789–1939
  2. 8.      Southeast Asia: from Colonies to Nations, 1870–1980
  3. 9.      International History, 1945–91
  4. 10.   The History of Tropical Africa, 1855–1914
  5. 11.   The History of the USA, c. 1840–1968
  6. 12.   Caribbean History, 1794–1900

A-Level History Exam Board Information

  • The specification for the WJEC AS and A-Level History is available here.
  • The CCEA AS-Level and A-Level History specification is available on their website.
  • The Edexcel A-Level History specification is available from their website.
  • The specification for the OCR AS and A-Level History A and History B are available on their website.
  • University of Cambridge International Examinations A-Level History specification is available here.

Career Opportunities

Most people study A-Level History so that they can study History at university. Degree choices may include Ancient History or Modern History. History can also complement a variety of other subjects including politics and other humanities such as Geography, Archaeology and Classical Civilisations.

There are many career opportunities for history, such as working in museums, teaching or excavations. History also has many transferable skills that are useful in any employment or career, including excellent research skills and the ability to take information from many different sources and put this information into context.

Other Useful Information

  • Edexcel past papers and exemplar materials are available on their website.
  • AQA past papers and other resources for A-Level History are available on the AQA website.
  • Past papers and for the CCEA AS and A-Level History are available here.
  • University of Cambridge International Examinations A-Level History question papers are available here.
  • NGfL Cymru have a variety of AS and A2 History resources available.
  • This site offers links to a variety of other History resources.