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History A level (option: Power & Belief) at Esher College

Course description

The course explores the causes and impact of new religious and secular ideas in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It investigates the witch craze in England, Europe and North America up to the eighteenth century. It also studies the rise and fall of royal power and changes in religion in early modern English society, and the emergence of the Nation State. By studying History you learn about influential people and events in the past that have shaped the world in important ways, as well as the political and cultural ideas and religious beliefs that have shaped their decisions and actions.

A wide range of skills are developed during the study of history including processing and analysing information, evaluating evidence, research and investigation. You will learn to argue effectively and intelligently, while empathising with and understanding the context of the lives of people in the past. You also learn about how to find things out and how to evaluate and criticise arguments, interpretations and ideas.

Course content

In the first year you will study: the reigns of Henry VIII and his children, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth. You will also look in depth at the causes of the German Reformation, the ideas of Luther and expansion of Lutheranism, 1517-1555.

In the second year you will study: the witch craze in Britain, Europe and North America, c1580-c1750, considering the reasons for widespread belief in witches and the nature of witchcraft accusations. For coursework you will research historical interpretations on Oliver Cromwell, who helped make England a republic and ruled as Lord Protector from 1653 to 1658 after the execution of King Charles I. 

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement for study at Esher College is 5 GCSEs at A* - C (or 9 – 4 in Maths and English).  We encourage students to aim significantly higher than this to ensure that study programmes are successfully completed.

Aside from the general entry criteria that the College requires, you will also need to achieve at least a Grade 4 in GCSE English Language and a grade C in History.

You may still be accepted if you did not study History for GCSE provided you can show evidence of good academic achievement in other subjects. 

If you do not have a grade 4 in either GCSE English Language or Maths and you qualify to follow a study programme at the College, you will be required to retake one or both of these subjects in your first year.  A lack of GCSE English Language at grade 4 will significantly restrict study programme options.


Assessment is 80% by examination and 20% by coursework, which is written in the second year. 

Future opportunities

History is excellent preparation for a large variety of degree courses, including History, Law, English, and Politics. A very wide range of career options are open to history students including Journalism and the Media, Publishing, the Civil Service, Local Government, Education, Business (manufacturing, retailing and other services), the Armed Forces and many other opportunities. Studying history broadens the mind and gives you valuable research, communication and analytical skills which employers and universities really value.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Esher College directly.

Last updated date: 12 October 2016
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