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History A Level at PETROC

Course description

Studying history is a fantastic choice if you are interested in the values, events and ideas that underpin our world today. Over two years, you will look in depth at the tumultuous War of the Roses, overview the great story that is Germany from 1871 to 1991 and unwrap the saga of modern Russia.

Course content

At AS and A2 you will study two core areas. One in breadth and one in depth. At A2 there will also be an extended historical investigation. The depth study concerns British history and focusses on the War of The Roses and Henry VII (1450-1499). This is an exciting period of history as proven by its inspiration of Game of Thrones as well as prominent authors such as Phillipa Gregory and Conn Iggulden.

The breadth study will look at the history of Germany between 1871 and 1991. From Bismarck, to Weimar through Hitler and the Cold War to the fall of the wall... this module goes far beyond the traditional scope of obsessing Nazi Germany that dominates many other history curricula. This wider focus will enable students to consider individuals, ideas and events in an entirely new context!

In addition, Soviet Russia will be the inspiration for part of the A2 historical investigation and students will also be given the opportunity to focus an area of personal interest for their coursework. The politics of the Soviet Union and Modern Germany dovetail very well to explain much of the world in which we live today.

A2 recovers the content of AS and expands the period being looked at. The expectation is that with another year of experience students will be able to build on existing knowledge and develop superior analytical skills.

Depth study ' British History:

AS: War of the Roses (1450-1471)
A2: War of the Roses and Henry VII (1450-1499)

Breadth Study ' European History:
AS: The quest for political stability: Germany 1871- 1929
A2: Germany 1871-1991

Historical Investigation:
A2: Soviet Russia
A2: Areas of personal interest

Entry requirements

To be accepted onto a two-year A Level programme, all entrants must hold at least a grade 5 in GCSE Maths and a grade 5 in GCSE English Language, as well as at least 3 other GCSEs at grade C or above. Certain subjects require a minimum of GCSE grade B; these are detailed in this prospectus and on the Petroc website.
Continuation onto Year 2 of the A2 programme will be dependent on achieving at least a grade D at AS in the subjects being continued to A2.


At AS students will sit two 1.5 hour exams. One on War of the Roses and one on Germany. There is an emphasis on source analysis within War of the Roses and Historiography within Germany.

At A2 students will sit two 2.5 hour exams. One on War of the Roses and one on Germany. The historical investigation will take the form of a 3500 word essay written over the course of the A2 year. Soviet Russia is the default topic for this but there is the opportunity for a student to pursue another area of history if they are passionate about it.

Financial information

Students will need to buy some textbooks, a range of other books and study pamphlets will be provided. In classes we use a range of teaching and interactive learning techniques including visual, written and discussion work. Students may have the opportunity to become involved in study visits - usually to Berlin - and are able to attend revision conferences, which are usually in London.

Future opportunities

Many students progress to university degree courses in History or joint degrees with another subject, including the new Foundation Degree in History with English at Petroc. The high-level skills of analysis and evaluation you'll develop are in great demand by all leading professions and employers.

History can lead to a range of professional careers and disciplines, including journalism, archaeology, law, business, teaching, management, librarianship and information science. Many leaders in industry, politics and even the armed forces have come from a background in history given the way it helps us understand the world!

Further information

Q. What other courses go well with History?
A. Works well in developing the key skills needed for most A Levels, in particular English Literature, English Language, Law, Government & Politics, Psychology, Sociology. 

Q. Is there a lot of homework and reading?
A. Yes! Students will be set a lot of background reading and research based homework and self directed study is encouraged, so that in lectures there can be a great emphasis on interactive learning, discussion and debates. Students are also given the opportunity to run debates, presentations and gain experience themselves in using the interactive whiteboard and online resources.

Q. Isn't history just dates and old men who don't matter anymore?
A. Not in anyway. History is a constantly changing discipline. Views are challenged over time and just memorising information isn't enough. History is the art of debating the ideas, events and people that shaped past societies. Through doing this we can build a stronger understanding of our world today.

Q. Do I need to have studied the selected topics before?
A. No you don't. Everything we do will be taught from scratch and doesn't require prior knowledge. Being informed is great and we would always encourage people to read ahead... however, if you haven't heard of the topics before don't worry. It's an opportunity to learn about new times, places and people!

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 17 February 2017

Key information