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History A Level at St Angela's Ursuline School

Course description

The aim of the course is to develop the students’ skills as a historian including analysis of source material to produce judgements and the ability to research and develop a comprehensive historical argument on a given topic. The course combines a study of British, European and American History from the 17th to the 21st century. Students will complete 3 units during Years 12 and 13, and an historical enquiry, so as to achieve an A level qualification, whilst also having the option to complete an AS level at the end of year 12.

Course content

In the twentieth century, liberal democracies came under increasing challenge from both within and without. The options in Route H - Democracies in change: Britain and the USA in the twentieth century - allow students to understand the nature, and effectiveness, of the response to these challenges. Studying two different countries allows students to develop a greater understanding of the challenges experienced by Britain and the USA, and of the contrasts and similarities in the responses.

Entry requirements

It is preferred that students have GCSE History grade B or above, however students who have grade B or above in English are considered for the course. This is imperative in order for students to have the writing and analytical skills necessary for the demands of the course. It is important that students are interested in History and are willing to undertake the reading and research required for success in this subject.


Students will cover 3 units of study during Years 12 and 13 in addition to completing an historical enquiry

Paper 1: Britain transformed, 1918–97
This option comprises a study in breadth, in which students will learn about the extent to which Britain was transformed politically, socially, economically and culturally in the years 1918–79. They will consider responses to the challenges of war, fluctuations in the economy, technological advancement and the desire for greater social equality. The focus of study is on developments and changes over a broad timescale and so the content is presented as themes spanning 1918–79. This option also contains an in depth study of historical interpretations on a broad question, which is contextualised by, and runs on from, the themes: what impact Thatcher’s governments had on Britain, 1979–97.

Paper 2: The USA, c1920–55: boom, bust and recovery
This option comprises an in depth study of economic and social change in the USA from the post-war boom of the 1920s, through depression, recovery and war, to the transformation of many aspects of US society in the years immediately after 1945. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of economic change and its longterm effects, the growing demands by black Americans for social equality, and the cultural changes driven by individuals and by technological change.

Paper 3: Britain: losing and gaining an empire, 1763–1914
This option comprises two parts: the Aspects in breadth focus on long-term changes and contextualise the Aspects in depth, which focus in detail on key episodes. Together, the breadth and depth topics explore the development of the British Empire and the part played in this by the Royal Navy and merchant marine. Looking at social, economic and political issues, students will study a series of developments that started with an imperial catastrophe which threatened to reduce Britain once more to a European offshore island, but would then transform Britain’s standing in the world so that by the end of the period it had the largest empire the world has known.

A Historical Investigation: The Civil Rights Movement in America, 1865 – 1968
The purpose of this coursework is to enable students to develop skills in the analysis and evaluation of interpretations of history in a chosen question, problem or issue as part of an independently researched assignment. The focus is on understanding the nature and purpose of the work of the historian. Students will be required to form a critical view based on relevant reading on the question, problem or issue. They will also be specifically required to analyse, explain and evaluate the interpretations of three historians.

Future opportunities

History at A Level is extremely worthwhile, as it provides students with a depth of knowledge and understanding of the pretext for today’s political and cultural environment. It teaches the students the ability to analyse information, to weigh up evidence and evaluate and communicate complex ideas. These skills are recognised and valued by employers and universities. A degree in History is an obvious progression but students with A Level History will find many routes open to them especially in law, business, social sciences and media.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Angela's Ursuline School directly.

Last updated date: 15 March 2017
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