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History - Early Modern A Level at Varndean College

Course description

Taking Early Modern History enables you to investigate some of the most dramatic events, issues and personalities from European and British history.  The course focuses on the 16th and 17th centuries - a period of great change and conflict.

In Year 1 we will develop a detailed understanding of the 17th Century revolution in Britain by focusing on Charles 1st and the origins and course of the Civil Wars, as well as perhaps the most controversial period in our history - our period as a republic under Oliver Cromwell and the restoration of the monarchy under Charles 2nd.  You will also trace the theme of revolution through to 18th Century France.

In the second year you will investigate the phenomenon of the witch hunts in Europe and North America. To what extent was this the result of religious changes during the Reformation and why were the majority of victims women, and why did the hunts come to an end? 


Course content

Year 1             

  • The causes of the Civil Wars and the character of Charles 1st
  • The growth of political and social radicalism e.g. the levellers
  • From Cromwell and the Republic to the Restoration
  • How transformative was the French revolution?
  • Why did a new French constitution emerge?

Year 2 

  • The theological causes of the witch craze – why did people believe in witches?
  • The variation in witch persecution between different countries
  • How historians interpret the causes of the witch craze
  • Coursework: You choose either a question derived from one of the exam topics (Modern or Early Modern) or choose a completely new topic on the Renaissance or causes of the American Civil War.  The choice is yours.

Entry requirements

Standard advanced course requirements.


80% exam, 20% coursework

Future opportunities

Many students go on to degree courses in History, Politics, International Relations and Law. This subject provides useful skills and a recognised academic qualification for a variety of careers

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 24 October 2018
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    • At Varndean College our aim is to offer all our students the rich, broad and enjoyable experience they need to develop, flourish and achieve their goals in the adult world.

      Teaching and Learning is at the heart of the successful partnerships between students and staff here and we are proud of the skilled and imaginative approaches to teaching taken by our staff to make learning exciting.

      Equally important to the success of our students is the enjoyment they gain from feeling part of a community: a community that is created through the wealth of opportunities to engage with others offered by our extensive enrichment activities. From: Code-breaking to Sport; Music to Peer-mentoring; Drama to Politics Society, there really is something for everyone.