Course overview

History A Level City of Bristol College

A Level History covers depth and breadth studies of periods of time to develop your understanding of society and the world, as well as valuable skills for life including analysis, research, communication and problem-solving.

This course is an option within our humanities and social science A Level pathways.

  • Humanities Pathway course code: ALHUM
  • Social Science Pathway course code: ALSOCIALSCI

Find out more about our A Level pathways and how to apply

Additional information

Who is this course for?

This course is for students who are interested in History.


What you'll learn

Component 1 – Tsarist and Communist Russia 1855 – 1964

This is a breadth study which examines political, economic, social and cultural change in Russia over a long period of time. It takes us from the Russia of the Tsars, to the dramatic revolutions of 1905 and 1917 which topple the autocracy amidst the destruction of WWI.

We then look at the attempts to build a communist society under Lenin and the Bolsheviks and how these early utopian aspirations are crushed as Stalin consolidates his grip on power. Finally, we look at how Stalin was able to defeat the attack on Russia by Nazi Germany in WWII and then how Krushchev sought to reform the Soviet system during the Cold War.

This unit has a focus on historical interpretations – the differing judgements that historians draw about the past. For this unit, you will have a two-hour and thirty-minute long examination, making up 40% of your overall A Level grade.

Component 2 – The Making of Modern Britain 1951 – 2007

Component 2 explores the making of Modern Britain 1951 – 2007. This is an in-depth study that takes a detailed look at Britain’s post-war history, focusing on political, economic, social and cultural events, in addition to British foreign policy. This unit focuses on how historians use contemporary sources to build their understanding of the past.

Component 3 – Assessment and Essay

Component 3 is a non-examined assessment: a 3500-word essay on a topic of your choosing.

This requires you to independently research and then write an extended essay about an issue or development that takes place over roughly one hundred years.

Course entry requirements

A minimum of 5 GCSEs at Grade 4 or above, including both Maths and English.

Grade 6 in History or English language.

You will provide a copy of your last school report and/or a reference from an employer or relevant professional, including attendance. This is to ensure that we can support you to be able to achieve well on the course.

Applicants with 85% or below attendance will have been deemed not to have met this criteria.

All applicants are given an opportunity to discuss any evidence-based mitigating circumstances that may have affected the reference/school report.

How is the course delivered and assessed?

This classroom-based course is assessed by two examinations and one essay.

Future career and study opportunities

Universities recognise A Level History as a good academic qualification. It provides valuable preparation for  degrees in History, Law and many others.

Additional costs

This course is free to anyone aged 16-18. There is no formal list of additional costs. However, if you are on a limited income, you may be eligible to receive help with these costs from our Learner Support Funding Bursary.

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