History Edexcel

History is very well respected by traditional universities. History courses enable you to have an understanding of the world around you; you can formulate discussion and solutions to almost every aspect of the past. It also develops your skills of argumentation and analysis, which are very important skills in any professional job.

Students who study History are looked upon very favourably by the best universities. It is an important choice for students who are considering a job in Law. Other jobs that History courses lead to are: media, journalism, working for the government, forensic science, medicine, Civil Service, teaching, banking – amongst many others.

Entry requirements

A grade 5 or above in GCSE English is essential. It is also preferred, although not essential, to have studied History at GCSE. 

Course structure

The specification is based upon the completion of 2 units in the first year for the AS and 2 units for the following year to upgrade to an A2 level. 

Course content


Unit 1: The American Dream: USA, 1917-1996

This unit focuses on an important period of change in the 20th century, looking at the themes of: government, civil rights, culture and the economy. The changes that America underwent throughout the century help students to develop a rich understanding of the modern world. There is also a focus on historical interpretations and how/why historians differ in opinion over the presidency of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s – a president’s whose policies continue to shape the world we live in for better or worse.

Unit 2: India, 1914-1948: The Road to Independence

This unit is concerned with the theory and critical use of historical evidence. It looks at the rule of India by the British Empire and the reasons why this ended, analysing in particular the role of Ghandi and his campaigns of nonviolent resistance, as well as Jinnah and his call for a separate state for the Muslim population which would become Pakistan.

At A2, students will have two more units in Year 13:

Unit 3:            Rebellion and disorder under the Tudors, 1485–1603

This unit covers the enormous political and religious change in England which still affects our society today. The paper covers the formation of our modern state - with the Church of England created, with the government becoming more centralised and extensive, with Parliament becoming more important. The course tracks the fortunes of the Tudors from Henry VII's accession at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, right through to the death of the last of the dynasty Elizabeth I. Discussion, debate, analytical thinking and essay writing are all skills developed by year 13 students who study this fascinating course.

Unit 4: Coursework on any aspect of 20th century US History

Students are encouraged to pick a topic of particular interest from Year 12 and devise their own question. They must produce a 3000 word essay which focuses on the work of three professional historians and their different interpretations of a historical debate. Recent topics have included the civil rights movement, protests against the Vietnam War and the Cuban Missile Crisis.


How is the course taught?

Your lessons will involve a variety of teaching and learning methods ranging from individual written work and note taking to group work, role plays and seminars. If you have an enquiring mind, enjoy reading, debating, essay writing and finding out about the past, then this course is for you.


AS = 1 x 2hr 15min paper (USA) and 1 x 1hr 30min paper (India) in May/June of Year 12 

A2 = 1 x 2hr 15min paper (USA); 1 x 1hr 30min paper (India); 1 x 2hr 15min paper (Tudors); Coursework submitted by Easter.

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