Subject Area: Humanities
Level: TWO-YEAR A Level
Exam Board: AQA
Previous study of GCSE History is not essential. Students must have grade 4 or above in GCSE English and grade 4 or above in GCSE History, if taken.
What will I study?
A level History is a popular subject at Notre Dame, and is well regarded by both universities and prospective employers. The two year course covers a variety of periods and themes, giving students a breadth of historical understanding. It also enables them to develop their skills in essay writing, critical thinking, and analysis of both primary and secondary sources. Students are encouraged to read widely, making full use of the resources within the department and the college library.
FIRST YEAR OF A LEVEL
Tudor England (1485-1547): You will investigate the reigns of Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII, focusing on the way in which they governed England, their foreign policy – especially relations with France and Spain – and the role of religion, focusing especially on disputes between Catholics and Protestants.
The Cold War (1945-1963): This module goes into depth about the origins of tension between the USA and the USSR. You will cover the growth of the nuclear arms race, as well as investigating key events including the Berlin Blockade, the construction of the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
SECOND YEAR OF A LEVEL
Tudor England (1547-1603): This unit focuses on the reigns of Henry VIII’s children: Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. You will learn about the burning of Protestants during Mary’s reign, the Spanish Armada, and the relationship between Elizabeth and her ministers.
The Cold War (1963-1990): This module gives you the opportunity to examine the Vietnam War, the period of
Détente between the USA and the USSR, and the reasons why the Cold War came to an end. Key personalities studied include President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.
Coursework: Civil rights and race relations in the USA (1865- 1980). You will write an extended essay investigating which factors made the biggest difference in helping African Americans to gain civil rights in the USA. You will study key figures such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, President Johnson, and Rosa Parks.
History helps you to develop your powers of analysis and ability to argue a case, using a range of detailed evidence. As a result, this subject is well-regarded by universities, and is very useful if your intended degree course is History, Law, or Politics. Over the last few years, many of our history students have gone on to study the subject at degree level, including a number at Oxbridge or Russell group universities.
History is also well-respected by employers, with relevant career sectors including journalism, teaching, the law, and the civil service.