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History A-level

Studying history is a fantastic choice if you are interested in the values, events and ideas that underpin our world today. Over two years, you will look in-depth at the tumultuous War of the Roses, overview the great story that is Germany from 1871 to 1991, and unwrap the saga of modern Russia.

During this History A-level programme, you will study two core areas; one in breadth and one in-depth:

The depth study concerns British history and focuses on the War of The Roses and Henry VII (1450 – 1499). This is an exciting period of history as proven by its inspiration of Game of Thrones as well as prominent authors such as Phillipa Gregory and Conn Iggulden.

The breadth study will look at the history of Germany between 1871 and 1991. From Bismarck, to Weimar through Hitler and the Cold War to the fall of the wall, this module goes far beyond the traditional scope of obsessing Nazi Germany that dominates many other history curricula. This wider focus will enable you to consider individuals, ideas and events in an entirely new context! In many ways, the history of Germany is a microcosm for the historical ideas of the modern world.

In addition, Soviet Russia and will be the inspiration for the coursework based historical investigation and you will also be given the opportunity to focus on an area of personal interest for your coursework. The politics of the Soviet Union and Modern Germany dovetail very well to explain much of the world in which we live today. We also have specialist teachers in Ancient History so you could look at this for your coursework.

The second year recovers the content of the first year and expands the period being looked at. The expectation is that with another year of experience, you will be able to build on existing knowledge and develop superior analytical skills.

Depth study – British History: War of the Roses and Henry VII (1450-1499)
Breadth Study – European History: The quest for political stability; Germany 1871 – 1991
Historical Investigation: Soviet Russia, or areas of personal interest (by negotiation).

Apply for this course

Sep 2022 : North Devon : Full-time
Course Code : FTB021 (2022)
Level : Level 3
Duration : 2 Years
North Devon campus Apply

Course details


In the second year, students will sit two 2.5 hour exams. One on War of the Roses and one on Germany. The historical investigation will take the form of a 3500-word essay written over the Soviet Russia is the default topic for this but there is the opportunity for a student to pursue another area of history if they are passionate about it.

In-year assessments will take a similar form to those required by the examination.

Entry Requirements

To be accepted onto a Level 3 programme, you must hold at least five GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including GCSE Maths and English language.

You do not need to have undertaken History GCSE, but if you have done, you will be required to have achieved a minimum grade 4.


Many students progress to university degree courses in History or joint degrees with another subject, including the new Foundation Degree in History with English at Petroc.

The high-level skills of analysis and evaluation you’ll develop are in great demand by all leading professions and employers. History can lead to a range of professional careers and disciplines, including journalism, archaeology, law, business, teaching, management, librarianship and information science.

Many leaders in industry, politics and even the armed forces have come from a background in history given the way it helps us understand the world!

Facilities and resources

A range of books and study pamphlets will be provided. In class, we use a range of teaching and interactive learning techniques including visual, written and discussion work. Students may have the opportunity to become involved in study visits – usually to Berlin – and are able to attend revision conferences, which are usually in London.


Q: Do I need History GCSE?

A: Categorically not! History is a skill, not knowledge. If you didn’t take it at GCSE it could still be a wise choice at A-level. If you have the entry requirements and desire then you will do fine.

Q: What other courses go well with History?

A: Works well in developing the key skills needed for most A-levels, in particular English Literature, Classical Civilisation, Geography, English Language, Economics, Law, Politics, Psychology, Sociology.

Q: Is there a lot of homework and reading?

A: Yes. Students will be set a lot of background reading and research-based homework, and self-directed study is encouraged so that in lectures there can be a great emphasis on interactive learning, discussion and debates. Students are also given the opportunity to run debates, presentations and gain experience themselves in using the interactive whiteboard and online resources.

Q: Isn’t history just dates and old men who don’t matter anymore?

A: Not in any way. History is a constantly changing discipline. Views are challenged over time and just memorising information isn’t enough. History is the art of debating the ideas, events and people that shaped past societies. Through doing this, we can build a stronger understanding of our world today.

Q: Do I need to have studied the selected topics before?

A: No you don’t. Everything we do will be taught from scratch and doesn’t require prior knowledge. Being informed is great and we would always encourage people to read ahead… however, if you haven’t heard of the topics before, don’t worry; it’s an opportunity to learn about new times, places and people!

Study Programme

Every full-time student at Petroc will have their own Study Programme which will include:

– Your academic or vocational qualification.

– Maths and English Language development – if you have not achieved GCSE grade 4 in either of these subjects.

– Work Experience – hours will vary depending on your qualification and course level.

– Tutor Support – to support your personal, academic and professional development.

– Sustainability – helping you to identify how you can improve the sustainability of your future employment sectors.

– Personal Development Awards – developing six key areas of personal and employability behaviours to prepare you for the working world.

Apply for this course

Staring Date : 12/09/2022
Course Code : FTB021 (2022) North Devon campus Apply

Why Petroc should be your first choice

Petroc offers high quality education and training across North and Mid Devon. We provide outstanding learning, excellent facilities, strong connections to employers and a supportive environment to help you fulfil your education goals and set you on your path to the career of your dreams.

Photo by Guy Harrop. Pic of Petroc college students, Devon

image copyright guy harrop
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We offer a supportive and inclusive environment where you can flourish and feel a valued member of the college and wider community. 


Our teaching spaces and facilities are some of the best in the region, providing stimulating and true-to-life learning environments. 


We’ll provide you with the experiences you need to be ready for employment or the next step on your educational journey.

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