We offer you a choice of three different, equally exciting, A-level History Courses! Greek and Romans? Crusades, Tudors and Voyages of Discovery? Or British Empire, Cold War and Women’s Modern History? The choice is yours!

Which History is right for you?

Ancient History A-level

Greek History – 5th Century BC

Roman History,
Roman emperors from Augustus to Domitian

100% examined
0% coursework

Medieval and Tudor History A-level

c. 1071-1204

The Tudors and Religious Conflict
c. 1529-1570

Exploration and Discovery
c. 1445-1545
(coursework module)

80% examined
20% coursework

Modern History A-level

The British Empire,

The Cold War,

The changing position of women 1789-1890 (coursework module)

80% examined
20% coursework

Interested in History?

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A chance to study historical topics beyond the A Level History curriculum through a series of talks, discussions and videos. Mostly focusing on the protest movements and domestic political issues of 1950s/60s America including the African-American Civil Rights movement.
Topics may vary from year to year and there is even an opportunity for you to present something of interest to you. It is a 1 year course, there is no formal assessment and you do not even need to take History to study it

Whether studying an ancient Roman document, or the very latest developments in Politics, our students become highly skilled in analysing information and making connections. In presenting a case for a particular understanding of an historical period, or a particular ethical position in Philosophy, our students learn to argue intelligently, in essays and in discussion. We help students to ask excellent questions, from Philosophical enquiries into what exists, to thoughts about which sources to trust most in History.

History - A Level

Ancient History Course Summary - A Level

  • Greek History – Classical Sparta (478 – 404 BC) and the Greek world in the 5th Century
  • Roman History – A study of the early Roman emperors from Augustus to Domitian

Our Greek topics deal with the period when Greek civilisation reached its peak. The first year course explores 5th century BC warfare. The Greeks began with a brave but suicidal stand against the vast numbers of the Persian Empire at the battles of Marathon and Thermopylae. Intense rivalries then led to the empires of Athens and Sparta clashing in a 30 year conflict which devastated the Greek world. This course explores the causes, course and consequences of the various conflicts between Greeks and non-Greeks in this period. Our second year course focuses on the strange world of classical Sparta, a state which practiced wife-sharing, taught children to steal, made all men into warriors and was supported by a vast slave underclass. But since the Spartans themselves left no written records, how reliable is our image of this ancient super-state?

The Roman topic explores the creation of the Roman Empire under Augustus and its development by the subsequent emperors of the 1st century AD. How did Augustus set up a system of one man rule in what had previously been a republic and why was he deified rather than assassinated? Famous emperors such as Nero, Caligula or Domitian are still renowned for their behaviour – murdering their mother, putting a horse in the Senate, marrying a eunuch, fiddling whilst Rome burnt and of course persecuting Christians and senators. However there were competent emperors such as Claudius and especially Vespasian who was responsible for restoring stability after the civil war that followed Nero’s death. But how reliable are our sources – particularly for the more salacious (obscene) of these stories? Are the written texts attacking individual emperors entirely fair?

We are the only college in the area to offer Ancient History as an A Level option. Ancient History differs from other Classics courses; we are more interested in the historical usefulness and reliability of ancient sources than their artistic/literary style.

Modern History Course Summary - A Level

  • The British Empire, c1857-1967
  • The Cold War, 1945-1991
  • The changing position of women 1789-1890 (coursework module)

With its main focus on the exciting relationships between the Great Powers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Modern History offers students not only a chance to explore many of the conflicts which have shaped the modern era but also a lens through which to better understand the world today. The two examined modules are the British Empire and the Cold War. Students also undertake a piece of coursework on the changing role of women.

We begin the course with the breadth study on the British Empire in the years 1857-1967. Here you will explore the forces that drove Britain to pursue an Empire which at its peak is considered by many to have been the largest ever Empire in History covering nearly a quarter of the world’s land and home to nearly a quarter of the world’s population. We will investigate what motivated individuals to set sail for the Empire alongside the role of politics, economics, religion and conflict. We will also consider and discuss the impact the Empire had on the indigenous peoples before exploring the role of nationalist movements and other forces for decolonisation and ultimately the collapse of the Empire.

Our depth study explores the Cold War in the years 1945-1991 in substantial detail. Focusing on the relations between the US and the USSR, we will examine how the ‘Grand Alliance’ of the Second World War crumbled and was rapidly replaced by hostility in the forms of an escalating arms race, the Red Scare and proxy wars. We examine whether personality clashes or ideological tensions and mutual misunderstandings were responsible for bringing the Superpowers to the brink of nuclear war in the Cuban missile crisis. In our second year, we examine the ebb and flow of the tensions, the growing importance of China and the collapse of the USSR as we seek to understand how the Cold War came to an end.

Finally, we delve into some social history and examine the changing position of women in the years 1791-1991. Here students will investigate to what extent the social, legal and economic status of women improved across the timeframe and what factors were driving the change.

The three parts of this course give students a robust understanding of the key features of the Modern era and a strong introduction to the different schools of History.

Medieval & Tudor History Course Summary - A Level

  • The Age of Crusades, c. 1071-1204
  • The Tudors – Religious Conflict and the Church in England, c. 1529-1570
  • Empires of Spain and Portugal – Exploration and Discovery c. 1445-1545 (coursework module)

Our first major topic covers medieval Europe during the time of the Crusades:- medieval Holy Wars. This was a period when religious fundamentalism and ideology dictated and shaped the lives of the Muslim East and the Christian West. A bloody conflict between the Crescent and the Cross ensued, shaped through expansionism, religious fervour, greed and feudal social orders. Students will explore key issues around causes and motives for the first four Crusades, the events of the Crusades and their outcome and impact.

The second major element of this course covers the religious changes under the Tudor dynasty, spanning from Henry VIII’s break from the Roman Catholic church to the religious turbulence under his three children Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. This module charts the religious turmoil in England as the Tudors first break from the power of the Pope in Rome and move towards religious reform and then move between the Catholic and Protestant forces in England and the Continent. Students will explore the motivations for England’s various religious changes, how successfully each monarch achieved their aims and the long and short-term impacts of these reforms.

Finally, in our coursework module on Exploration and Discovery we learn how Europeans first developed a global world outlook. The motivations and successes of the first global empires of Spain and Portugal as well as explorers such as Christopher Columbus are researched and considered. The discovery and eradication of empires such as the Aztecs and the Incas, and the origins of the African slave trade are all a focus of this coursework.

The three parts of this course cover a comprehensive period ranging from 1071 – 1570 and allow students to gain an excellent overview and insight into a 500 year period. This course is often enriched with outside speakers such as Jonathan Phillips, the pre-eminent professor of the Crusades, and trips to locations such as Hampton Court. A possible Rome trip is also open to History students.

Progression Skills and Opportunities

As a facilitating subject, our History A Level courses equip students with a wide range of skills which will set them in good stead on their chosen paths. On completing the course, students will be able to:

  • construct fluent and persuasive arguments verbally and in analytical essays
  • deal confidently with sources, amassing and investigating the available evidence
  • evaluate competing historical interpretations
  • come to their own independent conclusions on major issues using this evidence

These are skills which are prized by employers and universities alike. For example, these skills are enormously valuable in any professional role which requires you to write, persuade, think or analyse text or data. Very many of our students go on to study History at university; others take related degrees, and still others use their skills to enter employment.

How is the course assessed?

Ancient History is 100% examined. There is no coursework.

What's special about History at QMC?

  • We have a very wide range of history courses to choose from, allowing you to immerse yourself in your selected era
  • Each of our history courses is taught by dedicated, enthusiastic and innovative specialists who personally craft the excellent booklets you will use
  • Our History team includes experienced examiners
  • A wide range of guest speakers join us (e.g. historians and journalists)
  • Superb enrichment options:
    • Latin for Beginners
    • Wider Historical Studies (for history topics not on the exam!)
  • We make what you learn in class relevant to the world around you
  • Tailored small-group support to students applying to Oxbridge
  • We have organised trips to Berlin (Modern History) and Rome (Ancient History and Medieval/Tudor History)
  • The students and teachers in our department form a happy and highly supportive learning community

Careers using A-level History

What are ex-QMC History students up to now?
Tap here to find out!

Any Questions?

The Head of Department, Tom Featherstone will be happy to help.

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