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A Level

History (Late Medieval & Early Modern) AS & A Level

Subject Area
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
September 2022
Study Mode
2 years
Level 3

History has rightly been described as an ‘argument without end'. It offers no fixed answers but some insight into what it is to be a human being and real training in logical thought, data-handling and the attractive expression of ideas. It is also great fun.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language at grade 4 or above. You must have achieved a grade 5 in either History (if studied), English Language, or Religious Studies.

What will I study?

Year One

Paper 1: England, Authority, Nation and Religion 1509–1603
Our focus will be on the important political, social and economic features of Tudor England from the accession of Henry VIII in 1509 to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. You will study the concept of continuity and change over time using historical interpretations of the past.

Paper 2: Luther and the German Reformation, c1515–55
We will study in depth Luther’s challenge to the Catholic Church, the development of a separate Lutheran Church within the German states, and the response of Empire and the papacy to this challenge to 1555. You will gain an in-depth understanding of Luther’s religious protests and the involvement of secular and religious leaders in driving, and resisting, religious and political change in the German states in this period.

Year Two

Paper 3: Lancastrians, Yorkists and Henry VII, 1399-1509
This option comprises two parts: the aspects in breadth focus on long-term changes and contextualise the aspects in depth, which focus in detail on key episodes.

Paper 4: Coursework
The coursework module focuses on how events in the past have been interpreted by different historians. It develops the skills of analysis and evaluation, based on a question surrounding a key area of historical debate of your choice.

Together, the breadth and depth topics explore the dramatic developments in late medieval England that centred around the personalities and political skills of a series of kings, queens and their powerful subjects, and the impact of these developments on the kingdom. Within the primarily political focus on the nature of kingship and authority in England, this option also explores the wider social and economic contexts of political struggle.

Preliminary reading

  • The Tudors: A Very Short Introduction by John Guy
  • The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction by Peter Marshal

Method of delivery

You will typically have three lessons each week. Content will be taught; some independent research is likely. Students are encouraged to discuss their views and opinions and engage in wider historical debate. Group work and independent research is expected.

Homework will include some reading, typically short academic articles. Listening to podcasts and discussing historians’ views, how and why they differ is part of the course.

How will I be assessed?

Both Modern and Late Medieval & Early Modern History use the Edexcel specification. They cannot be taken together. They are both assessed as follows:

Year One

Paper 1 - An examination of 2 hours 15 minutes

Paper 2 - An examination of 1 hour 30 minutes

Year Two

Paper 3 - An examination of 2 hours 15 minutes

Paper 4 - Coursework

Good course combinations

This course works well with English courses, Law, Sociology and Politics. It is not possible to study Late Medieval & Early Modern History alongside Modern History.

Your next steps

You should consider studying A Level History if you intend to take a degree in history or a closely related subject such as politics, or follow a course in higher education for which history is a suitable preparation (such as law).

Past students have gone on to careers in law, teaching, business and politics.

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