Reasons to study this course

  • History is an endlessly fascinating, richly rewarding journey into past cultures, civilisations, lives, and ideas.
  • It is well respected by universities and employers because of the analytical skills you develop.
  • It opens doors to a wide range of careers including law, journalism and teaching.
  • Priestley offers two History options so you can choose to study the periods that most interest you!

What you will need to study this course

  • Interest, curiosity and a genuine desire to study the past
  • Willingness to read around subjects discussed in lessons, study independently, and practice extended writing
  • Very good standard of written English; you will need good literacy skills with a good pass in English Language GCSE.

What you will study

Modern History option: USA 1917-1996 including presidents, civil rights, and society. Reasons for the establishment, and fall, of Apartheid in South Africa. Impact of war in Britain from the Napoleonic conflicts to the First World War.

Early Modern History option: 17th century in Britain including the turbulent reigns of Charles I, Charles II, and James II as well as the English Civil War. An in depth study of the French Revolution. The European witch-craze 1580-1750.

How you will be assessed

Year 1 (AS) – two exams

Year 2 (A-Level) – three exams and a 4,000-word essay.

Priestley Extra

Visits to France and Belgium or Washington D.C. and New York. Day trips to the Imperial War Museum and Pendle Hill. Join the college History Society and help produce our termly magazine. A range of history masterclasses across the year.

You can also contribute to Making History – the college’s history magazine – which you can see previous editions of here > Making History


Degrees in Law, Ancient History and Archaeology, teaching, politics, American studies, Philosophy. Diverse range of careers including banks, law firms, local and national government.

Recommended reading

Core textbook for route C (17th century Britain and the French Revolution): Oliver Bullock, Alan White, Daniel Nuttall, Revolutions in early modern and modern Europe.

Core textbook for route F (20th century USA and South Africa): Jane Shuter, Rosemary Rees et al, Searching for rights and freedoms in the 20th century.

For route C: John Morrill, Stuart Britain: A Very Short Introduction.

For route C: William Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction.

For route F: Paul Boyer, American History: A Very Short Introduction.

For route F: Fatima Meer, Higher Than Hope: A Biography of Nelson Mandela.

The Historical Association website allows student membership and has a range of excellent online resources for A level students (www.history.org.uk – cost £28)

Choosing Your Study Programme

What can you study ?
How does it all work ?

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