HISTORY A LEVEL AND AS LEVEL:britain, russia and china


Exam board: aqa


This A Level offers you the chance to explore three ‘superpowers’ of the modern age: Great Britain, Russia and China. This challenging and fascinating course allows you to study the rise and fall of ‘great’ nations, the development and competition between capitalism and communism and the nature of power, empire and imperialism. It will inspire and enrich you, ensuring you develop a deeper understanding of the world both as it was and as it is.

General qualifications for your chosen pathway (see What to study/LaSWAP pathways)

6 in history (if studied) or 6 or above in English literature.


For this course you will study 2 exam units over the year. If you are studying the AS you will take the AS exam in both units at the end of year 12. If you choose to take the A level, you will be studying the first half of each unit (Empire and China) in year 12 and then complete a 3000-3500 word coursework essay on Tsarist Russia in the spring and summer term.

The three units you will study are:

  1. The British Empire, 1867-1967
  2. The Transformation of China, 1936-1997
  3. Russia 1797-1917.


For this course you will study 2 exam units over the two years. You will study the first half of each unit in year 12 and the second half of each unit in year 13 for the A level. In addition, you will also complete a 3000-3500 word coursework essay at the end of year 12 and hand it in at the beginning of year 13.


  • Builds and develops the history skills of evaluation and writing essays.
  • Students will be expected to work with original and secondary documents.
  • Visits to museums, lectures and archives for research.
  • Individual work on coursework assignments.
  • History students are able to analyse and develop a logical argument both in their written work and verbally.
  • Students will research topics using sources, IT etc and select and use information accurately, being aware of different interpretations.

These are just some of the skills you will learn during the course.


This table shows you the breakdown of what you would study in each year for A level:

Units Type of Assessment Duration Weighting
The British Empire, 1867-1967 Exam unit 2 years 40%
The Transformation of China 1936-1997 Exam unit 2 years 40%
Russia 1797-1917 3000 word essay (A level only) 2 terms  20%



Students who study history go on to do a multitude of different things:

History CD Pie Chart

(Attributed to TeachFirst research)

History is well-regarded by universities and a range of different employers, as it teaches students important analysis and evaluation skills. Historians also feel confident in forming and justifying a clear and logical argument, which is a vital skill needed for further education and a wide range of different careers.

Example job titles of history graduates from SOAS in 2015 include:

Account Executive
Immigration Case Worker
Public Relations and Policy Manager
Primary School Teaching Assistant
Tour Guide
Foreign Affairs Analyst
Editorial Assistant
Digital Marketing Assistant
Director of the Transition Year Program
Primary School Supply Teacher
Freelance TV Researcher
Middle East Programme Assistant
Private Tutor
Office Administrator
Freelance Researcher
Sales Assistant
Project Support Manager
Quran Teacher

Alumni Relations Assistant
ESOL Teacher
Production Editor
Primary School Class Teacher (English)
Secondary School Teaching Assistant (History and Sociology)
Marketing and Communications Officer
English Instructor
Teacher’s Assistant in Special Needs
Grants Manager
Junior High School Teacher (History)
Secondary School Teacher (History)
Civil Service Fast Streamer
English Teacher
Floating Assistant
Administrative Assistant
Conference Producer
Bid Administrator