History A Level

How have political, social and economic events in Britain brought us to where we are now? A level History gives you the opportunity to evaluate and assess primary and secondary sources of information and formulate your own views on how our history has shaped us.

This course is one of our new Gold Star A levels. Find out more about them here.



Course requirements

A GCSE or equivalent in History is recommended for this course. This is an online course so you will also need access to the internet.

Duration of study

It's really up to you but, as a guide, an A level course takes about 250-300 hours plus extra time for assignment work you submit to your tutor. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 24 months from the date of enrolment. Many students allow 18-24 months to complete an A level, but some complete the course within a year.


This course follows specification 9HI0 from the awarding organisation Edexcel. Full details of the specifications can be obtained from Edexcel's website.


Section 1 - The growth of parliamentary democracy c1785–c1870
  • The unreformed Parliament up to 1785
  • Demand for reform c1785–1815
  • The Great Reform Act 1815–32
  • Towards Chartism 1832–48
  • The 1867 Reform Act

Section 2 - Industrialisation, protest and trade unionism c1785–c1870
  • Industrial growth c1785–c1870
  • Living and working conditions c1785–c1850
  • Protest and reform c1785–c1870
  • Unionism and cooperation c1785–c1850
  • New Model Unionism c1850–c1870

Section 3 - Poverty and pauperism; the abolition of the slave trade
  • Poverty and pauperism c1785–1834
  • After the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834
  • The abolition of the slave trade 1
  • The abolition of the slave trade 2
  • The abolition of the slave trade 3

Section 4 - The unification of Germany 1: c1840–51
  • Popular pressure and causes of revolution 1840–48
  • Failure of revolution 1848–51

Section 5 - The unification of Germany 2: c1852–71
  • Austro-Prussian rivalry 1852–66
  • Prussia and the Kleindeutschland solution 1866–71

Section 6 - Coursework (NEA)
  • The 'Great' Reform Act?
  • The suffragettes: contextual background
  • The suffragettes: help or hindrance
  • Writing the assignment

Section 7 - Prosperity and social change 1871–1990
  • Social change: the urban working class
  • Social change: artisans, junkers, women
  • Economic change 1871–1929
  • Economic change 1929–1990

Section 8 - Germany united 1871–1935
  • Ruling the Second Reich 1871–1879
  • The birth of democratic Germany 1917–1919
  • A new Reich 1933–1935

Section 9 - Germany divided and reunited 1945–1990
  • The new Federal Republic 1949–1960
  • Reunification: Germany 1989–1990

Exams and assessment

Three exams:
  • 2 hours 15 minutes, 30% of marks
  • 1 hour 30 minutes, 20% of marks
  • 2 hours 15 minutes, 30% of marks

Non-exam assessment (NEA):


Assignments do not contribute towards your final grade but provide you with an opportunity to submit work to your tutor for marking and feedback. This will help you to gauge your progress as you work through the course.

This course has:
  • 1 introductory assignment
  • 10 assignments

Set texts and resources

Active e-book versions of these texts will be included free with your course:
  • Edexcel AS/A Level History, Paper 1 & 2: Challenges to the Authority of the State in the Late 18th and 19th Centuries, M Collier, R Rogers and A Kidson, Pearson Education 2015
  • Access to History: The Unification of Germany and the challenge of Nationalism 1789-1919, A Farmer and A Stiles, Hodder Education 2015

Additional texts:
  • Paper 3: Germany, 1871-1990: united, divided and re-united, D Brown, Pearson Education 2016

Using learn@nec

Your course is delivered online through learn@nec, so it’s important that you have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend that your computer is using one of the following operating systems and browsers to improve your experience of using learn@nec:

Operating systems:
  • Windows 7 or later
  • Mac OSX 10.7 or later
  • Google Chrome OS
  • Android 4.4 or later, using the Chrome browser
  • iOS 6 or later, using the Safari browser

  • Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari 6 or later
  • Internet Explorer 10 or later (excluding IE11)

learn@nec may work on other operating systems and browsers with some restrictions. You can see full details of the system requirements by clicking here.

How to enrol

There are several ways to enrol with NEC:
  • Click the ‘Enrol now’ button above.
  • Telephone us on 0800 389 2839 or +44(0)1223 400200 and speak to our course advice team.
  • Ask us to send you an enrolment form which you can complete and return by post.

Paying in instalments

It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over monthly instalments with our finance offer. To pay in instalments you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative example:
Course fee:  
Amount of credit:  
Monthly payment:  
Duration of agreement:  
Total repayable:  
Rate of interest:  
0% APR representative.  
  6 months
  0% (fixed)

The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.

Deko is a trading name of Pay4Later Ltd who act as a credit intermediary. They are registered in England and Wales (company number 06447333) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 728646). For more information please go to www.dekopay.com/faq or visit www.dekopay.com.
Including area code and country code (if outside of UK)

A Level History Course Sample

Thank you for your interest in this course.

Please fill out your details below, and you will receive an email containing a link to download the course sample.

What our students say...

"I decided as a New Years resolution to get a degree in History and rather than take a large leap thought I would try an A level in my favourite subject of History. I spoke to our UNISON rep at work and she recommended NEC. The other main factor that swung it, was the availability of Exam centres through yourselves rather than have to ring around nearer the time. Basically NEC provided a full package which was what I was looking for. I didn't need the hassle and stress of searching for the centre."

— NEC A level History student