Taking Early Modern History enables you to investigate some of the most dramatic events, issues and personalities from European and British history. The course focuses on the 16th and 17th centuries – a period of great change and conflict.

In Year 1 we will develop a detailed understanding of the 17th Century revolution in Britain by focusing on Charles 1st and the origins and course of the Civil Wars, as well as perhaps the most controversial period in our history – our period as a republic under Oliver Cromwell and the restoration of the monarchy under Charles 2nd. You will also trace the theme of revolution through to 18th Century France.

In the second year you will investigate the phenomenon of the witch hunts in Europe and North America. To what extent was this the result of religious changes during the Reformation and why were the majority of victims women, and why did the hunts come to an end?

Year 1

  • The causes of the Civil Wars and the character of Charles 1st
  • The growth of political and social radicalism e.g. the levellers
  • From Cromwell and the Republic to the Restoration
  • How transformative was the French revolution?
  • Why did a new French constitution emerge?

Year 2

  • The theological causes of the witch craze – why did people believe in witches?
  • The variation in witch persecution between different countries
  • How historians interpret the causes of the witch craze
  • Coursework: You choose either a question derived from one of the exam topics (Modern or Early Modern) or choose a completely new topic on the Renaissance or causes of the American Civil War. The choice is yours.

I have really enjoyed Early Modern History because the topics are each very different but they still relate enough for you to build a good grounding in the period. It has been especially interesting to learn about the radical groups of the 17th century and their influence on contemporary and modern politics.

Sylvie Taylor ex Varndean School

Course Essentials

Courses Available
A Level
Entry Requirements
How The Course is Assessed
80% exam, 20% coursework
Career Pathways
Many students go on to degree courses in History, Politics, International Relations and Law. This subject provides useful skills and a recognised academic qualification for a variety of careers
Transferable Skills
Research; self-confidence; oral and written presentations; reasoning; critical analysis; organisational skills; communication in teams; development of empathy.
Enquiries To
Martin Ballard: