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What A-Levels to take for History? Is A-Level History necessary? Taking the right A-Levels is crucial to determining which courses will be available at the university. 

Here’s the catch, it’s not easy to make the right decision regarding A-Levels. This is because there are so many subjects to choose from. And you want to make sure you pick the right ones if you’re going to study History at University.

That’s why we ensure our History summer school students can access 1:1 individualised tutorials with expert tutors. So they can make the right decisions for their future goals.

We’ve also made it easier for you by putting this guide together. Find out what the top History universities in the UK require from you in terms of a-Level grades. And whether or not A-Level History is essential.

What A-Level Subjects Do I Need To Study History? 

Take a look at what A-level subjects some of the top UK universities require for history:

University of Oxford

Do you want to be aware of the different

  • Political
  • Social
  • Cultural
  • Economic 

structures of past societies? Are you interested in developing your argumentation and interpretation skills? Then the History course at Oxford may be what you’re looking for.

What is the A-Level requirement for History at the University of Oxford? AAA. Is History A-Level required? No. But it is highly recommended. 

University of Cambridge

If you’re looking for a History degree that examines the past from various disciplines, including:

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Politics
  • Sociology
  • Archaeology
  • Economics

Then, check out the University of Cambridge. The A-Level requirement to apply for History at Cambridge is A*AA. Some colleges (not all) require A-Level History.

Durham University

The History course at Durham gives a premium on developing three particular skills:

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Oral and written expression 

If you want to develop these skills, you’d love to explore Durham University. The A-Level requirement for Durham’s History course is A*AA, including History.

London School of Economics and Politics (LSE)

What’s unique about LSE’s History degree? Its international viewpoint of the past. The relations between the states are as important as the developments and happenings within the individual state. 

Only by understanding International History can one fully grasp Domestic History and vice versa. Do you agree? If so, try your hand at LSE’s History course! What’s the A-Level requirement? The standard offer is AAA with a contextual offer of AAB.

LSE doesn’t endorse an ideal combination for History. But here are some of the common A-Level subject choices:

  • History
  • Economics
  • English
  • Politics
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy
  • Modern Languages 

Is History A-Level a required subject? No, it’s not. 

University of St Andrews

The University of St. Andrews has several History courses to offer, including:

You can take joint degree options with most of these courses, giving you flexibility in personalising your degree. The A-Level requirements may have a specific tweak here and there. But in general, the standard grade is AAA, with an A in History.

The minimum grade? ABB, with a B in History.      

Do You Need History A-Level To Study History at the University?

Not all universities require History A-Level as an entry-level requirement, such as the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics and Politics (LSE.) 

But Oxford does strongly recommend A-Level History. And it’s common for History LSE students to have taken History at A-Level. 

With that being said, several universities do require A-Level History for entry. Durham University and the University of St Andrews are some of them. 

The bottom line? Although some universities don’t require A-Level History as a specific subject requirement, it’s best for you to take it. 

Why? Because it opens up more university options for you should you pursue History at higher education.

What Are the History Degree Entry Requirements?

There are 3 common history degree requirements:

  1. A qualifying A-Level grade and subject or an equivalent (e.g. Advanced Highers/IB)
  2. Admissions Tests for some universities (e.g. History Aptitude Test (HAT) for Oxford)
  3. Written Work (e.g. Oxford requires an essay about a historical topic written during normal school.)

What GCSEs Do You Need for History A-Level

You decided you want to take History A-Level. But you’re not sure what GCSEs you’ll need. 

So let’s look at some of the top Sixth Form Colleges to discover what GCSEs are necessary to take History at A-Level.

Cardiff Sixth Form College

At Cardiff Sixth Form College, one of the primary goals is to help its A-Level students to develop a lively interest in history. So that they may understand its significant value. 

What GCSEs do you need for A-Level History at Cardiff? Cardiff doesn’t expect you to have studied history prior. But you do need to have a minimum GCSE A grade or equivalent for English Language.

Westminster School

Are you naturally curious, sceptical, and inquisitive? Then you fit right in at Westminster School. Here, you’re encouraged to study A-Level History because knowledge of the past can energise and empower you.

There are no specific GCSE subject requirements for A-Level History at Westminster. All that they require is hard work and participation in the debate. 

North London Collegiate School

The North London Collegiate School is dedicated to helping its students understand that one can use the knowledge of historical events to address the following:

  • Political
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Religious issues of the present

There are no specific GCSE subjects listed on their History A-Level requirements. 

As you may have noticed, each Sixth Form College has specific entry requirements, either for A-Level in general or specifically for A-Level History.

So it’s best to check in with your potential school regarding what GCSE grades and/or subjects they require for entry.

What Can You Do With a History Degree?

According to the AGCAS 2021/22 “What Do Graduates Do Survey,” 82.8% of History graduates in the UK were employed or enrolled in further study within 15 months after graduation. 

A History Degree opens various career opportunities for you, such as:

  • Heritage Manager
  • Archivist
  • Curator
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • History Buildings Inspector

Do you want to learn more about what you can do with a history degree? Then, check out our article entitled “What Can You Do With A History Degree?”

What A-Levels to take for History? The highly recommended subject is A-Level History. Why? Because several universities require it as an essential A-Level subject. If you want to maximise your university options, go for A-Level History and ace it!

This way, you won’t be limited to universities that don’t require A-Level History. It’s best to keep your options open as much as possible.

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