Ancient History A-Level

Course Overview

Entry Qualifications

In addition to the standard College entry requirements, this course also requires students to have achieved grade 5 or above in GCSE English Literature and English Language. It is not necessary to have studied Ancient History or History previously in order to take it at A-Level.

What will I study?

The OCR Ancient History course combines the study of some of the most well-known parts of Greek and Roman history.

  • Students will complete a period study for both ancient societies which encompasses a broad sweep of history and two more narrowly focussed depth studies. In addition to studying a wide range of ancient source material students will also gain an understanding of modern historians’ debates surrounding a number of key issues in each of the period studies.
  • In the Greek period study, students will cover the period from 492 to 404 BC including the challenge posed by the Persian Empire, the growth of Athenian power following the defeat of the Persians and the conflict between Athens and Sparta in the Peloponnesian War. The depth study covers Spartan society in the same period.
  • The Roman period study covers the Julio-Claudian emperors from Augustus through to Nero (31 BC – AD 68). The depth study looks at Roman Britain from the conquest during the reign of Claudius through to the construction of Hadrian’s Wall (AD 43- 12-128)
  • The study of both Greek and Roman History is based almost entirely on the original sources in modern translations.

How will I study?

Throughout the two years students will be expected to write essays regularly and undertake recommended background reading on their own initiative. Students are encouraged to visit museums and ancient sites in order to develop their understanding of the ancient world.

How is the course examined?

There are two units for the A-Level qualification – one Greek and one Roman. There will be a mixture of source-based and essay questions.

Where next?

All universities accept Ancient History as an A-Level entry qualification. It is a highly desirable qualification for anyone with an interest or career intentions in Classics, Ancient History or Archaeology. Although not an essential subject for any particular career other than Archaeology, it is strongly recommended to those who wish to improve their understanding and appreciation of the origins of Western civilisation, including geography, history and culture.

What does the course combine well with?

One great advantage of Ancient History is its flexibility. It can be combined with most other Advanced Level subjects and is especially complementary to English, History, Politics and languages. Many students, however, have successfully taken Ancient History as a general interest subject in conjunction with Maths, Economics, Geography or even a science.

College Entry Requirements

We normally expect applicants to have achieved good GCSE passes in at least six subjects, these must:

• demonstrate the suitability for Advanced Level study

• have been achieved at Grade 4 as a minimum

• include two at Grade 5 as a minimum

• include English Language – a minimum grade of 4

Mathematics – If not achieved within the scope of the above should normally be achieved at grade 3. If mathematics is not achieved at grade 4 then it will be a requirement to continue to study at the correct level until a grade 4 is achieved. Subjects with a mathematical content will require a higher grade.

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