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Summary of course content

By studying this Cambridge International AS & A Level course you will develop:

  • an interest in the past and an appreciation of human endeavour
  • a greater knowledge and understanding of historical periods or themes
  • a greater awareness of historical concepts such as cause and consequence, change and continuity, similarity and difference, significance and interpretations
  • an appreciation of the nature and diversity of historical sources available, and the methods used by historians
  • an exploration of a variety of approaches to different aspects of history and different interpretations of particular historical issues
  • the ability to think independently and make informed judgements on issues
  • an empathy with people living in different places and at different times
  • a firm foundation for further study of History

Areas of Study

Candidates for Cambridge International AS Level History study one of the following option:

1. European option: Modern Europe, 1750–1921

  • France, 1774–1814
  • The Industrial Revolution in Britain, 1750–1850
  • Liberalism and nationalism in Germany, 1815–71
  • The Russian Revolution, 1894–1921

2. American option: The history of the USA, 1820–1941

  • The origins of the Civil War, 1820–61
  • Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861–77
  • The Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 1870s to 1920
  • The Great Crash, The Great Depression and the New Deal policies, 1920–41

3. International option: International history, 1870–1945

  • Empire and the emergence of world powers, 1870–1919
  • The League of Nations and international relations in the 1920s
  • The League of Nations and international relations in the 1930s
  • China and Japan, 1912–45

Candidates for Cambridge International A Level History study the following topics and one of the option.


  • The origins of the First World War
  • The Holocaust
  • The origins and development of the Cold War

4. European option, Depth study 1: European history in the interwar years, 1919–41

  • Theme 1: Mussolini’s Italy, 1919–41
  • Theme 2: Stalin’s Russia, 1924–41
  • Theme 3: Hitler’s Germany, 1929–41
  • Theme 4: Britain, 1919–39

5. American option, Depth study 2: The USA, 1944–92

  • Theme 1: The late 1940s and 1950s
  • Theme 2: The 1960s and the 1970s
  • Theme 3: The 1980s and early 1990s
  • Theme 4: Foreign policy, 1944–92

6. International option, Depth study 3: International history, 1945–92

  • Theme 1: US–Soviet relations during the Cold War, 1950–91
  • Theme 2: The spread of communism in East and Southeast Asia, 1945–91
  • Theme 3: Decolonisation, the Cold War and the UN in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1950–92
  • Theme 4: Conflict in the Middle East, 1948–91

How the course is assessed


For Cambridge International AS Level History, candidates take two written papers.


For Cambridge International A Level History, candidates take four written papers.

Guided Learning Hours

We design Cambridge International AS & A Level syllabuses based on learners having about 180 guided learning hours for each Cambridge International AS Level and about 360 guided learning hours for a Cambridge International A Level. The number of hours a learner needs to achieve the qualification may vary according to local practice and their previous experience of the subject.

Level AS/A
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