Modern History

Stage 2 subject open to Year 11 students

In this subject students research and review sources within a framework of inquiry and critical analysis, and make sense of a complex and rapidly changing world by connecting past and present.

About the subject

Through the study of past events, actions, and phenomena since c.1500 students gain an insight into human nature and the ways in which individuals and societies function.

Course content

Students study:

  • one topic from a choice of six thematic studies
  • one topic from a choice of five depth studies
  • an individual history essay

Thematic Study topics:

  • Pain and Gain: Modernisation and Society since c. 1700.
  • Intruders and Resisters: Imperialism and its Impact since c 1500.
  • Revolutions and Turmoil: Social and Political Upheavals since c. 1500.
  • A Sense of Belonging: Groups and Nations since c. 1500.
  • The Captives, the Unwanted, and the Seekers: Forced and Free Migration since c. 1500.
  • Slaves, Serfs, and Emancipation: Forced Labour since c. 1500.

Depth Study topics:

  • Public and Private Lives: A Social and Political History of Women since c. 1750.
  • The War to End all Wars: The First World War and its Consequences, c.1870–1929.
  • An Age of Catastrophes: Depression, Dictators, and the Second World War, c. 1929–45.
  • Postwar Rivalries and Mentalities: Superpowers and Social Change since c. 1945.
  • Persecution and Hope: Power and Powerlessness in Society since c. 1500.

Individual History Essay

Students choose a key area for inquiry from one of eleven topics.


Students demonstrate evidence of their learning through the following assessment types:

School-based AssessmentWeighting
External Assessment

Information on the External Assessment

The 3-hour external examination consists of three parts:

  • Part 1: Thematic Study
  • Part 2: Depth Study
  • Part 3: Sources Analysis

Part 1: Thematic Study

This part of the examination will focus on the key areas for inquiry in the thematic study. Students are required to answer one essay question.

Part 2: Depth Study

This part of the examination will focus on the key areas for inquiry in the depth study.

Students are required to answer one essay question.

Part 3: Sources Analysis

This part of the examination will focus on the skills of sources analysis. Students are required to answer the sources analysis question.

The examination will be graded by external assessors with reference to the performance standards.

Performance Standards

The History Subject Outline includes performance standards, which describe five levels of achievement that are reported with the grades A to E at the student’s completion of the subject.

The school-based assessments and the external assessment will be graded with reference to the performance standards.

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