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This course is designed to add to the breadth and depth of your knowledge and understanding of historical concepts through a chosen historical context – the American Civil War (looking at slavery and the background tensions, causes of the conflict, battles, politics, home front, foreign policy etc).  It also aims to develop your skills in evaluating events and sources and making judgments.  The historical research you will undertake will enhance your skills in planning, researching, preparing and presenting an independent study.


Advanced Higher


1 Year full time


4000 word Dissertation


Question Paper of 3 hours




Miss Catton

Mrs Jackson



In the Advanced Higher History course, candidates develop their understanding of the world by learning about other people and their values, in different times, places and circumstances. The course helps candidates to develop a map of the past and an appreciation and understanding of the forces which have shaped the world today. Candidates have opportunities to develop important attitudes including an open mind and respect for the values, beliefs and cultures of others; openness to new thinking and ideas; and a sense of responsibility and global citizenship. The focus on the detailed study of a specific theme allows candidates to explore sophisticated issues and concepts, to engage with a wide range of source material, and to review a wide range of interpretations of history. The course emphasises the development and application of skills. The focus on evaluating sources develops candidates’ thinking skills. They develop skills in literacy through using and synthesising information in different ways.

Through the Advanced Higher History course candidates will use and develop the following:

  • a conceptual understanding of the past and an ability to think independently 

  • a critical analysis of existing historical research, including identifying important lines of argument and evaluating schools of thought on particular historical issues

  • analytical skills through the use of historical sources relating to authorship and purpose, perspective and historical and historiographical context 

  • an understanding of the relationship between factors that contribute to complex historical events 

  • an understanding of the impact of contributing factors, and their relationship with one another, on historical events 

  • synthesis through the use of primary sources and perspectives from historical research to analyse complex historical issues and sustain coherent lines of argument  

  • skills to adopt a relevant and structured approach to researching a historical issue, drawing conclusions in a clear and well-reasoned way, while reflecting the complexity of the issue and the limitations of the available evidence


The course assessment consists of:

A question paper which will sample essays and source work from across our American Civil War topic of study.   You will write two essays and answer 3 source questions.  It will be marked by the SQA and is worth 90/140 marks available.

A dissertation for which you choose an aspect of the American Civil War to research in more detail and produce a 4,000 word write up of your findings.  Popular topics include the causes of the American Civil War, analysing how far President Abraham Lincoln was responsible for the outbreak of the War, the role of women during the Civil War and conditions for slaves.  It will be marked by the SQA and is worth 50/140 marks available.


Everything you need to know before selecting this course

entry requirements

A pass in Higher History at grades A-C

what will you get?

The course is graded

A: Band 1, Band 2

B: Band 3, Band 4

C: Band 5, Band 6

D: Band 7


Everything you need to know about future pathways from this course


Most careers will benefit from your experience in History however some jobs more closely related to the skills and knowledge developed include teacher, art gallery curator, museums work, tourism, archivist, antique dealer, archaeologist, conservator, civil service, law and journalism.



Skills developed through History:

Problem Solving:

Working independently, resilience, time management, positive work ethic.


Leading groups, building confidence, organisational skills. You are required to complete coursework which demands you to take responsibility for your own learning and have a proactive, motivated attitude towards your studies.


Working successfully in a group, delegation, presenting information.


Working with others, presenting findings, using clear and concise language.


Making conclusions, supporting and opposing a point of view, making and justifying a decision, analysing and evaluating a range of complex sources and historical arguments.

my world of work

This link will take you to an excellent resource on MyWOW which looks at potential career routes when you select a combination of subjects. 


Information from pupils who have studied this course as to how they feel it was.

Rachel Campbell - S6

“I took History as a fun subject and something that I enjoy finding out about.  It is a great course and very interesting.  It is a lot of work but is well worth it, I have really enjoyed the American Civil War and the bridge is very easy as all sources and essay questions were the same as Higher which formed a smooth transition.”

American War Cemetery
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