Cambridge IGCSE History gives students an awareness and understanding of important historical events, acknowledging that the future is influenced by both the past and the present.

The syllabus is prescriptive and is intended to provide a wide choice of options for study of the modern world in the 20th century. Students will learn that the actions of an individual can affect the future of a nation and change the whole course of history. Similarly, historical developments within the boundaries of a nation can have a worldwide impact over a short period of time.

Our students will learn about responsibility and human values in addition to the chronological sequence of events that have shaken the world. They will study the cause and effect of political and economic change, and will be encouraged to make informed and balanced judgements on event which have previously occurred and may well present themselves again.

Our students will be introduced to a wide variety of historical sources in order to study the history of different periods and cultures, the changes in the way of life of various peoples, as well as events which have been remembered and commemorated by succeeding generations. They will develop an understanding that an awareness of the past is essential in order to understand the present and prepare for the future.


The aims are to:

  • Stimulate an interest in and enthusiasm for learning about the past.
  • Promote the acquisition of knowledge and understanding of individuals, people and societies in the past.
  • Ensure that learners’ knowledge is rooted in an understanding of the nature and use of historical evidence.
  • Promote an understanding of key historical concepts: cause and consequence, change and continuity, and similarity and difference.
  • Provide a sound basis for further study and the pursuit of personal interest.
  • Encourage international understanding.
  • Encourage the development of historical skills, including investigation, analysis, evaluation and communication skills.

Syllabus content

Section A – The 20th Century: international relations since 1919:

  • The Versailles Settlement (1919 to 1933)
  • The League of Nations
  • The Inter-war Years
  • The Cold War
  • The containment of Communism
  • USSR control of Eastern Europe (1948 to 1989)
  • Events in the Gulf (1970 to 2000)

Section B – In-depth study:

  • Germany from 1918 to 1945


Paper title Duration and marks What’s in the paper? Percentage of final grade
Paper 1:
Core content and In-depth study
2 hours
(60 Marks)
Candidates answer two questions from Section A (Core Content) and one question from Section B (Depth Studies) 40%
Paper 2:
Prescribed topic
2 hours
(50 Marks)
Candidates answer six questions on one prescribed topic taken from the Core Content 33%
Paper 4:
In-depth study
1 hour
(40 Marks)
Candidates answer one question on a Depth Study 27%

Find out more

You can find out more by visiting the qualification page on the Cambridge Assessment website.