English Literature

The study of English Literature allows you to explore what it means to be human, and all of the experiences associated with humanity such as love and loss, vengeance and forgiveness. You will learn to be experts in the decoding of a wide range of texts so that you can unravel the mysteries of writers’ true intentions.

Course Type

AS and A Level

Entry requirements

  • Level 6 in GCSE English Literature
  • Level 5 in GCSE English Language

Course breakdown

In Year 12, you will study a range of texts centred around the theme of ‘Love Through The Ages’, including:

  • Othello
  • An anthology of pre-1900 poetry
  • Wuthering Heights
  • The Great Gatsby

In Year 13, you will build on your first year of study, as well as studying an additional collection of texts of the modern age (1945 to present day) including:

  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
  • The Color Purple
  • Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry collection “The Feminine Gospels”

You will also develop skills to be able to respond to both unseen prose extracts and poetry, across AS and A level.

In addition to the examined components, you will also undertake a non-examined component. This unit provides a great deal of freedom in terms of which texts you select and around which central theme you will build a comparative response.

How will the course be assessed?

At the end of Year 12, you will be entered for the AS level in English Literature. This will assess the content and skills covered in the first year of study.

  • Exam: Love Through The Ages; Shakespeare and Poetry – 1.5 hours – 50% of AS level
  • Exam: Love Through The Ages; Prose – 1.5 hours – 50% of AS level

At the end of Year 13, you will be entered for the A level in English Literature. This will assess the content and skills covered in both years of study.

  • Exam: Love Through The Ages – 3 hours – 40% of A level
  • Exam: Texts In Context – 2 hours – 40% of A level
  • Coursework: Independent Critical Study; Texts Across Time– 20% of A level

Note that this is a reformed A level. This means that the grades obtained for the AS level do not contribute to the final A level grade.

Where can the course lead?

English Literature is useful for a wide range of career options and further study as it develops analytical skills, academic writing and research approaches as well as highly advanced communication, both spoken and written. Many professions look favourably on an advanced level qualification in English although it is especially useful if you are thinking of careers in education, journalism, the media, advertising and law.