A-level English Literature

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From Shakespeare plays to contemporary novels of the last decade, you will explore English Literature from a range of cultures and connections between them. You will look at fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry and investigate the cultural and historical influences on readers and writers.

Course type


Course length

A-level: two years

Required qualifications

Five or more A*-C grades at  GCSE, including English  Language (grade 9-6).

What will I study?

The AS-level course will focus on:

  • exploring the use of literary and dramatic devices and shaping of meanings in your chosen plays
  • studying aspects of prose via two thematically linked texts
  • developing depth of knowledge about poetic style, by studying poetry from within a literary period or movement

On the course, you will:

  • study a tragedy or comedy drama by Shakespeare and another tragedy or comedy drama
  • incorporate the links and connections between thematically linked prose, and the contexts in which they were written and received
  • apply your knowledge of poetic form, content and meaning in your response to an unseen poem written within your lifetime
  • extend your understanding of the concerns and choices of modern-day poets

Method of assessment

Coursework is an important component of this subject and accounts for 20% of the marks, as well as enabling you to build on your independent study skills. You will carry out independent research and study to inform critical and comparative writing. You will sit two written examinations at the end of the second year.

What will I be able to progress to?

The writing and analytical skills you gain in English Literature will help you in any area of higher education, as well as in many careers such as Journalism, the Media, Education, Law and Business.