English Literature is an exciting subject; delving into characters’ lives is exhilarating.

Emma Dawson

Emma Dawson

Course Description

The aim is for all students to experience a diverse and interesting collection of texts throughout the two-year course. English Literature will encourage all students to learn new and challenging ways to study a variety of writing styles. At the heart of the course is the desire to develop and enhance students’ love of reading, giving opportunities to debate themes, issues and questions raised by the texts studied.

Entry Requirements

Achieve 5 or more standard GCSE passes or higher (grade 4 or higher).

If a student is applying for a course in a subject that they have studied at GCSE it is expected that a student would have achieved at least a standard pass (grade 4) in this subject.

Course Content

Literary Genres: Tragedy
In Literary Genres, the texts are connected through the mainstream literary genre of Tragedy. Tragedy and comedy have a long tradition in literature, with their origins in the ancient world and with a specific emphasis on drama. Working with genre involves looking at ways in which authors shape meanings within their texts. It also involves thinking about a wide range of relevant contexts: some of them to do with the production of the text at the time of its writing; some (where possible) to do with how the text has been received over time; and most of all in this specification, contexts to do with how the text can be interpreted by readers now.
Students study one Shakespeare play, Othello, and one further drama text, Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller), as well as a collection of poems by John Keats.

Texts and Genres: Crime Writing
For this unit, within all the texts, a significant crime drives the narrative, and the execution and consequences of the crime are fundamentally important to the way the text is structured.
All set texts are narratives which focus on transgressions against established order and the specific breaking of either national, social, religious or moral laws. The focus in this component must be on ‘Elements’ and students need to consider the elements that exist in each of their texts.
Students study three texts: a collection of 19th century poems (Crabbe, Wilde and Browning); a 20th century prose text (Brighton Rock, Graham Greene); and one 21st century prose text (Atonement, Ian McEwan). They also respond to an unseen passage in the examination.

Theory and Independence
This component is designed to allow students to read widely, to choose their own texts, and to understand that contemporary study of literature needs to be informed by the fact that different theoretical and critical methods can be applied to the subject.


Paper 1 Literary Genres
Written exam: 2.5 hours
Closed book
75 marks
40% of A Level

Paper 2
Texts and Genres
Written exam: 3 hours

Open book
75 marks
40% of A Level

Non-exam assessment
Theory and Independence

Two essays of 1,250-1,500 words,
each responding to a different text and linking to a different aspect of the Critical Anthology.
50 marks
20% of A Level

Future Opportunities

This course will prepare students to study English Literature, and other humanities subjects, at university level. As a facilitating subject, you will develop skills of independent study, as well as the ability to research and apply critical opinions, which are vital in working at degree level in many subjects. Careers in English Literature include teaching, journalism, marketing, editing, publishing, working in public relations and many more.

Apply Now!