English Literature A-level


The A-level English Literature course will provide you with the opportunity to read, discuss and analyse a diverse range of classic English and American texts, which explore themes such as love and death, truth and deception, gender and relationships, disillusionment and despair. The course will involve you in an in-depth study of Renaissance and modern tragic drama, enable you to explore the work of major nineteenth and twentieth century poets and immerse you in the comparative analysis of two critically acclaimed modern novels. You will gain clear, critical insights into these works, polish your analytical and essay-writing skills and develop your grasp of literary techniques and terminology, enhancing your ability to evaluate both set texts and ‘unseen’ prose and poetry. If you really enjoy reading literature and then exploring the moral, philosophical and emotional issues which arise, this is the course for you.

What will I study in English Literature A-level?


Section A: Poetry pre-1900 - Christina Rossetti

Section B: Poetry post-1900 - Philip Larkin and Carol Ann Duffy


Section A: Shakespeare - Hamlet

Section B: Post-1900 Drama - The Duchess of Malfi and A Streetcar Named Desire


Section A: Unseen Prose Text 1918-1939

Section B: Unseen Poetry (any period)

NON-EXAM ASSESSMENT (2500-3500 words). The Great Gatsby compared with text of own choice



Entry Requirements

At least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above, all from the basket subjects, including a Grade 5 in GCSE English Language.

How will I learn?

Students will read texts - some in class and some outside - and then discuss and analyse these in small groups, as a whole class and individually. There will be a variety of tasks to encourage you to engage with the texts and develop your understanding and analytical skills. You will be taught a wide range of literary terminology to help you develop the depth and quality of your responses to the texts. There will also be opportunities to watch plays and films and to use more interactive resources. The main aims will be to encourage your enjoyment of texts, provide you with the confidence to evaluate their meaning and give you the skills to write good essays.

How will I be assessed?

The course is 80% exam and 20% coursework:

  1. Poetry Exam 2hrs 30% (Open Text - you can take the books into the exam)
  2. Drama Exam 2 hrs 30% (Closed Text)
  3. Unseen Texts Exam 2hrs 20%
  4. Prose Study Coursework 20%

Any trips?

Hamlet, RSC Stratford

National Theatre live Hamlet

The Duchess of Malfi

Measure for Measure, the Globe Theatre

(also A-level English Language & Literature trips to see Much Ado about Nothing and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)

Are there any costs involved?

Students purchase their own texts at a reduced cost via the College - £30 in 2017.

Other resources/handbook materials are available at very small costs.


Can I take this alongside any other English course?

You may study English Literature A Level at the same time but you cannot choose English Language and Literature (the combined course).

Can I study English at university having done this course?

This is the ideal preparation for an English Literature course at a higher level.

How often do I have to write essays?

You will write an essay approximately once a fortnight on this course.

Available As

A Level
[56 UCAS pts. available]

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What can I do after I have taken this course?

Available As

A Level
[56 UCAS pts. available]

Add to Application

Recently Visited Courses

All Courses


What the students say

Samantha English Literature

I like being able to talk about my favourite hobby (reading) with those around me and being able to compare and analyse different books. Also I have learnt how to present in front of my class more comfortably as well as being able to read in front of everyone. I have also been able to put my hand up and get involved in class a lot more.