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English Literature

A level

This course is ideal for you if you enjoy reading in your own time, analysing novels, plays and poetry and finding out more about writers and their times. Learning methods vary and include discussion, debating issues, writing essays, exploring the meanings created in texts.  We also watch DVDs, create displays, carry out individual or group research.

Please note; may be required to pay course costs towards your study on this course. Please click here for a full list of 2020 Course Costs.

Course Content



Year 1

You will study a selection of modern poetry, and one play written after 1900. You will also study two prose texts (novels) which will be linked to a literary genre such as Colonisation and its aftermath, The Supernatural, Women in Literature, or Science and Society. You will learn to identify and comment on writers’ uses and effects of language, form and structure and to link this to relevant aspects of context. This includes the fascinating ways literary texts both reveal and challenge attitudes and values of the cultures in which they were produced.

Year 2

You will study a Shakespeare play, along with an anthology of critical views, considering aspects of the tragic or comic genres. You will also study a  second poetry text, as well as two texts of your choice from any genre which you will use to write a comparative coursework essay.  In Year 2 there is even more emphasis on making connections between texts, understanding influences of context and carrying out your own research into areas which interest you.  This means that familiar aspects of literary study such as theme, character, motif, setting, structure, narrative methods will be covered in greater depth.


  • 80 % exam
  • 20 % coursework

Special Features



There is a variety of extra-curricular activities, including theatre trips to the Globe and the Royal Shakespeare Company, conferences, poetry readings and visits to museums such as the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge.

Entry Requirements


  • At least 7 GCSEs at Grade 4 including GCSE Maths.
  • Grade 5 in GCSE English Language.
  • Grade 5 in GCSE English Literature if taken.
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