English Literature

Why should I study this subject?

English Literature provides you with the opportunity to develop your interest and enjoyment in literary studies. You will explore challenging ideas, as expressed through poetry, prose and drama from different periods. You will be encouraged to develop your own responses to texts, considering other readers’ interpretations, with a deepening appreciation of the significance of cultural and historical influences upon readers and writers. The course is of interest to anyone keen to find out about the way literature challenges conventional thinking in the field of human relationships and ideas.

What will I study ?

You will read independently set texts; engage critically and creatively with a substantial body of texts and ways of responding to them; develop and effectively apply your knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation; explore the contexts of the texts you are reading and others’ interpretations of them and undertake independent and sustained studies to deepen your appreciation and understanding of English Literature, including its changing traditions.

Unit 1

Section A; Othello

Section B; A Streetcar Named Desire

Unit 2; You will compare two novels; (Frankenstein and The Handmaid’s Tale)

Unit 3: A set poem or genre alongside the modern poetry anthology

Section A: Comparison of a named poem from the anthology, with an unseen poem.

Section B: Selected poems of John Keats

Unit 4: Coursework

A comparison of 2 texts (free choice)

What are the entry requirements?

Please check this subject table for full details of our A Level entry requirements.

What skills do I need?

  • An enthusiasm for reading
  • An ability to write fluent essays
  • An ability to analyse literature
  • An ability to analyse literature


How will I be taught?

The subject is taught by one or two teachers using a variety of learning methods. There are many opportunities for small group and paired work, as well as independent research, where students consult with teachers on a one-to-one basis. All courses are supported by our virtual learning environment.

How will I be assessed?

A level is assessed by 80% terminal examination and the coursework element is a long essay, comparing poetry, prose, drama or literary non-fiction, 2,500-3,000 words in length.

What will the course prepare me for?

Typically, possible careers include teaching, the law, the civil service, journalism and the media. However, because of its traditional status as a core subject at the heart of the humanities, English Literature graduates are recruited into a very wide range of professions.

How much private study should I expect to do?

As an approximate guide, you should expect to spend four to five hours per week on study of English Literature outside of lesson time.

What materials will I need to purchase?

You will need your own pens, paper and folders. You will also need to purchase your own copies of the set texts.

What is the exam board?


This subject is for you if…
you enjoy analysing and discussing poetry, novels and plays and writing analytical essays.

This subject is not for you if…
you don’t like reading, you don’t like discussing a range of texts, and you don’t like writing about texts.