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English Literature

I love studying English Literature because it has provided me with new and exciting works to read whilst allowing me to explore texts on multiple levels and appreciate the contexts in which they were written and received.”

6th Form Student

A-level English Literature is a rigorous, stimulating and challenging qualification which allows freedom of textual choice and includes elements of independent study. The non-examined assessment component allows learners to pursue more detailed work in a field of particular personal interest, offering excellent preparation for study at undergraduate level. The course allows learners to undertake independent and sustained studies to deepen their appreciation and understanding of literature, including its changing traditions.

Higher Education:
The study of English Literature can be one of the most powerful gateways to a rigorous and intellectually demanding university course. The need for concision  and detailed textual analysis means that there are many different options for the English Literature student. Law, History and, to a lesser extent, Linguistics are historically strong partners. English Literature is one of the Russell Group’s facilitating subjects.

Entry Requirement

A minimum of grade 4 in Maths and English Langplus at least 3 other GCSEs at grade 5

Subject Specific Requirements 

Learners are required to study one play by Shakespeare which will be assessed in      Section 1 of this component. In addition, learners are required to study one pre-1900 drama text and one pre-1900 poetry text which will both be assessed in Section 2

Component 02 Comparative and Contextual Study  - Examination 40%

Learners choose one topic and study at least two whole texts in their chosen topic area, at least one of which must be from the core set text list. For the second text, learners may choose to study the other core set text or they may choose another text, from the same topic area from the list of suggested set texts.

Component 03 Literature post-1900  - Non-examined unit 20%

The aim of this internally assessed component is to encourage individual study, interest and enjoyment of modern literature and for learners to develop:

-an appreciation of how writers shape meanings in texts through use of language, imagery, form and structure

-an understanding of texts informed by an appreciation of different interpretations

-an ability to explore connections across texts, such as stylistic, thematic or contextual. The texts and task titles for component 03, Literature post-1900, should be chosen by the learner in discussion with their teacher

Future Applications

A good A-level pass in English Literature would enable students to pursue with confidence careers such as publishing, the civil service, training courses in written journalism, law and teaching.


Ellie: English Literature at Oxford
Will: English Literature at Cambridge
Jack: English Literature and Creative Writing at UEA