English Literature A-level is universally recognised by leading universities as a critical asset if you wish to apply for degree courses in Humanities or Social Sciences.

English Lit develops your ability to think critically and express your own ideas freely. It is an excellent foundation for careers that demand a command of spoken and written English, including law, journalism and media.

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What will I learn?

Studying AS English Literature has a distinct philosophy which centres on different ways of reading and the connections that exist between texts within the genres of Tragedy and Crime. In this way, students can gain a solid understanding of how texts can be connected and how they can be interpreted in multiple ways in order that students can arrive at their own interpretations and become confident autonomous readers. At A2 Level, students’ existing knowledge and understanding of Tragedy and Crime is enhanced by the study of critical theory in the independent coursework aspect of the course. Some of the texts studies at AS through to A2 include ‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare, the play ‘Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller and the crime thriller ‘Atonement’, written by Ian McEwan as well as Graham Greene’s ‘Brighton Rock’. Students will also study a range of poetry, including the works of John Keats and Robert Browning.

How is it assessed?

AS Exam:

Paper 1A – Literary Genres: Drama (1 hour 30 minutes) 50% of A Level

Paper 2A – Literary Genres: Prose and Poetry (1 hour 30 minutes) 50% of A Level

A2 Exam:

Paper 1 – Aspects of Tragedy (2 hours 30 minutes) 40% of A Level

Paper 2 – Elements of Crime (3 hours) 40% of A Level

Non-Exam Assessment – Theory and Independence (Coursework) 20% of A Level

Next steps

Studying English literature helps to sharpen your analytical skills. If you can take a text and find the themes plus connect it with other texts, theories and historical events, you are showing that you can handle complex ideas, search for patterns and interpret information in a wider context.

You will also develop your planning and research skills as well as gain knowledge of history, culture, philosophy and even human behaviour.

English is good for any job that involves communication, writing and / or literary knowledge. These include: advertising and marketing, writing and journalism, law, consultancy, business, teaching, performing arts, academia, government, linguistics, foreign languages, media and design. You could even be a freelance writer, which we think is one of the world’s best jobs!

Careers in the sciences, engineering, technology and maths also need more English than you think. Writing proposals, academic papers & articles and communicating with others is key to getting funding for projects and reaching people with your work.