English Literature is a course about how people view and write about the world. If you enjoy reading, it offers the chance to develop your interest in depth.   

As an A Level English Literature student you will study works of creative fiction from the major literary genres: prose (e.g. novels, short stories), drama and poetry. You will be encouraged to read widely and independently, and to develop the confidence to express your own opinions and interpretations.

Specific requirements

  • A minimum of five GCSEs, two at grade 6 and three at grade 4.
  • GCSE English or GCSE English Language and English Literature at grade 4.
  • Students wishing to enrol on more than one A Level English course must achieve a grade 6 in GCSE English Language and a grade 4 in GCSE English Literature.
  • You must be prepared to read widely and independently, and write essays.
    • Please click here to see grades conversions in line with the new grading system.

What will I study?

Awarding Body:

  • AQA


  • Examination - 80%
  • Coursework - 20%

Course Content:

  • In the first year of A-Level English Literature you will:

    • Learn about tragedy as a literary genre and think about ways it is explored by writers of drama, poetry and prose.

    • Study three texts: a Shakespeare play, a modern play and some poetry. There are two internal exams at the end of the year.

  • In the second year you will:

    • Complete a coursework folder based on texts of your choice, using different critical approaches such as Marxism or Feminism.  

    • Explore the features of crime writing, as well as continuing to explore tragedy. There are two exams at the end of the year.

    • Interpret unseen passages of text, applying your understanding of crime writing as a genre.

Where does it lead?

English is a useful subject for a wide range of careers including publishing, teaching, law, accountancy, marketing and jobs in the arts and media industries. A range of English-related courses are available at university, and our English Literature students have undertaken courses such as English and American Studies, English Literature, English Language and Literature, English and Creative Writing, English and Communication Studies, Education Studies and English and Journalism.


To apply for this course click here.


“I studied English Literature, English Language and Art & Design at Cadbury College, achieving ABC. I am now studying a degree in English with Creative Writing at the Manchester Metropolitan University.”

Ellie Glenn