Key Info

Full Time
Course Length
2 years
Course Level

This course is for students who are passionate about reading with a desire to study Literature at an advanced level. It’s ideal for those who want to develop their analytical reading and academic writing skills.

What do you need to apply for the course?

You’ll need five GCSEs at grade C or above including at least a grade B in either English Language or English Literature. An enthusiasm for debate and an independent attitude will help you get the most from this course.

Common combinations with other subjects:

History, English Language, Classical Civilisation, Sociology, Psychology, Media, Film, Law, Drama, Religious Studies.

What are the key things you’ll learn?

The English Literature A-Level allows you to develop your reading and writing skills in a logical way and has a formal assessment in the style of two open-book exams in the summer of your first year. Leading up to this you will be assessed in class using a series of methods ranging from Q and A, debate, individual/group tasks and mock exams.

In the first year you’ll study Drama, Poetry and Prose.  This includes; a study of two plays from the Tragedy genre; the classical: William Shakespeare’s Othello, and the modern; Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. This will help you understand the origins of Tragedy as well as how the genre is utilised in archaic and more contemporary styles of writing.  Your analysis and interpretation skills will be further stretched with an Anthology of Modern (post 2000) poetry featuring writers such as Fanthorpe, Heaney and Duffy. This will assist your comparison of an unseen poem in the A-Level exam. You will also complete a comparative study on the topic of Science and Society using Mary Shelley’s iconic gothic classic Frankenstein (1818) and Margaret Atwood’s dystopian prophetic account, The Handmaid’s Tale. All of the above will be looked at holistically as narratives and you will be analysing why authors make certain choices when telling their stories; as well as the effect that their writing has upon the wider public.

This course is linear and has the option to perform as a one year standalone AS Level or a 2 year A-Level qualification.

The second year focuses upon coursework linked by theme, movement, author or period (20%) allowing you independent choice on what you write on as well as three open-book exams (80%) upon the texts outlined above, as formal methods of assessment. All texts studied will involve wide reading on a largely independent scale and must be evaluated using a range of perspectives and literary criticism including that of a psychoanalytic, Marxist and Feminist vein. As part of your A2 year you will also study Geoffrey Chaucer’s bawdy comic: The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale, giving you key insight to the use of Middle English within Literature.

How you will learn

This course uses a dynamic range of teaching methods generally within a classroom environment. You will experience a range of activities including: Individual, paired and group work, creative interpretation and independent study skills. Your speaking and listening skills will be honed to perfection due to a strong emphasis on interactive, student-centered learning. You might also take part in theatre and university visits as a way of developing your understanding of texts and enriching your knowledge of Literature.

Where could this course take you?

The course opens up a route way to further study at Sunderland College or a university of your choice, in subjects such as English, Journalism, Philosophy, Media and Teaching.

Possible careers include:

Publishing, editing, teaching, archiving, public relations, advertising, and journalism. Your opportunities are almost limitless.

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