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English Literature - Edexcel A Level at East Durham College

Course description

Awarding Body - Edexcel

Unit 1: Students will study two dramatic comedies

Unit 2: This will include the study of two novels taken from the supernatural genre

Component 3: Post-2000 Specified Poetry and Victorian Poetry

Component 4: This unit allows students to study two novels of their own choice before producing an independent piece of coursework

Students will gain:

• Excellent essay writing skills
• Critical/independent thinking skills
• A wide social and historical awareness of literature
• An understanding of the school of literary critics
• A knowledge of literary language

You will sit AS exams at the end of year one and A Level exams at the end of year two.

Course content


Unit 1: Students will study aspects of the form of drama via two plays. Students study Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. This is an interesting and exciting unit that allows students to engage in critical debate surrounding the presentation of the social classes, gender, religion, education through various literary lenses within the world of comedy. This unit will be assessed by exam.

Unit 2: Students will enter into the weird and wonderful universe of the supernatural via Dracula by Bram Stoker and The Portrait of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde. Not only will students delve deep into the dark world of the gothic, but look closely at the social and historical contexts influencing the major themes and issues within the text. This unit will be assessed by exam.

Unit 3: In this unit, students will study a selection of poems from two published poetry texts. They will consider the concerns and choices of modern-day poets in a selection of contemporary poems. Additionally, students will study one of the most famous female poets in literary history, Christina Rossetti. This Victorian poet is famous for transgressing fairy-tale conventions and writing controversial poetry of her time. Students will have the chance to uncover the darker messages behind Rossetti’s poetry before being assessed by an exam.

Unit 4: The final unit of the course will be assessed through coursework. Students will study two novels of their choice before producing a comparative analysis, applying all of the skills learnt across the year. This unit gives students the chance to take control of their own literary research and produce a piece of work at their own pace. Previous students have covered novels such as The Color Purple by Alice Walker or even Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.


Entry requirements

For English Literature you will need grade B or above in English or English Literature at GCSE.

For a 3 A level programme you will need to have a minimum of 5 A* - C grade passes at GCSE which includes English and Mathematics.

For a 4 A level programme you will need to have a minimum of 6 A* - C grade passes at GCSE which includes English and Mathematics; it is expected that the majority of passes will be at A* - A grade.


40% Coursework- Internally assessed coursework folder and 60% exam- both AS and A2.

Financial information

*We make every effort to publish correct fees, however all fees are subject to change. Fees are correct as at the current time and are subject to change up to the date of enrolment.

Future opportunities

English Literature is a very useful subject for a variety of professions such as: teaching, journalism, librarian and information work, advertising/marketing, creative writing.

Further information

Traditional University Routes include:

BA (Hons) English Literature
BA (Hons) English Studies
BA (Hons) English Language
BA (Hons) Creative Writing
BA (Hons) History

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact East Durham College directly.

Last updated date: 12 April 2016
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