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English Literature GCE A Level at Greenhead College

Course description

You'll already know, from your GCSE studies, some of the appeal of literature.  You'll know that it can move you and make you more aware of your own and others' experience, and that it leads you to face some of the big moral and philosophical issues.  Studying literature at A Level will take you further into the exploration of some of the most interesting fiction, poetry and drama of modern times as well as that of the past.  You will explore the ideas expressed in literature but also study the craft of writing and how writers use literary techniques to create meaning.

Course content

We currently offer OCR’s A Level Literature Specification.  This programme of study requires the students to complete the following three units.

Drama and poetry pre-1900 (H472/01) 

There are two sections to this component:

Section 1: Shakespeare. 
Students study Twelfth Night.

Section 2: Drama and poetry pre-1900. 
Students study one pre-1900 drama text and one pre-1900 poetry text.  For instance, The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster and Selected Poems by Christina Rosetti OR

Comparative and contextual study (H472/02)
Learners will prepare one topic and study two whole texts in the topic area.
This component is split into the following topic areas:    

  • The Gothic: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter and Dracula by Bram Stoker            
  • Dystopia: 1984 by George Orwell and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Both these units are assessed by closed text examination.

Literature post-1900  (H472/03)
Learners are required to study three literary texts. The three texts must include one prose text, one poetry text and one drama text:

  • The texts must have been first published or performed in 1900 or later
  • At least one of these texts must have been first published or performed in 2000 or later

This unit is assessed by a coursework folder comprising two essays which combined must be no longer than 3000 words.

Entry requirements

The college gives priority to its 12 partner schools. Places are offered to other applicants on a competitive basis.

All prospective students must achieve a GCSE grade 4 or higher in GCSE English Language and GCSE Mathematics.

To access a three A Level programme a student must achieve, in addition to the above, a minimum of grade 6's in three GCSE subjects.

Students who achieve a grade 8/9 profile at GCSE will be offered the opportunity to study for four A Levels.

To study English Literature, students must achieve a grade 5 in GCSE English Language.


The course is linear.

This qualification is assessed by two written examinations at the end of the two year period of study; in addition, a coursework folder of two essays for formal assessment needs to be completed during the second year of study.

Future opportunities

A qualification in English is seen as valuable by employers and educational institutions alike.  Moreover, an A Level in English Literature is evidence of the high standard of a student`s verbal skills, while the human dimensions of the subject make it personally and socially relevant.  Past English students have taken up careers in Medicine, Personnel Management, Law, Social Work, Journalism, Publishing, Speech Therapy, Librarianship, Film Production, Acting, Banking, Radio and Retail Management as well as Teaching and Lecturing in schools and colleges here and abroad.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 21 September 2017
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