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English Literature A Level (Distance Learning) at National Extension College *Fees Payable*

Course description



If you have an interest in reading and literature, and want to improve your ability to analyse texts and think critically, our A level in English literature is a great choice. You’ll learn about how and why authors use language to convey different meanings, develop your evaluative skills and improve your ability to compare different texts. Using pre-twentieth century literature as well as some more modern works, the course examines the cultural and social contexts in which different books were written and encourages the effective use of textual evidence to form cohesive and convincing answers to essay questions. 


You should allow for between 250 and 300 hours' study time, plus additional time for completing assignments. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 18 months from the date of enrolment.

Course content

Unit 1: Texts in context

  • Part 1: The Oxford Book of War Poetry
  • Attitudes to war
  • Images of nature
  • The soldier's perspective
  • The poems of Wilfred Owen
  • Reflections on the war
  • Poems written after the war
  • Part 2: Contextual linking
  • Newdigate Parish Magazine
  • The diary of Private W. Hay
  • Statement by Siegfried Sassoon
  • Letter from Wilfred Owen
  • Goodbye to All That
  • Testament of Youth


Unit 2: Creative study

  • Part 1: Strange Meeting
  • Part One
  • Part Two
  • Part Three
  • Character, theme, language and style
  • Part 2: Journey's End
  • Act I
    Act II
  • Act III
  • Character, theme, language and style

Unit 3: Reading for meaning: love through the ages

  • Part 1: Texts of the same genre
  • Unrequited love
  • Love of one's country
  • Love between women
  • Love after death
  • False protestations of love
  • Love between men
  • Mother and daughter love
  • Women's love for their husbands
  • The first kiss
  • Incestuous love
  • Part 2: Texts of different genres
  • Loveless relationships
  • Murderous love
  • Jealousy
  • Love for God
  • Love of nature
  • Lovers apart
  • 'Ruin'
  • The end of love
  • Exploitation
  • In extremis

Unit 4: Extended essay and Shakespeare study

  • Part 1: Othello
  • Act One
  • Act Two
  • Act Three
  • Act Four
  • Act Five
  • Language, character and themes
  • Part 2: The Yellow Wallpaper
  • The context of the novel
  • The treatment begins
  • The narrator's obsession with the wallpaper grows
  • The decline into breakdown
  • Character, setting, theme and style
  • Part 3: The Color Purple
  • The context and letters 1–21
  • Letters 22–48
  • Letters 49–68
  • Letters 69–90
  • Characterisation, themes and style

Entry requirements

A GCSE in English literature would be helpful but no formal qualifications are necessary.


This course follows specifications 2740 (A level), 1741 (AS) and 2741 (A2) from the awarding organisation AQA. Full details of the specifications can be obtained from AQA's website.

Two exams: 2hrs30m (30% of marks) and 2hrs (30% of marks)

Four AS assignments, six A2 assignments
Two coursework tasks (40% of marks)

Please note that due to upcoming changes the final opportunity to sit exams for this course isSummer 2016.

Financial information



It’s your choice: pay in full and discount your course fees, or spread the cost with our finance offer. To pay in instalments, you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative examples:

For the full A level
Course fee:   £545
Deposit:  £54.50
Amount of credit:   £490.50
Monthly payment:  £81.75
Duration of agreement:  6 months
Total repayable:  £545
Rate of interest:  0%(fixed)
0% APR representative.  
For AS level or A2 level
Course fee:  £325
Deposit:   £32.50
Amount of credit: £292.50 
Monthly payment:   £48.75
Duration of agreement:  6 months
Total repayable:   £325
Rate of interest:  0% (fixed)
0% APR representative.  
For enrolments in the UK there are no additional postage and packing charges. For enrolments outside of the UK the following postage and packing charges apply:


  • EU – £75 for the first course and £40 for second and subsequent courses
  • Rest of the world – £130 for the first course and £70 for second and subsequent courses

Further information

Essential textbooks


  • The Oxford Book of War Poetry, J. Stallworthy (ed), Oxford University Press, 2008
  • Hill, S., Strange Meeting, Penguin Books
  • Sherriff, R.C., Journey's End, Penguin Books


  • Heinemann Advanced Shakespeare: Othello, J. Seely (ed), Heinemann, 2000
  • Walker, A., The Color Purple, Orion Books
  • Gilman, C.P., The Yellow Wallpaper and Selected Writings, Virago Press


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact National Extension College *Fees Payable* directly.

Last updated date: 02 June 2015
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Key information

Contact details

    • Contact name:
    • Course and Fee Enquiries
    • Contact telephone number:
    • 08003892839
    • Email address:


  • More information

      This means you can study from anywhere!

      Further details of where you can sit any examinations are included in the Assessment section of each course.

      Please note that fees are payable for the National Extension College's courses.