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English Literature at The University of Birmingham School

Course description

At present, the English department at The University of Birmingham School follows the English Literature (Specification B) as outlined by AQA.

Please find the Specification here:

Please see below for more details about the specific content of the course.


Course content

AQA study at AS level is based upon genre. Here at University of Birmingham School, we focus on 'Aspects of Tragedy’. Our course introduces students to advanced literary analysis of the tragic genre in prose, poetry and drama texts. At present, students study F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Shakespeare's King Lear, and a selection of poetry by John Keats. Through these texts, we explore the nature of literary tragedy, with a specific focus on authorial methods, context and critical interpretations.
A level draws on some of the material taught at AS and is co-teachable. In addition to the texts studied at AS, we take a further examination module, 'Aspects of Crime Writing,’ reading Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Agatha Christie’s ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ and a selection of poetry, including Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad Of Reading Gaol. In addition, students produce two pieces of coursework linked to the module 'Theory and Independence'.  At least one of these will take the form of a conventional essay, written in response to a selection of critical theory; for the second task, there is an option to submit a re-creative piece, along with a commentary written in light of critical theory. Critical perspectives include Marxism, feminism, narrative theory, post-colonial theory, eco-criticism and ‘Literary Value and the Canon’. Both tasks depend upon the independent reading and interests of the student and are completed under minimal supervision.

Entry requirements

For more information about our current Entry Requirements and application process, please visit our website.


The AS level course is assessed with two examinations at the end of the year, whereas the A level course is assessed with one examination at the end of the year, and two pieces of written coursework.

Future opportunities

Our A level course provides students with an excellent grounding in literary analysis and theory, whilst the focus on independence and additional study equips them well for studying English, or any other analytical subject, at university. A degree in English will furnish you with highly transferable, emplyable and desirable skills beyond university and into employment.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The University of Birmingham School directly.

Last updated date: 12 November 2018
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Key information


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    • We are located on the University of Birmingham's Selly Oak campus, on the corner of Weoley Park Road and the Bristol Road, in front of the Orchard Learning and Resource Centre. There is some visitor parking on site at the front of the School during the day. All visitors should report to the main reception to be signed in.