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English Literature A Level at Sunderland College

Course description

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

Course content

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.

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 which will assist your comparison of an unseen poem in the AS 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 Attwood’s dystopian prophetic account The Handmaid’s Tale.

The second year will focus on coursework linked by theme, movement, author or period (20%) and three open-book exams (80%) on the texts outlined above and an exam specific to poetry as formal methods of assessment. All texts studied will involve wide reading on a largely independent scale and evaluated using a range of perspectives and literary criticism, including that of a psychoanalytic, Marxist and Feminist vein. You will study Geoffrey Chaucer’s bawdy comic The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale and a selection of poetry from Modernist Social Critic, T.S Eliot.

Entry requirements

You’ll need five GCSEs at grade C or above including at least a grade B in either English Language or English Literature.


The English Literature A-level allows you to develop your reading and writing skills in a logical way, with 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.

Future opportunities

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: publishing, editing, teaching, archiving, public relations, advertising, journalism.


How to apply

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

Last updated date: 28 January 2016
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    • Washington Campus an award winning campus that is home to Washington Sixth Form and our higher education provision. Located between Gateshead and Washington it was built on the site of the former Usworth School. It was developed to cater for up to 850 people from in or around the Washington area.

      The £10 million development provides an excellent learning environment for both academic and vocational course for 16 to 18 year old students, and also acts as our ICT specialist centre. It's equipped with the latest technology to ensure students experience the same systems used by industries in the real world and to help get them ready to move in to higher education or the workplace.

      Washington Campus is also the base for our higher education provision, providing a range of higher education coursesfor the region, from HNCs and HNDs to foundation and full degrees.

      There are also impressive enrichment facilities at Usworth with on site football and rugby pitches and a rec room fitted with a pool table, Xbox 360 and a chill out zone.