A Level English Literature
I love English because it’s the study of what makes us human. Reading a book is one of the most wonderful things a person can do. You can travel back in time, you can fly to the moon, you can see the universe in letters on paper. And when you sit and study these ideas, these things that people have dreamed up – you can see a person behind it. You can see their hopes, their dreams – and you get to share in them.
Mr Smith (Teacher of English)
Exam Board: EDEXCEL
8 or more GCSEs at grades A*–C, including a minimum grade B in GCSE English Language.
Students will read across various time periods, styles of writing and genres, from the older traditions of English literature to the new, as well as read, watch and listen to a wide variety of texts and talk about them and the ideas they provoke. The course teaches students the skills to read well, to be critical and to be articulate. Writing well is important for many areas of life, as are good presentation skills. We work closely across the curriculum, in particular with the Media and Drama departments, to explore links that make students’ learning more practical and based in the real world.
Studying English Literature obviously teaches you to read and write well. But it also teaches you to plan, to construct, to be critical and to articulate complex arguments, to pull together connections and ideas, and to discuss and weigh up issues and values. English Literature is a traditionally well-regarded degree that allows graduates to choose from a huge range of potential career paths; Graduates have highly rated skills for journalism, advertising, marketing or PR and the education sector, but they are also statistically likely to end up in management for the commercial, industrial or public sector.
- Entertainment, Leisure & Culture (for example, actor, poet, librarian or archivist)
- Education (for example, English teacher or educational psychologist)
- Advertising & Marketing (for example, copywriter or charity executive)
- Media (for example, journalist or web editor)
- Health (for example, speech and language therapist or counsellor)
- Advocacy (for example, barrister or politician)
Entry & Training
Universities will have a range of approaches to the subject, from courses that focus on the analytical and theoretical, to those that favour creative writing. Some degrees will allow you to focus on a particular period (Mediaeval English) or a particular nationality (American and Canadian Literature), whilst many will allow you to combine your studies (English Literature and History, or Drama and English).
Universities that currently have a good reputation for English degrees include:
- St Andrew’s
Non-academic routes in this wide-ranging list of careers will depend on the demands of the job (for example, teaching usually requires a degree, but there is no set entry level qualification for a teaching assistant). There are an increasing number of apprenticeships in traditionally competitive sectors such as advertising or the media, and there may well be opportunities for school leavers’ jobs in admin and support roles which can lead to promotion.