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 9-4, including a minimum grade 6 in English Language and Literature.
English Literature is a highly academic course designed to enrich the literary appreciation and cultural awareness of all students. Students are taught in seminar-style classes, with lessons utilising a variety of different strategies building on the independent reading and research completed outside of the lesson. Across the challenging content, students develop their presentation and delivery, their critical understanding and evaluative skills alongside their clarity and precision in writing.
Students will read across various time periods, styles of writing and genres, from the older traditions of English literature to twenty-first century texts. The work produced ranges from detailed close analysis of the micro-elements of poetry and drama to comparing different novels – exploring the intersections of time periods, geography, class and gender. The course teaches students the skills to read well, to be critical, to form strict academic arguments and to be articulate: all of which are extremely important for university study.
- 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.