This course is based on the study of 4 main areas of English Literature: Shakespeare, contemporary drama, poetry and the novel. You will develop an understanding of how writers create a piece of literature and the importance of the context in which it is written and read. In some areas you will be invited to consider a wide range of interpretations to literary texts.
Students' perspectives: ‘I studied A Levels in English Literature, Film Studies and Media and got three grades A! I am going to study BA (Hons) Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University. I want to thank all my tutors at Bournville for their support and pushing me to achieve more than I ever expected.’
To obtain a certificate for Advanced Subsidiary GCE, you will need to have studied for and been assessed in 2 AS units.
To obtain a certificate for Advanced GCE, you will need to have studied for and been assessed on your performance in 4 A Level units including content studied in the AS year.
Teaching methods are based around group discussion and lecture centred learning. Coursework sessions are frequently run in workshop style, which enables you to gain the best possible grade for each piece of written work. In addition, students have the opportunity to go on a number of theatre trips. AS and A Level groups regularly go to see productions at the RSC in Stratford Upon Avon and The Lowry Centre in Manchester. The College also has strong links with the English department at Aston University and the students have bi-annual attendance at undergraduate lecturers by the professors in residence.
Work experience is a compulsory part of the course and helps you develop the skills required to progress to university and the world of work.
The components available at AS are: Component 1: Poetry and Drama (2 hour examination, open book, 60% of the qualification) This module is designed to introduce you to the discipline of literary studies. You will be exploring a range of contemporary poems published in the Poems of the Decade anthology and drawing comparisons between poems. In addition, you will be exploring the presentation of social themes in Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire. You will study the form, structure and language of these texts and also the context in which they are written.
Component 2: Prose (1 hour examination, open book, 40% of the qualification) You will develop your responses Mary Shelley’s ground-breaking gothic novel Frankenstein and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, shortlisted for the 2005 Man Booker Prize. The focus of your analysis of these texts will explore the relationship between science and society, including issues relating morality, religion, knowledge, identity and individualism.
The components available at A Level are: Component 1: Drama (2 hour and 15 minute examination, open book, 30% of the qualification) Learners explore two tragedies; one pre-1800 and one post-1800. You will be considering multiple critical interpretations of William Shakespeare’s Othello; approaching the play with feminist, post-colonial, Marxist and new historicist readings. In addition, the AS content for A Streetcar Named Desire will be reassessed in Section B of the exam.
Component 2: Prose (1 hour examination, open book, 20% of the qualification) Comparisons between Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go are revised and reassessed from the AS year.
Component 3: Poetry (2 hour and 15 minute examination, open book, 30% of the qualification) The Poems of the Decade anthology is revised from the AS year, but this time compared with unseen poems. Learners will develop their understanding and appreciation of how structure, form and language shape meanings in seen and unseen contemporary poems. In addition, learners will explore a collection of poetry by the metaphysical poet John Donne and analyse how his poems articulate complex anxieties surrounding religion, identity and love.
Component 4: Coursework (3000 word essay, 20% of the qualification) You will focus on the comparison between two prose texts. One text will be set by your tutor and you will have some choice over the other literary text with a clear intertextual link. Assessment will be by production of a coursework folder containing a well researched 3000 word academic essay.
5 GCSEs at grade 5 (C) or above, including at least a grade 5 (C) in English language and preferably grade 6.
Students will gain an AS in English Literature at the end of the first year of study. Students will then have the opportunity to enter a second year of study to gain an A-level qualification. Progression into the second year of study, however, is dependent on them gaining a minimum of a grade D in the AS component of the course.
With a qualification in English Literature, you could go into higher education and/or work in the media and communication industry, teaching, administration, publishing or librarianship.