Course Type: Full Time

AS/A Level English Literature

  • Course Code CG60090
  • Start Date 6th September 2018
  • Duration 1 year
  • Campus Baltic Campus

Course title: AS/A Level English Literature

Exam board detail: AQA

Type of qualification: A Level (to be studied in conjunction with two other A Level subjects)

Delivery hours per week: 6 hours (1.5-hour lessons)


Section 1: Subject Overview

In studying English Literature you will explore a range of books, plays and poems from different times and places, and by different authors. You will also look at the political, social and historical contexts in which texts are written and read.

The study of English Literature exercises the imagination, the emotions and the intellect. It is about life and living and your relationship not only with yourself but with the world around you.


This programme offers students the chance to study a rich variety of literature from many different periods and lands. Amongst the texts we may study are Shakespeare’s Othello and the American classic A Streetcar Named Desire, a variety of love poetry across the ages, a Victorian novel like Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and some great American novels like The Great Gatsby and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. We also study post twentieth century literature like the poetry of contemporary Welsh poet Owen Sheers. All of these texts are stimulating and interesting and there are several opportunities for students to develop and research their own interests and to bring their own creative and independent skills to the tasks.


Quite simply, if you love reading and love the written word then this is the course for you. It will help to have an open mind, an enquiring brain and a willingness to work hard. If you enjoy putting pen to paper in a robust and imaginative way then English may well be the right choice. The essential academic skills are a clear mind, a precise writing style, sensitivity to nuance and hidden meaning and a good level of general knowledge.


Many of these strengths you will gain and polish throughout the two years and we will encourage you to do this through debate and discussion. The study of literature is about sharing perspectives and opinions and challenging received assumptions in order to reach a strong personal understanding. In our small groups we want to stimulate debate and give students the confidence to express their own judgements and to develop these so they are based on close, accurate textual understanding. A good sense of humour and a willingness to laugh are undoubted advantages.


AS Level end of year assessments:


Paper 1: Love through the ages: Shakespeare and poetry Study of two texts: one Shakespeare play and one AQA anthology of love poetry through the ages (pre-1900 or post-1900)

1 hour 30 minute exam paper


Paper 2: Love through the ages: prose Study of two prose texts. Examination will include an unseen prose extract

1 hour 30 minute exam paper


A Level end of year assessments:


Paper 1: Love through the ages Study of three texts: one poetry and one prose text, of which one must be written pre-1900, and one Shakespeare play. Examination will include two unseen poems

3 hour exam paper


Paper 2: Texts in shared contexts

2 hours 30 minutes




Non-exam assessment: Independent critical study: texts across time Comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900 One extended essay (2500 words) and a bibliography


Section 2: Assessment Overview

Assessment methods include:

Frequent Topic Tests

Mock Assessments

Practical Assessments

External assessments (exams) will take place in the summer term – May/June.


Section 3: What do other students study alongside English Literature at A Level?

Many of our students choose to also study Psychology, Media Studies and/or Sociology alongside English literature.


Section 4: What are the possible career opportunities after successful completion of this course?

Employers understand that a degree in English is 'a good thing', reflecting a creative and rigorous mind, an ability to communicate effectively and self-discipline. Past students are to be found in TV and journalism, commerce and finance, politics and the law. Some have become teachers, actors and writers: there is nothing limiting about an interest or degree in literature.


Section 5: How can I find out more if I have a question?


English Literature Teacher – denise.miller@gateshead.ac.uk

Curriculum Operations Manager - sarah.latheron@gateshead.ac.uk




An interview is required and guidance is required.

How to apply

You can register your interest for this course online, call 0191 490 2246 or email start@gateshead.ac.uk.

Qualifications needed

Average grade 6 GCSE profile (Higher entry criteria is required for anyone looking to study Maths and/or Sciences at A Level). However, if you do not meet this profile please still come to an Open Event to discuss all options with a member of the A Level Team.

Required experience

We welcome applicants without prior experience.

This course is free to those aged 19 years and under.

Most people aged 19 years and over can qualify for free or reduced course fees. This depends on your individual circumstances.

If you already have a full level 3 qualification and are aged 19 or over you can apply for an Advanced Learning Loan or pay the fee in full upfront, minus a 10% discount.

You can get more information at our Enrolment Events, by calling 0191 490 2246 or email us at start@gateshead.ac.uk

Find out more about Finance & Funding