Welcome to English Literature

English Literature will encourage you to enjoy the literary canon and its infinite variety, through a study of the writers’ methods and the influence of the social, cultural and historical contexts in which texts were written.

Students are expected and encouraged to read as widely as possible, and will be given opportunities to read and discuss texts creatively, rigorously and independently – even dramatically!

Students will study a variety of texts, including prose, poetry and plays. These will be inclusive of literature from pre-1900 and post 2000.


The English Language course is comprised of three assessments, with two written exams and one coursework unit.

  • Paper 1
    This paper is a three-hour written exam, focusing on Shakespeare, Unseen poetry and Comparing texts. This examination is worth 40% of the course certification.
  • Paper 2
    This paper is a 2 hour and 30 minute written exam, comprised of 3 essays on set texts and conceptual linking. This examination is worth 40% of the course certification.
  • Coursework
    This unit is a coursework unit, comprised of one extended essay (of 2,500 words) and a bibliography.

Career & Progression Opportunities

A universal subject, English Literature can be applied to whatever you choose to do in your chosen career.

It is also one of the Russell Group qualifications, known as a Facilitating Subject. This gives English Literature a high, global academic status. Employers and universities value evidence that candidates are able to work independently, think critically, and possess skills in written and spoken communication.

Many students who study English Literature will go on into general management, research and consultancy, or the public services, as well as employment into the creative industries, law, media & publishing.

Entry Requirements

If you’d like to study English Literature, you will need at least a Grade 5 in English Literature at GCSE, plus four other GCSE qualifications at a Grade 5 or above.

If you’d like to, you can download this information as a PDF file. Download the English Literature course information sheet (opens in a new tab) →