A level

Course Level

Level 3


2 years full-time




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The study of A-level English Literature will enable you to explore the world in different time periods and in different social and cultural contexts. You will need to have a passion for reading as you will cover a minimum of eight texts, including poetry, prose and drama. 

Throughout your studies, you will gain a range of different skills that will support you in your progression into higher education and into employment. You will learn to analyse texts from different perspectives, exploring the ways in which different readers interpret them. You will develop strong analytical skills, developing strong academic arguments that you can confidently communicate in discussion and on paper.

On completion, you can go onto degree level, an apprenticeship or get started on your career, utilising your English Literature A-level to enable you to become an invaluable analyst and creative influence in careers in every sector.

Why choose A-levels at our sixth form centre?

  • PREPARE FOR UNIVERSITY AT A UNIVERSITY – We can provide you with relevant work placements, masterclasses, guest speakers, trips and more
  • AWARD-WINNING SUPPORT – We have won national awards for our student support, which our sixth form students can tap into, from tailored academic support to financial assistance and health and wellbeing services
  • OUTSTANDING LEARNING FACILITIES - We have invested £5.5 million into our brand-new sixth form centre, which includes lecture theatres, classrooms, science and computer labs, practical training facilities and open study spaces
  • MOVE UP TO UNIVERSITY – Want to keep studying at a higher level? This A-level will support your progression to degree level
Find out more about our sixth form centre and our vision for our A-level students. View video.

Course breakdown

To achieve your English Literature A-level, you will cover a minimum of eight texts that will include:

  • Poetry
  • Prose
  • Drama

Three of these texts will have been published before 1900. This will include at least one play by Shakespeare. At least one of the texts you will study will have been first published or performed after 2000. Your assessment for this course will include an independent study. 

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

  • You will need 4 GCSE at grade 5 or above, including Grade 5 in English (Language or Literature) to study this A-level.

Supporting documents required

  • School applicants will be required to provide a school report, which must include attendance. This will be assessed in conjunction with your qualifications and application during the confirmation of your place at University College Birmingham.

Guaranteed progression

Students who achieve 56 UCAS points or more from this qualification will automatically be guaranteed a place on a degree course at University College Birmingham. Some undergraduate courses require additional entry requirements, so applicants are advised to check entry requirements before applying.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

You will be assessed through one coursework assignment completed during your course (worth 20% of the A Level) and written exam papers in the Summer of your second year. These exams will assess your ability to:

  • produce informed, personal and creative responses to literary texts
  • analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in literary texts
  • understand the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received
  • explore connections across literary texts
  • explore literary texts informed by different interpretations

Your class work and directed learning are designed to prepare you well for your assessments and to help you to develop a range of skills that will help you in your future studies and work.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024.

We are creating something unique and special for Birmingham and I am delighted you are considering us for your next steps. Studying A-levels requires discipline and determination, but it is also incredibly rewarding, offering you a deep insight into the subjects you choose to study. Sixth form is also an opportunity for you to discover what’s important to you and how you want to make your mark on the world. Our aim is to support and challenge you through this, while developing your character and widening your horizons so you flourish, professionally and personally. 

Rebecca Tigue Sixth Form Centre Principal

What will this course prepare you for?

This course can lead to the study of English Literature at degree level. However, the skills you develop will open up other pathways. You may choose to progress to degree courses in teaching, journalism, media and communications or publishing.

You might also choose a degree which is less directly linked to English literature such as law, politics or history. If, at the end of your studies, you are keen to enter the world of work, you could explore apprenticeship options in a range of different fields. 


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We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


Find out more

Our new sixth form centre

University College Birmingham is to begin offering a range of A-level courses as part of a major multi-million-pound investment in a brand-new sixth form centre.

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