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English Literature (A-level)

This highly successful English literature course welcomes students’ own interpretations and will introduce critical theory and new, exciting ways of analysing some of the world’s most well-loved literary works.

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Course Summary

Subject Area: A Levels
School Leaver - Academic
Location: Joseph Wright Centre
Full Time or Part Time: FT
Level: 3
Number Of Years: 2
Interview Required?: Y
Joseph Wright Centre

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Course Information for Students

English Literature is an ideal course for anyone with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for learning. It is an academically challenging but very highly-regarded discipline for both employers and universities. Having an A Level in English Literature is particularly attractive for students hoping to go to Russell Group institutions and on to graduate careers across the professional spectrum. This course will require you to analyse, interpret, compare and understand a wide range of literary texts from two specific literary genres throughout time (tragedy and crime writing). It particularly complements students who wish to pursue criminology, humanities, law and classics as we cover ideas from all of these areas in our curriculum. We offer a number of supra-curricular enrichment opportunities such as theatre visits, university trips and hosting guest speakers. If you have a curiosity and a flair for analysis, and are prepared to work hard, you are our ideal learner!

In order to be accepted into the Joseph Wright student body, you will need to have at least five GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including English Language at grade 5 and Maths at grade 4.

In addition, you should have GCSE English Literature at grade 5 [C/B] or above and this is particularly important in order to demonstrate your suitability in managing the demands of this qualification.

You will be expected to demonstrate a keen interest in literature and wider reading and work independently for at least 4 hours per week, per subject.

A recent school report will be required which demonstrates a committed attitude to learning.

It is assumed that students enrol on a two-year A Level programme of study consisting of three or more subjects. However, students will be expected to demonstrate a committed attitude to learning and make positive progress in their first year of study.

We follow the AQA Specification B route: Literary Genres. In Year 1, you will study the origins of classic tragedy from the Greco-Roman era, leading to a strong and confident understanding of the genre and its development through time. Paper 1 will also focus heavily on the study of William Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’, the work of Romantic poet John Keats and the modern American tragedy, ‘Death of a Salesman’

You will also complete your first unit of coursework, a creative piece based on a novel of your choice (1200-1500 words).

In Year 2, you will study the genre of crime writing, with close attention to the 21st century works. Our set texts for this paper are the post-modern  novel ‘Atonement’ , Graham Greene’s ‘Brighton Rock’ and 1800s crime poetry. Study will also be applied to analysis of unseen texts, that focus on Section A of Paper 2. All units are taught by subject specialists and fully resourced with our handbooks: these always prove very popular with students here at the centre.

A second piece of coursework will also be submitted in Year 2, based on the analysis of poems through a specific critical perspective (1200-1500 words)

All learning will be based on-site at our modern and vibrant Joseph Wright building, conveniently situated in the Cathedral Quarter of the city centre. We even have our own Starbucks on site, as well as state-of-the-art learning facilities and a well-stocked library.

You will need to have copies of the set texts so that you can annotate them in lessons and read outside of the lessons.

You will be assessed in internal ‘mock’ formal assessments throughout the year, as well as the coursework which forms 20% of the final grade. You will also sit two external exams at the end of the course (a 2.5 and 3 hour paper set and marked by AQA)

This course will help with entry to Higher Edu cation or employment. Career prospects include roles in creative writing, primary, secondary and A Level teaching, HR, marketing, advertising, media, research, policing and detection, recruitment consultancy, publishing, journalism, translation and many countless more.

For more information contact Derby College on 0800 0280289 or 

To directly contact one of the teaching team, email or

Course Information for Employers

If you are an employer and would like to know more about the apprenticeships and professional training we deliver or how you can get involved in co-creating and co-delivering curriculum, please contact us via email on, call us on 01332 387 421 or visit our employer pages here.

Career Information

This course could lead to one of these careers...

Teaching Professionals


Teaching Professionals




Higher Education Teaching Professionals


Higher Education Teaching Professionals

Authors, Writers and Translators


Authors, Writers and Translators

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DCG Success Stories

Young female with blonde hair holding a sign that reads 'I'm going to Nottingham University'.

Esme Wade

Esme Wade is delighted with her A-level grades after achieving an A* in Psychology and As in English Literature and Law.

I thought I’d get an A* in Law, not Psychology but I’m pleased with my grades and happy to be going to my first choice uni.

Read More about Esme Wade

Hannah McDonald in her PCSO uniform

Hannah McDonald

Confidence gained in English lectures helps A level student Hannah secure policing role

There aren’t many PCSO places so it’s extremely competitive and it was a tough recruitment process. My English lecturers were incredibly supportive in helping me prepare my application, even though we’ve not been at College for months because of lockdown. Going to JWC has definitely been confidence-building and a good grounding for my police career. My English teachers taught me how to speak up for myself and not be afraid to give my opinion.

Read More about Hannah McDonald

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Course Information Last Updated On: May 2, 2024 4:44 pm