Philosophy and Ethics

Why study Religious Studies (Philosophy and ethics)

This course is for students who want to explore the deeper questions behind religion and the structures that inform it. It is a rigorous and philosophical course that challenges candidates’ own beliefs as well as those of contemporary religions. We attempt to answer some of the big questions, such as “how ought I live?” “Does God exist?” and “Why is there evil and suffering in the world?” Christianity is the primary religion studied, alongside the thoughts of some of the world’s greatest philosophers and theologians. Candidates for this course should be prepared for some big thinking. Students will also explore some of the most important ethical questions, just as relevant today as when they were first asked.


What do I need to start the course?

There is an expectation that all students undertaking this would have achieved a minimum grade 6 in their English GCSE and minimum 6 in RS at GCSE.

What will I learn?


There are three components of study:

  1. Philosophy of Religion which include the study of ancient philosophical influence; arguments about the existence and non-existence of God; The nature and impact of religious experience; The problems of Evil; Life after Death; The nature of God; Soul, Mind and Body and Religious Language


  1. Religion and Ethics which includes the study of normative ethical theories; The application of ethical theories to two contemporary issues of importance; Ethical language and thought; Free Will and Conscience and the influence of ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs and the Philosophy of Religion



  1. Developments of Religious Thought which includes sources of religious authority; the relationship between Religion and Society; Social and historical developments in Theology and Religious thought. Students will focus on one religion in this component (Christianity).


How will I be assessed?


At the end of the two-year course, you will have a two-hour paper in each component with each exam being marked out of 120. Each component is equally weighted regarding the overall grade. This is 100% examination (three exams total).


What other subjects should I study with Religious Studies?


  • Religious Studies is equally suitable for anyone aiming to study predominantly arts, or predominantly science/mathematical subjects at A- level. The subject leads itself to be partnered with the other humanity subjects of History and Geography but also goes well with English, Psychology and Sociology.


  • The introduction of the study of ethics will be useful for those students wishing to study medicine, as now students must look at many medical ethical issues and give their thoughts on them.


  • Religious Studies provides transferable skills that can be used in many different degree areas, so enhances student choices beyond A’ Level. For example, for those thinking of studying law the subject provides them with the skills to debate, critically analyse and argue a point of view.



What can the study of Religious Studies lead to?


At University you can study for degrees in Law, Medicine, English, History, Sciences as well as Theology/ Philosophy.


Career Choice


Skills developed via RS A’ Level are very beneficial in careers such as:


Business/Financial Management




Social Work


The Armed Forces

Government and Politics


What do I need?


GCSE Grade 6 or above in Religious Studies. GCSE Grade 6 or above in English


(At the time of writing, we await OCR being accredited for the new specification but have chosen OCR as the Academy is already teaching the board’s A’ Level)