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Philosophy & Ethics (Religious Studies) (A Level)

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics is an academic discipline which promotes an enquiring, critical and sympathetic approach to the study of ethical and philosophical issues from a religious and non-religious point of view.

The course is both challenging and demanding, enabling students to develop analytical, critical and interpretation skills at a high level. The emphasis is on developing individual reasoned argument rather than a uniform response. This course leads to a qualification in A Level Religious Studies and is appropriate for students of any religious persuasion or none.

Summer Prep Work

Summer Prep Work - A Level

Future Opportunities

A Level Religious Studies, and in particular the Philosophy and Ethics options followed at Forge Valley, is a skills-based subject. The emphasis on problem-solving, the rigorous examination of evidence and development of sustained, well-supported arguments required to succeed in this subject makes it a highly respected academic discipline that combines well with both arts and science A Levels.

Furthermore, it is highly regarded by admissions tutors. While it is a perfect choice for students hoping to apply to related degrees in Philosophy, Theology or Religious Studies, it is also particularly useful for students considering careers in medicine, social work, personnel management, education, public relations, the police force, journalism and the legal profession.

Religious Studies is not considered to be a soft option; rather it features on the Russell Universities higher tier of preferred subjects at A Level.

What are the entry requirements?

GCSE Grade 5 in English Language.

While some GCSE Religious Studies topics will be revisited, the strong emphasis on the contribution of scholars means that it is not necessary to have studied Religious Studies at GCSE level. If you have studied it, a 5 is required. An open and enquiring mind is essential.

What will I study?

The two year course is made up of three modules with equal weighting:

Module name Topics covered
Philosophy of religion
  • Ancient Greek influences on philosophy of religion, specifically looking at Plato and Aristotle
  • The nature of the soul, mind and body
  • Arguments for the existence and non-existence of God
  • Issues in religious language
  • The nature and impact of religious experience
  • The problem of evil and suffering and its challenges to belief
  • Ideas about the nature and attributes of God
Religion and Ethics
  • Normative ethical theories such as Kantian ethics, natural law and situation ethics
  • The application of ethical theory to euthanasia and business ethics
  • Ethical language and thought
  • Debates surrounding conscience and free will
  • Sexual ethics and the influence of ethical thought on developments in religious belief
Developments in religious thought
  • Connections between beliefs, values and teachings both historically and in the contemporary world
  • Sources of religious wisdom and authority
  • The relationship between religion and society and how this is changing in the modern world
  • Christianity and Marxism
  • Feminist Theology
  • Christian attitudes towards other faiths




How will I be assessed?

Assessment is entirely by written examination. At A Level there is one 2 hour paper per unit each comprising 33.3% of the total marks. Students are required to answer three essay questions from a choice of four.