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Philosopy and Ethics at St Mary's Catholic High School

Course description

“I think, therefore I am” (Descartes). Are you real? Prove it! Having problems? Try this! Does God exist? If so, why didn’t she stop the Japanese Tsunami? Are you still with us? What is the truth anyway? What happens when we die? Think! Do Philosophy and Ethics. Be someone. Philosophy literally means “the love of wisdom”. We
can define ‘wisdom’ as “the proper understanding about the nature of reality”. Philosophy and Ethics is about a search for truth concerning our own nature, the nature of the universe and the nature of God.

Entry requirements

For AS study you will need a minimum of 4 GCSEs at grade B with a minimum of one other GCSE grade C or above.  You must have GCSE Maths and English at a grade C or above.  We would expect you to have at least a GCSE  grade B in the subject you wish to study or a closely related discipline.


In AS all students will study Philosophy for the first term and be prepared for the January external module. This part of the course is very popular and you learn about the following:
• The debate about whether God created the world and whether he is a omni-benevolent God
• The Cosmological argument (is there evidence in the universe that points to a creator?)
• The Teleological argument (design points to a creator)
• The Ontological argument (proof as to whether there is a creator from the mind)
• Plato and the analogy of the cave (what is real?)
• The theory of forms
• Kant and the moral argument (does our morality come from God?)
In the second term, all students will study Ethics and be prepared for the May/June external module. This part of the course is very different and even more popular with some of the students. You learn about the following:
• Different ethical theories that aim to define how we act the way we do – Natural Law, Kantian ethics and Utilitarianism
• A study of ONE ethical religion – this can be an individual choice or follow the Roman Catholic Church teaching

Apply each ethical theory to the following issues;
1. Abortion
2. Genetic engineering
3. War and Peace
4. Euthanasia

At A2, the course follows a similar model to AS with a January and May/June external examination. Topics covered include;
• A2 Ethics - Sexual ethics, Virtue ethics, Environmental ethics, Meta Ethics and the very popular Free Will and determinism
• A2 Philosophy – Miracles, The attributes of God, Religious Experience, problem of evil

Financial information

St. Mary’s Sixth Form has a bursary scheme that supports students, who meet eligibility criteria, with the cost of attending college.

The bursary scheme is made up of 2 parts - a payment of £1,200 to a small group of the most vulnerable and a discretionary fund for schools to distribute. The most vulnerable are classified as:

• young people in care;

• care leavers;                         

• young people in receipt of Income Support;

• disabled young people in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who are also in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

The discretionary element can be accessed via an application form and students should contact the Sixth Form office for further details. The College will consider every request for financial assistance and will endeavour to target the fund to help those students in greatest need

Future opportunities

Philosophy and Ethics forces us to think, to look at the wider picture and to consider whether to blindly follow the lead of others. It teaches us to think reasonably and rationally to make good criticisms of the thinking of others and to show the weaknesses in their thought. Philosophers are extremely skilful in devising clever solutions to tricky problems. It provides a firm foundation for many careers such as: administration in local or central government, charities administrator, computer analyst/programmer, information management, insurance underwriter, journalist, medicine/consultant/nurse, marketing manager, personnel manager, police, social worker, solicitor/barrister/lawyer, teaching in schools & colleges of FE.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 20 May 2014
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years