Religious Studies - Ethics and Philosophy at South Wilts Grammar School for Girls
At AS the course explores key philosophical arguments about the existence of God, miracles and the problem of suffering. It also examines theories of how we can tell’ right’ from ‘wrong’ - in particular in matters of sexual ethics and war. At A2 more arguments for God’s existence are examined, as are ideas about an afterlife. There is also more exploration of how we know the ‘good’. We also discuss reasons given by thinkers to justify the creation of laws and punishments, considering in some depth the idea of ‘justice’. The meaning of language is also analysed; whether we use language in a different way when speaking of God or ‘the good’.
How will you learn?
This subject is always topical as we explore issues as they arise in the news, discussing implication of various outlooks and decisions. As well as drawing on the insights of thinkers and scholars from the past, high importance is placed on challenging each others’ thinking in pair work, group work and whole class discussion. There is also a chance to conduct independent research on an area of interest. You will be expected to explore and engage with a variety of texts. As well as any short tasks set, there will be an assessed essay approximately every two weeks alternating between Ethics and Philosophy. There is an expectation that students will read around the subject and we have negotiated a private membership package to Sarum College Library on behalf of our students which the schools subsidise.
Grade B or above at Short or Long course GCSE Religious Studies (or another Humanities subject if it was not studied at GCSE), plus a Grade B GCSE English or another essay writing subject.
Examination Board: Edexcel
What exams and coursework are involved?
At AS level students will take two exams: one will be based on a personal investigation of a topic chosen by the student and will be assessed by an exam (1¼ hours long). The other exam is 1¾ hours where three questions will be answered - two must be from one discipline (e.g. Philosophy OR Ethics) and one from the other. Each exam is worth 50% of the AS.
At A2 students will take two exams: one (1¼ hours long) will be based on an anthology of texts published by the exam board. In this exam, students will answer one question only (either Philosophy or Ethics) and will need to think in a critical and reflective way about the argument in the text, making connections between the different elements of the course. The other exam is 1¾ hours where three questions will be answered - two must be from one discipline (e.g. Philosophy OR Ethics) and one from the other. Each exam is worth 50% of your A2. The final grade is an average of the two years of study.
With its emphasis on high level thinking skills, exploring arguments and making well-reasoned judgements. RS is a desirable addition in preparation for a vast number of courses; medicine, law, history, business and English literature to name a few. It is prized by the top universities and also by more vocational courses such as police training, teaching and nursing.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact South Wilts Grammar School for Girls directly.