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Philosophy and Ethics A Level at Cranbrook School

Course description

AS GCE Philosophy and Ethics comprises of four units, each on a different key area of philosophical or ethical investigation. Each of these units is made up of a variety of smaller topics. There is no coursework for this subject; rather there is an examination paper at the en of the course. All units are equally weighted.

At AS, we focus on Epistemology and Philosophy of Religion. Through the study of philosophers such as Plato, Locke, Descartes and Leibniz, these two topics ask questions such as what is real and how can we know anything? We will look at the role that our senses, and the world around us, provide knowledge, and what the difference between belief and knowledge are. We will also explore the arguments for and against the existence of a deity, and discuss if the world ‘God’ actually means anything.

At A2, we will be doing in-depth studies of a wide range of ethical issues such as war, animal testing and the death penalty by debating what the problems are, and what the moral thing to do would be. In order to help make such decisions, we will be studying a variety of ethical theories from the like of Kant, Aristotle and Bentham. Our final topic in year 13 is the Philosophy of Mind, where we will explore ideas about the body and soul, life after death and the importance of reason. This topic includes an examination of psychological ideas such as cognitivism and the psyche, as well as an examination of the impact of sociology and anthropology on how we identify ourselves.

Course content


  • Unit A: Epistemology
  • Unit B: Philosophy of Religion


  • Unit A: Ethics
  • Unit B: Philosophy of Mind

Entry requirements

 A grade B or above in English would be an advantage, although not a necessity.

Future opportunities

This course has strong links with other subjects, such as History and English, although it also contains elements of sociology, psychology, classics and anthropology. As such, by studying Philosophy and Ethics you are opening up a wide variety of subject options in further education. In fact, the Russell Group universities count this course as one of the most valuable GCE qualifications to have.

In terms of the subject’s use for future careers, according to a recent Times article ‘Philosophy is, in commercial jargon, the ultimate "transferable work skill"’. Whilst this qualification is extremely useful in a wide range of careers, it is particularly well suited to professions such as medicine, law and education, as the skills it teaches you is the ability to critically analyse and evaluate sources, and argue to a logical conclusion, yet at the same time being tolerant and respectful towards the views of others.

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: 28 September 2016
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years