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Religious Studies: Philosophy and Ethics A Level at Prince Henry's Grammar School, Otley

Course description

  • The number of people choosing RS in the UK has risen by 124% since 2013. This is far more than any other arts, humanities or social science subject.
  • The Russell Group of universities says that it provides ‘suitable preparation for university generally’ and, at Oxford University, 1 in 10 successful applicants for Politics, Philosophy and Economics and for History studied A Level Religious Studies.

Religious Studies is an engaging, stimulating and intellectually demanding course. It is a well-established discipline, highly regarded by all universities and professions including law, journalism, education, social and community work, police, business and politics. It challenges students to think deeply, discuss, reflect, critically analyse and evaluate different points of view and arguments across a wide range of issues in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance and respect. It is designed to enable learners to develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, philosophy, ethics and religion

Course content

Students will follow the Eduqas GCE Specification which has three components, each worth 33.3% of the qualification and assessed by examination.

Component 1 - Ethics

  • Ethical language – a wide range of ways of understanding ethical terms such as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.
  • Deontological ethics including Aquinas’ Natural Law and Kant’s Moral Theory, their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Teleological ethics including Fletcher’s Situation Ethics and Utilitarianism, their strengths and weaknesses.

· Each ethical theory is applied to two contemporary global issues, e.g. crime and punishment, digital surveillance versus human rights.

Component 2 - Philosophy

· The classical arguments for the existence of God – cosmological, teleological and ontological – including a range of modern and classical variations and their challenges.

  • Challenges to the existence of God from Psychology (Freud and Jung) and the Problem of Evil.
  • The nature of religious experiences including Near Death Experiences, their impact on religious practice and the extent to which such experiences are valid.

· Religious language, including a range of theories on its role and function as e.g. meaningful, descriptive, analogical, mythological or symbolic, as well as its relevance in the 21st Century.


Component 3 - Buddhism

· A study of the only world religion that does not require belief in a ‘god’. A study of classical and modern religious figures, and of a range of sacred texts, including their relative importance and relevance in the modern world.

  • Exploring different interpretations of Buddhist teachings concerning self, death, afterlife and the meaning and purpose of life.
  • Significant social and historical developments in Buddhist thought, including the unique nature of British Buddhism, gender roles and challenges from secularism.

· Buddhist practices that shape religious identity, including their development in response to contemporary social movements.

Entry requirements

So what do you think? This is the most important question to ask. The course is suitable for all students who are interested in discussion and debate, and who have an open and enquiring mind. Grade 5 in Religious Studies and grade 5 English is desirable due to the academic nature on the course. However, well-motivated and enthusiastic students without these requirements will be considered on merit.

Future opportunities

The course can lead directly to Theology, Religious Studies and Philosophy courses at university, but is also valuable for a much wider range of options.  It is on the Russell Group list of courses which provide good preparation for university in general and so is accepted for a range of arts/humanities courses, including PPE.  It is also highly suitable for students looking at careers in Medicine, Nursing and other healthcare professions.  The skills developed in RS make it suitable for careers in Law, Management, Teaching, Marketing, Civil Service and the Armed Forces amongst 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: 01 November 2017
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