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Philosophy & Ethics (Religious Studies) AS/A Level at South Dartmoor Community College

Course description

The areas of study in this course are fascinating; Philosophy being the original art of thinking from which all other academic subjects have arisen; Ethics (being a branch of Philosophy itself) is the study of how human beings ought to behave.


Course content

You will study such topics as ‘the self and immortality’ – examining Christian teaching on the soul, afterlife and election, including: Aquinas on the afterlife, how these ideas affect individual and communal moral behavior; ‘soul, mind and body’ - the philosophical language of soul, mind and body, metaphysics of consciousness, including: substance dualism & reductive materialism, with reference to: Descartes, Ryle, Penrose, Anscombe. Within the field of ethics, an example study topic is ‘significant ideas examining free will and the theological concept of determinism’, Calvin and environmental determinism, Skinner and genetic determinism and Dawkins views on conscience and the theological concept of conscience.

You will be well supplied with texts and given clear guidance on what to read and when and how to organise your work. Your essay writing skills will mature to a level which will benefit essay writing in other academic courses and give you confidence to cope with essay writing at degree level. You will have opportunities to develop your timing skills and final exams will be more routine than daunting.

Entry requirements

5 GCSE passes at grade C or above. GCSE Religious Studies (Full or Short Course) provides a good basis for coping with this course. The Full Course element is not compulsory however, and since essay writing is a necessary key skill, a grade CC or higher in GCSE English/English Literature is required. Enjoying reading and being able to handle controversial subject matter are essential.


There are 3 units: Philosophy, Ethics & Christianity. Each unit is worth 33% of the final grade. This course is 100% exam and there is no coursework.

Future opportunities

Many A level students have found the subject a relevant discipline for future careers in law, the media, history, politics, health, social services and any career where philosophical and ethical issues are important. Graduate jobs may include counsellor, charity officer, housing advisor, journalist, adult education lecturer / tutor, HE lecturer, teacher, lawyer, medical professionals like nurses, doctors.

Further information

A number of texts are provided. Opportunities arise for visiting other establishments for conferences and lectures and for meeting other students. Students are encouraged to purchase their own course textbook.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact South Dartmoor Community College directly.

Last updated date: 21 September 2016

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1-2 Years