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Religious Studies (Philosophy and Ethics) A level at John Henry Newman Catholic College

Course description

The AS course in philosophy and ethics begins with a study of a range of arguments some of which centre on one question – is it possible to prove that God exists? Both believers and non-believers are often surprised by the answer. This is followed by an investigation into the claim that miracles occur, sometimes in circumstances where people have survived in the face of impossible odds or where there are claims of miraculous medical cures. The existence of evil is also an area studied on the AS course, evaluating evidence which suggests both natural and supernatural explanations. Ethical questions relating to war, and sexuality are also part of the study of philosophy and ethics at AS. In ethics more specifically the focus is on how we can make a moral decision, and researching different methods and analysing their usefulness in everyday life.

The A2 course offers the opportunity to study at a more advanced level arguments which support or challenge beliefs in life after death, including an evaluation of recent scientific evidence. Claims of religious experience and the nature of these claims are also an important area for investigation. Arguments against religion which form the basis of atheism also form an important part of the A2 course. Ethical issues relating to justice, law and punishment complete the study of philosophy and ethics at A2.

Course content

The study of philosophy and ethics offers the opportunity to reflect on some of life’s most fundamental questions, questions which help us understand the meaning of existence and what it means to be human. Some of these challenging questions include: Does life have any meaning or purpose? Is there a God? If there is a God and God created everything, did he create suffering and evil? Do miracles happen or does science always offer an explanation? Is it ever right to kill? Should we ever commit evil so that good may follow? Does morality come from religion? Should I act for the greater good or out of love? So many of these questions form part of religious and political discussion – the study of philosophy and ethics offers the opportunity to investigate these issues in detail.

Entry requirements

Prospective candidates will benefit from a grade 5 or above in GCSE Religious Studies and a minimum of 5 in English.

Assessment

Short Course (Year 12)
3 external examinations
Full Course (Year 12 and 13)
3 external examinations
Component 1:
An Introduction to the Study of Religion
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes
33⅓% of qualification Component 1:
A Study of Religion
Written examination: 2 hours
33⅓% of qualification This component offers the choice of the study of one religion from a choice of six:

 

  • Option A: Christianity
  • Option B: Islam
  • Option C: Judaism
  • Option D: Buddhism
  • Option E: Hinduism
  • Option F: Sikhism

There will be four themes within each option:

  • religious figures and sacred texts
  • religious concepts
  • religious life
  • religious practices.

Learners will be expected to answer one question from Section A out of a choice of two and one question from Section B out of a choice of three in this component.
Questions can be taken from any area of the specification.

This component offers the choice of the study of one religion from a choice of six:

 

  • Option A: Christianity
  • Option B: Islam
  • Option C: Judaism
  • Option D: Buddhism
  • Option E: Hinduism
  • Option F: Sikhism

There will be four themes within each option:

  • religious figures and sacred texts
  • religious concepts and religious life
  • significant social and historical developments
    in religious thought
  • religious practices
  • religious identity.

Learners will be expected to answer one question from Section A out of a choice of two and one question from Section B out of a choice of three in this component.
Questions can be taken from any area of the specification.

Component 2:
An Introduction to Philosophy of Religion
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes
33⅓% of qualification Component 2:
Philosophy of Religion
Written examination: 2 hours
33⅓% of qualification There will be four themes within this component:

 

  • inductive arguments for the existence of inductive arguments for the existence of
    God
  • deductive arguments for the existence of God;
  • challenges to religious belief – the deductive arguments for the existence of God;
  • challenges to religious belief – the
    problem of evil and suffering; and religious experience.

Learners will be expected to answer one question from Section A out of a choice of two and one question from Section B out of a choice of three in this component. Questions can be taken from any area of the specification.

There will be four themes within this component:

 

  • arguments for the existence of
    God
  • challenges to religious belief
  • religious experience
  • religious language

Learners will be expected to answer one question from Section A out of a choice of two and one question from Section B out of a choice of three in this component.

Component 3:
An Introduction to Religion and Ethics
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes
33⅓% of qualification Component 3:
Religion and Ethics
Written examination: 2 hours
33⅓% of qualification There will be four themes within this component (including applied ethics in themes two to four):

 

  • ethical thoughts
  • Aquinas’ Natural Law
  • Fletcher’s Situation Ethics
  • Utilitarianism.

Learners will be expected to answer one question from Section A out of a choice of two and one question from Section B out of a choice of three in this component. Questions can be taken from any area of the specification.

There will be four themes within this component:

 

  • ethical thought
  • deontological ethics
  • teleological ethics
  • determinism
  • free will

Learners will be expected to answer one question from Section A out of a choice of two and one question from Section B out of a choice of three in this component. Questions can be taken from any area of the specification.

Future opportunities

RS Philosophy and Ethics is highly regarded by universities and employers as it reveals an ability to think independently discuss and evaluate. It is an excellent preparation for any humanities degree.

RS Philosophy and Ethics prepares students for the following careers;

  • Legal and medical services
  • Journalism and publishing
  • Education and social work
  • Broadcast, film, video and media sector
  • Politics

Further information

There will be opportunities to attend philosophy and ethics lectures and seminars at universities in Birmingham and hopefully throughout the country. We hope also to invite lecturers to speak at our college.

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 November 2017
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