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Religious Studies A Level at The Judd School

Course description

Why choose this subject?

"The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting."  Plutarch

While Theology is an ancient intellectual discipline, no-one can doubt the momentous social significance of religion around the world today.  A study of religion and philosophy in the sixth form prepares students not only for further study, through development of critical thinking and extended writing, but also to engage with modern British society, steeped in Christian history and enriched by religious diversity.

Why study it at The Judd School?

Lessons balance class teaching and discussion with independent research and project work.  Students will have the opportunity to participate in debates, and research and present topics of interest to them. There will be visits to places of religious significance, as well as an opportunity to attend a philosophy of religion conference conducted by modern philosophers.

As well as Philosophy and Theology, students who take Religious Studies generally go on to study a wide range of subjects from medicine to law; universities are keen for their undergraduates to be able to think for themselves and the skills gained in Religious Studies demonstrate this very effectively.  Students will also develop their extended writing and skills of critical analysis, which are invaluable for further study.

Religious Studies is suitable for students of all faiths and none.  Students are encouraged to reflect on and develop their own points of view, while critically engaging with alternative ideas.

Course content

Philosophy of Religion:

A study of philosophy enables students to consider some of the "big questions" that have fascinated humanity throughout our history, from the existence of God and the soul to the problem of suffering and issues of morality.  Philosophy teaches us not what to think but how to think, requiring a combination of rigorous logic and creative imagination.  Students will examine the arguments of influential philosophers, engaging with key texts, and are encouraged to form their own responses.

Learners will study:

  • ancient philosophical influences
  • the nature of the soul, mind and body
  • arguments about the existence or non-existence of God
  • the nature and impact of religious experience
  • the challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil
  • ideas about the nature of God
  • issues in religious language

Religion and Ethics:

Ethics, or moral philosophy, is the study of the ‘good’.  It is concerned with how human beings should live, how we can define and understand ‘good’ and ‘evil’ and what is right and wrong.  Students will apply philosophical reasoning to the realm of morality, studying ethical theories from Aristotle to contemporary philosophers.  Students will also apply these theories to contemporary issues such as euthanasia and sexual ethics, as well as making connections between moral philosophy and religious belief.

Learners will study:

  • normative ethical theories
  • the application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance
  • ethical language and thought
  • debates surrounding the significant idea of conscience
  • sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs.

Developments in Christian Theology:

Religion continues to shape the world we live in today, and this unit enables students to study the key tenets of Christian belief in depth, from their roots in the theology of Athanasius and Augustine to the theological issues of the 21st century and the challenges to Christian belief from materialism and pluralism.

Learners will study:

  • Christian beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections and how they vary historically and in the contemporary world
  • sources of Christian wisdom and authority
  • practices which shape and express Christian identity, and how these vary within and between Christian groups
  • significant social and historical developments in Christian theology and religious thought
  • key themes related to the relationship between religion and society.

Entry requirements

The normal entry requirement is a Grade 7 at GCSE. Students who have not taken GCSE Religious Studies will need to have achieved a 7 in two other humanities, such as English Language, History or Geography.


How it will be assessed:

Exam only (no coursework). 

Three 2-hour written papers.

The normal entry requirement is a Grade A at GCSE. Students who have not taken GCSE Religious Studies will need to have achieved an A in two other humanities, such as English Language, History or Geography. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Judd School directly.

Last updated date: 12 October 2017
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Course code: OCR H573