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Philosophy AS & A-Level at Newcastle-under-Lyme College

Course description

What can we know? What is human consciousness? Are there objective ethical values? Philosophy deals with the big questions in life and examines the rich treasure trove of answers to questions such as: What is the nature and limitation of our knowledge? Does God exist? How do we decide what is right? What is human consciousness? Philosophy A Level will appeal to you if you enjoy thinking deeply, reading critically and expressing your ideas clearly in essays and discussion.

Your opinions will be challenged in lively classroom discussion as you are led through the maze of dilemmas. A Level Philosophy is the antidote to learning facts and figures: this subject encourages you to think for yourself! The course is complimentary to both Arts and Science A Levels and prepares you for allied academic subjects at university as well as Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) or straight Philosophy. Furthermore, thinking is a vocational skill and Philosophy graduates are extremely marketable in a wide variety of fields such as Law, Journalism and Public Services.

Course content

The A Level Philosophy course follows the AQA syllabus covering:


• Perception: What are the immediate objects of perception?
• The definition of Knowledge
• The origin of concepts

Metaphysics of God

• The concept of God
• Arguments for the existence of God
• Religious Language

Moral Philosophy

• Ethical Theory: Utilitarianism, Deontology, Virtue Theory
• Ethical Language

Metaphysics of Mind

• The mind and body problem
• Dualism

You will be actively engaged in a broad variety of learning strategies including: debates, reading, written work, games and online forums.


Entry requirements

Usually you'll need five or more A*-C (9-4) grades at GCSE, including maths and English. A new grade scale is in operation for maths and English which is numerical. The equivalent to a B grade will be a 6 and the equivalent to a C grade will be 5 for entry requirement purposes.


Progression from the first to second year will be determined by a progression exam and promonitor assessments throughout the first year. There are then two 3 hour exams at the end of the second year each worth 50% of the final grade. One will cover Moral Philosophy and Epistemology and the other Metaphysics of God and the Metaphysics of Mind.

Financial information

Newcastle Maintenance Allowance (NMA): Anyone with a household income under £21,000 can receive £20 per week financial support to help pay for travel and meals and meet the costs of essential trips, books, stationery and equipment. The payments will be subject to full attendance on your course. A range of other financial support is available, depending on your personal circumstances. For more details visit

Future opportunities

Philosophy is a rigorous academic subject which allows you to pursue the most fundamental questions which have challenged humanity from the beginning of time and in the process develop key analytic and evaluative skills which are highly regarded by Universities and employers alike. These translate into law particularly well due to the focus on debate and argument or Business, Marketing or Education.

Further information

Guest speakers are invited to enrich the student experience and give a sense of philosophy in a university setting in preparation for degree level study. There is also a Philosophy debating club available for students to extend their class based learning.

How can I find out more?

Contact course leader Anthony Collins at:

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Newcastle-under-Lyme College directly.

Last updated date: 17 November 2016
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