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Religious Studies (Philosophy and Ethics) A Level at Cedars Upper School

Course description

This 2 year course explores the history of ideas about what it means to be human,
from the teachings of the founding fathers of western philosophy (Socrates, Plato &
Aristotle) through to the work of contemporary thinkers such as Dawkins and
Fletcher. It also explores developments in Christian thinking.

Course content

There are three modules to study, each representing a third of the course:
1. Philosophy: Ancient philosophical influences, the mind, body & soul, life after
death, religious experience, existence of God & challenges to belief. Religious
language; the nature of God, 20th century perspectives.
2. Ethics: Natural law, virtue ethics, situation ethics, sexual ethics, euthanasia,
ethical language – key concepts: egoism, Kant, preference. Meta-ethics, free
will, conscience, developments in ethical thought.
3. Developments in Christian thought: Human nature & purpose, self &
immortality, knowledge & revelation of God, the nature of Jesus. Challenges to
secularism, pluralism, gender in society & theology.

Entry requirements

Philosophy & Ethics GCSE, preferably grade B or above. If you haven’t done the
subject at GCSE, you can still choose this A level if you have achieved grade 5 or
above in English / English literature.


Examinations, in the form of a choice of essay questions, will be taken at the end of
Year 13. There is no coursework. You will be assessed on the skills of knowledge &
understanding and analysis & evaluation.

Financial information

A possible £56 total for the two years for textbooks, half of which is payable from the
start of each year the course. Revision guides will cost extra.

Future opportunities

For degree level, philosophy/religious studies are useful subject on their own, but
could also be taken alongside literature, culture, history, politics, economics,
sociology, psychology or music. It has great value for careers as found in social
work, law, medicine, science, business, economics, environment, technology,
nursing and teaching. Universities see this A-level as amongst the most valuable for
grounding 6th form students in the transferable skills of rigorous academic analysis
and argument.

Further information

Philosophy & Ethics is a challenging yet stimulating course that is sought by
universities and employers alike due to the transferable key skills that it encourages
students to develop, including communication, working with others, improving your
own learning & performance and problem solving.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Cedars Upper School directly.

Last updated date: 03 November 2017
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Key information

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