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A Level Religious Studies (Philosophy and Ethics) at Ricards Lodge High School

Course description

To enjoy an A level in Religious Studies you must have an enquiring mind, an interest in religion and a desire to examine some of the most important questions which face humankind. You do not need to have a personal religious belief, although it’s fine if you do have one. As you will have completed the GCSE course, there will be many areas of study which will be familiar and for which the GCSE will have helpfully prepared you. Naturally, the demands of A level are greater, and you will need to be able to read quite challenging texts, take notes, discuss and examine a range of different issues and write a good examination answer.

Course content

Hopefully, your AS and A2 studies will be more than a means to an end for you. This subject has something extra - real value added features:

  •  Exploring the mysteries of human existence.
  •  Analysing and evaluating the views of others and substantiating your own.
  •  Being challenged to seek answers to the mysteries of life and death.
  •  Looking at such issues as ‘Does God exist?’ and ‘What happens when we die?’
  •  Testing the views of others, including scholars.
  •  Challenging the evidence of testimonies.
  •  Being aware of the historical, social and cultural influences on the way ideas have developed and of how the past influences the future.
  •  Facing the challenge of exploring questions that have no answers.

Entry requirements

GCSE English Language Grade B, GCSE Religious Studies Grade B. Students applying for this course must have a minimum GCSE APS of 44 points.


All assessment is undertaken under exam conditions and your answers are assessed against assessment objectives, which fall into two categories:

  •  AO1 - Knowledge and understanding: 70% at AS, 60% at A2.
  •  AO2 - Critical argument and justification of a point of view: 30% at AS, 40% at A2.

As you move from AS to A2 you will be expected to demonstrate a wider range and depth of knowledge and understanding and a greater maturity of thought and expression, so the weighting of the objectives shifts as you move to A2 and more marks are proportionally credited to AO2 than AO1. You need to be aware of the difference between AO1 and AO2.

The former requires you to look at the issue and explain the facts, issues and arguments. The latter requires you to weigh these matters up and evaluate them – are they right or wrong, strong or weak? You have done this already at GCSE when you are asked to consider your opinion and to consider possible alternative or opposing views.

Future opportunities

According to AGCAS - the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service. RS (Philosophy and Ethics) graduates go into a wide range of careers. However they, and employers, feel that it particularly prepares students for the following careers: Broadcast, film, video and interactive media sector, education sector, financial services sector, legal sector, politics, publishing sector, social care sector, voluntary sector, social & pastoral care, community work and social work.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Ricards Lodge High School directly.

Last updated date: 07 May 2015
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    • The combined 6th form of Ricards Lodge High School and Rutlish School offer students at every academic level access to courses in all curriculum areas including our specialist subjects – Mathematics, Computing, Performing and Visual Arts – ensuring access to University Education and a wide range of vocational careers. As a 6th form student at RR6 you will benefit from our commitment to first class teaching and also to providing a pastoral framework that will support you in becoming an independent achiever. Our Director of Sixth Form will work across both schools to ensure the quality and continuity of support, advice and guidance.

      You will also have access to new, high quality accommodation and resourcing including a learning resources centre,  wi-fi facilities and specialist classroom space.