Accessibility links

Philosophy, Ethics & Religious Studies GCE A Level at Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College

Course description

You will acquire a large number of transferable skills that are useful for both university and the workplace. You will be encouraged to develop an open mind that can think clearly, not only using evidence to support arguments but also spotting poor ones, and developing your ability to analyse and argue in writing.

Course content

Philosophy of Religion – You will begin with the basis of all philosophy: the Greek scholars Plato and Aristotle. From there you will explore the arguments and evidence for and against the existence of God, the problem of evil, whether humans have a soul, what God is like, and whether God can be found in religious experiences or spoken about at all.

Ethics – You will explore different theories about how to be moral (both religious and secular), along with their practical application to issues such as euthanasia, business, and sexual ethics. Ideas surrounding the existence of a conscience will be considered as well as evaluating whether ethics is just a matter of opinion.

Development in Christian Thought – This strand looks at how Christianity has developed over the centuries, from an exploration of the nature of Jesus, to arguments surrounding how Christian thought has developed and impacted society, both in the past and present. How should a Christian challenge dictatorships such as Hitler’s or those in South America in the 20th century? You will also consider the influence of feminism on society and religion, as well as the role of other faiths and secular thought in contemporary society.

Entry requirements

No previous study of the subject is necessary. A level Religious Studies is suitable for students with an open and enquiring mind, who enjoy engaging with challenging concepts and ideas, and who are willing to develop extended reading and writing skills. Students wishing to register for the subject must have a grade 4 in GCSE English.


These three strands will be examined in three separate, equally weighted exams at the end of the two-year course.

Financial information

There are no costs associated with this course.

Future opportunities

Religious studies is highly regarded as an entry qualification for higher education courses; it is a hinge subject which sits comfortably with sciences, arts and humanities, providing perspective and support to all forms of study. Its analytical approach nurtures skills that are prized by both universities and employers, including innovative thinking, clarity of thought, and communication skills. This A level also fosters the writing and research skills that are the bedrock for all degree courses and wider employment opportunities. It is considered a valuable area of study in a number of different fields that rely on an ethical or philosophical perspective.

Notre Dame students have gone on to study at a wide range of universities including Cambridge, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Leuven in Belgium, Sheffield, Leeds, UCL, and King’s College London. Students have pursued occupations as varied as medicine, teaching, politics, law, journalism, economics, finance, marketing and business.

Further information

Examination Board: OCR

Did you know? 

According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.

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: 31 August 2018
Provider logo

Key information