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Religious Studies - A Level at Baxter College

Course description

The GCE RS & Ethics course will give you the opportunity to develop a rigorous approach to the nature of argument and discussion. It helps you become quick learners and gives you strong skills in writing, analysis and critical thinking. With its emphasis on the big questions and alternative points of view, this subject provides good training for looking at larger questions, like globalization and technology. 

Ethics and Philosophy is really at the core of just about everything we do. If you study humanities or political systems or sciences in general, ethics and philosophy is really the mother ship from which all of these disciplines grow. 

You will have the opportunity to take part in external debates at the University of London and a Conference lead by Dr Peter Vardy. (Peter Vardy is a British academic, philosopher, theologian and author)

Content Units of Study

Possible Year 12 Units:

Students will study elements of the following units - 

Unit One: Religious Ethics

You will study some of the following Ethical Theories: 
The ethical theories: 

  • Natural Law 
  • Kantian Ethics 
  • Utilitarianism 
  • Situation ethics 
  • Religious Ethics 

These ethical theories are then applied to some of the following ethical issues: 

  • Abortion 
  • Euthanasia 
  • Genetic engineering 
  • Animal rights 
  • War, peace and torture

Unit Two: Philosophy of Religion

Ancient Greek influences on Philosophy of Religion 
Basic knowledge of the thinking of Plato and Aristotle examine the strengths and weaknesses in the thinking of Plato and Aristotle in the areas specified below:

  • Plato: the Analogy of the Cave 
  • Plato: the concept of the Forms; the Form of the Good. 
  • Aristotle: ideas about cause and purpose in relation to God 
  • Aristotle`s understanding of material, efficient, formal and final cause 
  • Aristotle`s concept of the Prime Mover

They may also have the opportunity to explore: 

  • Cosmological argument 
  • Religious experience 
  • Psychology of Religion 

Possible Year 13 Units 

Students will study two units from the following - 

Unit 3 Religious Ethics

  • Meta-ethics; 
  • Free will and determinism; 
  • Conscience; 
  • Virtue ethics; 
  • Applied ethics topics

Unit 4 Philosophy of Religion

  • Religious language 
  • Experience and religion 
  • Nature of God 
  • Life and death 
  • Miracle

Unit 5 - New Testament (John)

  • Context of Gospel 
  • Nature and purpose of signs 
  • Crucifixion and resurrection 

Unit 6 - Fundamentalism

  • The Christian origins of the term; its precise and general meanings; 
  • Its application to religious movements in other faiths; 
  • Understanding of fundamentalism as a reaction against scientific rationalism, liberal modernist religious views, and secularism; 
  • Outline knowledge of historical, social, economic and political factors in its rise and development. 


This specification lays an appropriate foundation for further study of RS or related subjects in higher education. It will develop a set of transferable intellectual skills, such as, comprehension, interpretation, analysis and evaluation, which will facilitate the development of independent thinking. This course also allows practice and to construct, develop and maintain clear and coherent arguments in extended writing, which is key to succeeding in higher education. 

Entry requirements

Ideally you will have a grade B in English Language 
5 A* - C grades. 

You will need to have a focused and logical method of thinking in order to be able to consider and use the philosophical and religious issues studied. You will also need to enjoy reading and applying new theories.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Baxter College directly.

Last updated date: 24 March 2015

Key information

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