Accessibility links

International Baccalaureate - Philosophy - Higher & Standard Level at The Rochester Grammar School

Course description

Philosophy is a stimulating and thought provoking course. It asks the most basic but also profoundest questions: 'Is there right and wrong?', 'Is there an underlying purpose to existence?' and 'What do we mean by justice?'. These questions are explored through an examination of themes and texts; discovering key ideas and theories, Philosophy is a living subject and the course is very much designed to encourage students themselves to become confident philosophers and not just spectators to the great works of the past. Any student interested in discussing ideas, and curious about life, shouldcertainly consider taking this course, which has the added bonus of being an excellent grounding for TOK.

Course content

- "The Human Condition”: this paper explores different approaches to the major questions of what it means to be human – is there an essential ‘essence’ to humanity, or is everything ‘culturally relative? What part does spirituality play in understanding life, or is ‘materialism’ the most important aspect of life?  This paper also looks at what it means to be an individual, and what exactly we mean by consciousness.

- ‘Ethics’: this paper explores a wide range of questions concerning what it means to be moral, and how we decide between competing views of what is right and what is wrong.

- Set text: Rene Descartes’ Meditations – one of the great works of philosophy, exploring the relationship between our existence and the existence of God.

- (Higher) Philosophy of Religion: this paper examines the nature and existence of God, the problem of evil and evaluates religious experience and miracles.

- (Higher) Unseen Text – the Nature of Philosophy: an evaluation of the strengths and limitations of different philosophical approaches, including some work on reasoning and logic.

Entry requirements

GCSE Grade 6 in English Literature or Language is required to study Philosophy.


In order to gain access to The RGS Sixth Form, students must obtain 5 GCSE grades at 9-6 (A*-B) including English Language and Mathematics.



At both higher and standard level there is 80% examined work and 20% coursework.

Future opportunities

Philosophy is a valuable subject that develops a student's ability to observe, rationalise, argue, debate and think.  These skills are productive on a personal level and in a much broader context.  People able to apply the intellectual skills that result from studying philosophy have a lot to offer to their future employers and to the community as a whole.  Grounding in philosophy would be productive for those considering teaching, law, history, journalism, medicine, or similar careers.

Further information

The I.B.O.s mission statement:

'The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.'

IB learners are:

- Enquirers
- Knowledgeable
- Risk-takers
- Thinkers
- Good communicators
- Principled
- Open-minded
- Reflective

The ideal IB student will also have acquired a sense of caring and compassion, and will recognise the importance of a balance between his/her intellectual, physical and emotional needs.

If you require any further information please contact Miss Hemmings at The Rochester Grammar School.

If you wish to study at The Rochester Grammar School, please apply directly to the school.

Application forms and further details can be found on the school website

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Rochester Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 12 December 2018
Provider logo

Key information