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Philosophy and Ethics A Level at St Bede's Catholic Comprehensive School and Byron College

Course description

This R.E Qualification contains 3 components:
For the Ethics component students will engage with different ways of moral decision making examining whether happiness or love could ever be the “right” basis for resolving ethical dilemmas such as abortion, euthanasia and the creation of “designer” babies.
Ethical theories include Utilitarianism, Situation Ethics, and Natural Law.
The Philosophy component includes the origin and nature of the universe, the problem of evil, and implications for the existence of God.
The study of religion component covers Christianity addressing Themes such as religious figures, religious practices and identity and significant social and historical developments in religious thought

Course content

Ethics: Utilitarianism, capital punishment, situation ethics, torture, the nature and value of the human person in Christianity, cloning and “designer babies”, medical trials on animals and humans, end of life issues.

Philosophy: Cosmological argument, psychology of religion, religious experiences, near death experiences, the existence of the soul, personal identity, Philosophy of language, ontological argument and the problem of suffering.

Christianity: The nature and existence of God, beliefs about self, death and afterlife. The challenges of secularization, science and the changing roles of men and women.

Entry requirements

Students who wish to study this subject must have acquired a minimum of 5 GCSEs or equivalent at A*-C, including Maths and English Language. The course is very different from GCSE Religious Studies, therefore no background knowledge is assumed. However students who have not achieved a grade “B” or higher in English will find the reading and essay writing requirements challenging.


On - going essay writing is a key feature of this course, with opportunities for continuous improvements following the detailed feedback you will receive.

A 2 hour exam on each of the components at the end of Year 13.

Future opportunities

This subject is a highly regarded academic subject at all universities and colleges of higher education, including the Russell Group. In a recent international survey, philosophy was ranked as the degree with the third highest graduate IQ levels, after maths and engineering. Many graduates of theology go on to practice law since some universities offer shorter conversion courses to those with degrees in Theology, than those with degrees in other subjects, including English. This is testament to the high level of engagement Philosophy and Theology requires with logical and evaluative frameworks. Professional pathways include: doctor, lawyer, accountant, social worker, nurse and teacher.

Further information

This is a great subject choice for those who have an enquiring mind, an ability to analyse issues from a number of different perspectives and who are prepared to take part in lively discussions

There are 5 lessons each week (5 hours) in Year 12 and 13.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Bede's Catholic Comprehensive School and Byron College directly.

Last updated date: 02 March 2017

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