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Philosophy & Ethics A-Level at St John Payne Catholic School

Course description

The Advanced Subsidiary GCE and the Advanced GCE Philosophy & Ethics specifications build on the knowledge that candidates may have developed through the study of GCSE Religious Studies. It does not however assume or require any previous study of the subject. It is designed to support a course of study which is suitable for candidates from any religious background or from none. For both the Advanced Subsidiary GCE and the full Advanced GCE candidates study Philosophy of Religion and Religious Ethics.

These specifications are designed to enable candidates to:

  • develop an interest in and enthusiasm for rigorous study of religion
  • treat the subject as an academic discipline by developing knowledge and understanding appropriate to a specialist study of religion
  • adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion.
  • to reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their learning.

Entry requirements

Please note the minimum requirement to study AS levels at our Sixth Form is a GCSE points score of 42 points from your best 8 GCSE results. We award 8 points for an A* grade, 7 points for a grade A, 6 points for a grade B, 5 points for a grade C, 4 points for a grade D, 3 points for a grade E, 2 points for a grade F and 1 point for a grade G.

Subject Specific

English B

Religious Studies B


Modules studied are as follows:

  • G.571 Philosophy of Religion 50% ) of AS Grade,
  • G.572 Religious Ethics 50% ) or 25%
  • G.581 Philosophy of Religion 25% ) of final A2 grade
  • G.582 Religious Ethics 25% )

AS Exam Papers consist of two, two part essay questions from a choice of four. (Total 70 marks)

A2 Exam Papers consist of a choice of two open essay questions from a choice of four. (Total 70 marks)

All papers are 1½ hours duration.

The first two modules are studied in Year 12 and the second two modules are studied in Year 13 although it is possible for Year 13 students to take this as an extra AS Level.

Exams for AS and A2 are in the same sitting – 1hr 45 – short break – 1h 45.

Future opportunities

A proper education demands the study of religious and philosophical issues, and this holds true for both religious believers and non-believers alike. Education demands reflection upon our own beliefs and practices and the beliefs and practices of others. Education demands an examination of those questions facing all thinking human beings, namely questions concerning life and death, right and wrong, pain and suffering, love and joy, human relationships, the purpose of life and the universe, and this cannot be achieved without consideration of the major religious and philosophical forces which have shaped and continue to shape our society.

Accordingly, Religious Studies has intrinsic value - it is its own justification - but it also has the important consequence of encouraging those qualities of mind so often sought after by institutions of higher education and employers, namely, an enquiring mind, an openness to new ideas and situations, intellectual alertness and the ability to express complex notions clearly. Consequently, Religious Studies students find that the professions open to them are many and varied: management, stockbroking, the media, journalism, nursing, retailing, teaching, social work, law, medicine, environmental studies.

Relating to courses at University or future employment, this subject combines well with English, Law, Sociology, Geography, Philosophy and Theology.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St John Payne Catholic School directly.

Last updated date: 24 June 2015

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