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Religion, Philosophy and Ethics A Level at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

Course description

The subject content for Religious Studies AS and A level, which provides the framework for exam board specifications, has recently undergone a review. At the time of writing, we are awaiting publication of the new specifications in light of these proposed changes ready to teach from September 2016. Whilst there will be some changes to what we currently teach a large proportion of the course will continue to focus on Philosophy of Religion and Religion and Ethics.

Course content

Philosophy of Religion: This involves the study of philosophical issues and questions raised by religion and belief. This includes a study of the arguments for and against the existence of God and challenges to religious belief such as the problems of evil and suffering and psychological explanations for belief. We also consider the nature of God – what does it mean to describe God as all knowing? And does such a description have implications for human freewill? We shall explore questions about whether religious language has any real meaning and whether religious experience any validity. Are there any signs that there is a God who interacts with the world and how might it happen? Can we survive after death? What would be necessary in order for it to be me who survives? Do we have souls and if we have are they separate from our bodies?


Religion and Ethics: This aspect of the course focuses on human conduct and character. Specifically, it explores questions about how we should make moral judgements. We shall study in depth different ethical theories and their application in the world. We consider Natural Law, Kantian Ethics, Utilitarianism and Virtue Ethics and apply the principles of each theory to a range of personal, societal and global issues. Possible issues which we may study include: abortion, embryo research, euthanasia, genetic engineering, sex and relationships, business ethics and the environment. We will also consider the works of key ethical thinkers and significant ideas in religious and moral thought such as free will and conscience – What does someone mean when they say they ‘acted upon their conscience’? And are people free to make moral decisions? Are we right to offer moral praise and blame? 

Entry requirements

Grade C in GCSE English Language


AS Level

Philosophy of Religion (Written Paper; 1 hour; 33.3% of AS Level)

Religion and Ethics (Written Paper; 1 hour; 33.3% of AS Level)

Developments in Religious Thought (Written Paper; 1 hour; 33.3% of AS Level)

A Level

Philosophy of Religion (Written Paper; 2 hours; 33.3% of A Level)

Religion and Ethics (Written Paper; 2 hours; 33.3 % of A Level)

Developments in Religious Thought (Written Paper; 2 hours; 33.3% of A Level)

Future opportunities

Theories and arguments are introduced by the teacher through a variety of means, including the reading of primary and/or secondary texts, DVD material and YouTube. This is followed by a critical analysis of the ideas through group activities and discussion in class. Students will be expected to read articles and material from their textbooks and articles in journals and they will be set regular essays. Students will also be encouraged to research and then lead short presentations in class.


We invite speakers into school and are currently developing a closer working relationship with the Philosophy Department at Lancaster University. Also, we hope to offer opportunities to attend an Ethics, Philosophy & Religion Conference and some theatre or films which explore a philosophical or moral theme. 

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 08 October 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 Years