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Religious Studies A Level at The Ashcombe School

Course description

*** Please note that this course is still awaiting final accreditation and is subject to change *** 

Why study this subject?

The subject at advanced level enables candidates to use an enquiring, critical and empathetic approach to the study of religion. The study of religion is concerned with an introduction to the philosophy of religion and theoretical ethics. All of us have to make moral decisions in life from the smallest to the much larger issues that sometimes dominate the headlines.

In Philosophy of religion learners will study philosophical issues and questions raised by religion and belief. These include arguments regarding the existence or non-existence of God, the nature and influence of religious experience and the problems of evil and suffering. They will also explore philosophical language and thought through significant concepts and the works of key thinkers, illustrated in issues or debates in the philosophy of religion.

The study of Religion and ethics is characterised both by a study of ethical language and thought through significant concepts and the works of key thinkers, illustrated in issues or debates in religion and ethics, and also by the application of ethical theory to issues of importance. Learners will study normative ethical theories and key ethical concepts, as well as developments in the way these ideas are applied to significant issues in religion and belief.

Developments in religious thought provides an opportunity for the systematic study of one religious tradition. This will include exploration of religious beliefs, values and teachings, sources of wisdom and authority and practices that shape and express religious identity. Also central are the ways in which religious traditions have evolved and developed over time, and religious responses to challenges and significant contemporary social issues.

Course content


Philosophy of religion

Learners will study:

• ancient philosophical influences

• arguments about the existence or non-existence of God

• the nature and impact of religious experience

• the challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil

• the nature of the soul, mind and body

• the possibility of life after death

• ideas about the nature of God

• issues in religious language


Religion and ethics

Learners will study:

• normative ethical theories

• the application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance

• ethical language and thought

• debates surrounding the significant ideas of conscience and free will

• the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs and the philosophy of religion


Developments in religious thought

Learners will study:

• religious beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections and how they vary historically and in the contemporary world

• sources of religious wisdom and authority

 • practices which shape and express religious identity, and how these vary within a tradition significant social and historical developments in theology and religious thought

 • key themes related to the relationship between religion and society

Learners will study one religion from Christianity (03), Islam (04), Judaism (05), Buddhism (06) or Hinduism (07).

Entry requirements

The course is designed to extend and build on the knowledge, understanding and skills that candidates may have developed through the study of GCSE Religious Studies. Candidates however, do not require any previous study of the subject (but extra reading in the first term will be required for those who have not gained a full or short GCSE in Religious Studies). There are no specific entry requirements beyond the general entry requirements, although, due to the nature of the exams, a good standard of written expression is essential to succeed in this course.


Philosophy of religion (01)

120 marks     33.3% of total A level     2 hour written paper

Religion and ethics (02)

120 marks     33.3% of total A level     2 hour written paper

Developments in religious thought (03–07)

120 marks     33.3% of total A level     2 hour written paper

Future opportunities


 The skills which students acquire on this course are directly transferable to many vocational and academic areas and it is a recognised and respected qualification by Universities and employers in all careers and professions. It is useful for careers in teaching, the media and all types of Public Service. It is a helpful qualification for students intending study at University level in many subjects such as History, English, Law, Christian Theology, Religious Studies, Anthropology, Philosophy etc.


Further information



How to apply

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

Last updated date: 26 August 2016
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