Religious Studies (Philosophy, Ethics & Religion) A-Level

Course Overview

Entry Qualifications

In addition to the standard College entry requirements (see below) a minimum of grade 5 in GCSE English Language is required.

What will I study?

This course in Philosophy, Ethics and Religion explores the really big questions about our existence, such as:

• Is there a God?

• How did the universe come about?

• Does evolution disprove the existence of God?

• Why is there so much evil and suffering?

• Is religious belief explained by Psychology?

• Is there evidence of an afterlife?

• Are there supernatural miracles?

• What determines right from wrong?

• Can killing ever be justified?

• Is it right to experiment on animals?

• Do we have free will?

In addition, this course involves an in-depth study of the religion of Buddhism. Themes within the study of religion include: religious figures and sacred texts; religious concepts and religious life; significant social and historical developments in religious thought; religious practices and religious identity.

This course is designed to encourage you to adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of philosophical problems and religion. You are expected to develop your own values, opinions and attitudes in light of your studies. This is a subject which appeals to students who enjoy reading and thinking, are keen to explore debates and arguments and who find it exciting to challenge everyday assumptions about existence and reality!

How will I study?

Students will examine a range of thinkers, arguments and ideas from the study of written texts as well as audio- visual and online material. Students are encouraged to engage in philosophical discussions to develop their own views and will be required to work both independently and collaboratively. Written work will be regular and varied and will include the writing of essays. Tasks will be often be set for work outside of the classroom, to support and extend the learning within the class.

How is the course examined?

Written examinations are taken at the end of the course. Questions are mainly of the essay type. Regular internal assessments will take place throughout the course, in a wide variety of formats. A formal mock exam may be provided towards the end of the first year.

Where next?

This course provides an excellent foundation for higher education and employment, regardless of the subject choice or profession. Through the study of Philosophy, Ethics and Religion, sophisticated reasoning skills will be developed for use within any area where there is complexity, uncertainty and controversy. Of course, this subject is particularly well suited as preparation for further study in Philosophy or Religious Studies. The examination of ethics on this course may be considered especially useful for further study in Medicine, Law and Politics.

What does the course combine well with?

This course combines very well with all level three subjects across the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

College Entry Requirements

We normally expect applicants to have achieved good GCSE passes in at least six subjects, these must:

• demonstrate the suitability for Advanced Level study

• have been achieved at Grade 4/C as a minimum

• include two at Grade 5/B as a minimum

• include English Language – a minimum grade of 4/C

Mathematics – If not achieved within the scope of the above should normally be achieved at grade 3/D. If mathematics is not achieved at grade 4/C then it will be a requirement to continue to study at the correct level until a grade 4 is achieved. Subjects with a mathematical content will require a higher grade.

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