Religious Studies

Religious Studies - AQA

Level 3

Who is this course for?

The study of the Philosophy of Religion and Ethics raises the big questions of life, about God, meaning and how we ought to live as human beings. You will have an opportunity to explore these issues in some depth with other interested students. In addition to the personal value of studying such a subject, you will also acquire valuable skills of critical thinking and philosophical analysis.

Formal Entry Requirements

All students studying for A Level would be expected to have five GCSEs A*-C in academic subjects (of which two must be B grades) including GCSE English Language at grade B or above. We will count Level 2 BTEC Diplomas towards this total, but only merits and distinctions will be counted and each diploma will count as one GCSE.

You do not need to have studied GCSE Religious Studies, or to have any particular religious faith, but a keen interest in Philosophy is preferable given the nature of the subject. 

What does the course involve?

The College offers the Religious Studies Advanced Level awarded by OCR, covering the units on Philosophy of Religion and Ethical Decision Making. Study of world religions does not form a major part of the syllabus.

In the Philosophy of Religion, you will be introduced to Ancient Greek influences on religious philosophy, such as the ideas of Plato and Aristotle, and will also consider traditional Judaeo-Christian ideas of God, such as God’s goodness and role as Creator. You will then consider the traditional arguments for the existence of God and the challenge posed to belief in God by the existence of evil and suffering in the world. Finally, you will consider the debate between Religion and Science, such as the challenge posed by evolutionary theory.

In Ethics, you will consider a range of approaches to Ethics such as the thought of Immanuel Kant, the thought of Thomas Aquinas (Natural Law theory) and Utilitarian and Christian approaches. You will also apply these theories to four areas of practical ethics: Euthanasia, Abortion, Genetic Engineering and War and Peace.

The A2 course is again split into two modules, one covering further Philosophy of Religion topics and one covering further Ethics topics. Philosophy topics include miracles, religious language, the nature of God and life after death; Ethics topics include a study of free-will, conscience and practical ethics topics such as the environment, business ethics and sexual ethics.

How will I be assessed?

Each module is assessed by a written examination lasting 1.5 hours. This means that you will have two exams for your AS level, and 2 exams for A2.

In the AS exams, you are required to answer two two-part essay questions from a choice of four. In the A2 exams you are required to answer two open essay questions from a choice of four. There is no coursework for these qualifications.

Where can I go next?

An AS or A Level qualification in Religious Studies is most directly related to degrees in Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies. It is, however, relevant to many other fields of study, such as History, Psychology, Sociology, Literature and Politics.

Given the large component of ethics within the course, it is also highly useful for many people-centred careers, such as teaching, medicine, the police, and community and social work.