Religious Studies, Philosophy & Ethics

This course is an opportunity to question life, the universe and everything! Don’t let the word ‘Religious’ put you off! This is an opportunity to follow a Philosophy, theology and ethics course which focuses on some of the biggest questions that human beings can ask: Is there a God? Where did the universe come from? Why does God allow evil to exist? How do I decide what is right and wrong? Why do people believe the Bible? Are all faiths equally true?

Aims

OCR’s A Level in Religious Studies will encourage learners to:

  • develop their interest in a rigorous study of religion and belief and relate it to the wider world
  • develop knowledge and understanding appropriate to a specialist study of religion
  • develop an understanding and appreciation of religious thought and its contribution to individuals, communities and societies
  • adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion
  • reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their study

Exam board: OCR
Syllabus title: A Level Religious Studies
Course code: H573 A Level GCE Religious Studies

Course content

Coursework There is no coursework.

Externally set exam

Students are assessed by three externally set exams at the end of Year 13.

Paper 1: Philosophy of Religion – 2 hour written paper worth 33% of the total A level

Paper 2: Religion and Ethics – 2 hour written paper worth 33% of the total A level

Paper 3: Development of Christian Thought - 2 hour written paper worth 33% of the total A level

Philosophy of Religion*

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.

Ethics*

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 beliefs.

Developments in Religious thought (theology)*

In this component, learners have the opportunity to undertake a systematic study of key concepts within the development of Christian thought. Learners will explore religious beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections, how they have developed historically and how they are presently discussed.

Assessment and weighting

You are assessed through written essays.

Trips/visits

Krakow, Poland. Our trip itinerary encompasses a range of visits all of which are closely linked to several topics including the impact of the Holocaust on human psychology, the moral dilemmas that people faced in the lead up to and during the Second World War and the alterations on government as a result of the events of the 20th century. The itinerary includes a tour of Auschwitz and Birkenauand Kazimierz Jewish Quarter. 

Future opportunities/ career

A level Religious Studies teaches excellent transferable skills, from essay writing, developing confidence in debating, to developing the ability to appreciate other viewpoints. These skills can be incredibly helpful in a range of University degrees involving critical thinking and discussion e.g. Humanities, English, Psychology, PPE, Theology, Philosophy, Law, Economics, History and Politics. The Russell Group of top universities has made it clear that religious studies A Level provides suitable preparation for University generally.

Qualifications/ School record

Required

  • 5/6 in English
  • 95% attendance in Year 11
  • Good attitude to learning

Desirable

  • 5/6 in Religious Studies GCSE
  • 5/C Sociology GCSE

Attitude/Qualities

  • Hard working
  • Critical and reflective thinker
  • Interested in current affaires
  • Enjoys engaging in debate and asking 'big' questions

Skills

Required:

  • Reading
  • Essay writing
  • Creative
  • Organised
  • Able to research independently

Desirable:

  • Confident reading a variety of texts

Experience

Required:

  • A desire to engage in topical issues and acquire knowledge and a critical understanding of major issues that are relevant in the 21st century

Desirable:

  • Watches and reads the news on a regular basis