Religious Studies
Type: A Level
Entry Requirements: Two Bs and three Cs in five subject areas at GCSE to include a minimum of a grade 4 in Maths and However, due to the new GCSE grading, we do recommend that you are working towards at least a grade 5 in both Maths and English Language.
Start Date: Sept 2017
Length: 2 years
Course Overview

Religious Studies takes students on a journey through the big spiritual, ethical, and philosophical questions that humans have asked since the dawn of time. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Why does evil exist? Who am I? It does this through three components. Buddhism, its key teachings, practices and history, including examination of meditation, reincarnation and Buddhist understanding of the Self. Ethics, the exploration of moral-decision making, including the use of happiness, love, and religion in making decisions on issues from torture to animal testing. Then finally Philosophy of Religion, which explores arguments for and against the existence of God and the nature of religion.

Classes incorporate a lot of discussion, so you should be ready to share your views and opinions whilst respecting the diversity of others, and have an open mind to different beliefs. There is also a significant reading and writing component, as both religious and philosophical texts are examined and analysed. Both these tasks will develop your critical thinking and ability to explain complex ideas, and teach you to form powerful arguments. It will also help you to grow as a person, developing your capacity for cultural understanding and helping you consider your own life in the context of these philosophical questions.


What will I learn?

In Year 1

Unit 1: Religion and Ethics
You will study four topics areas: utilitarianism, situational ethics, religious teachings on the nature and value of human life, and abortion and euthanasia. You will consider issues arising within these topics areas such as: How worthwhile is the pursuit of happiness? How far can religion support the idea of equality? Can abortion and euthanasia ever be said to be ‘good’?

Unit 2: Philosophy of Religion
You will study four topic areas: The cosmological argument, religious experience, psychology and religion, atheism and postmodernism. You will consider issues arising within these topics areas such as: Can religious experience show that God probably exists? Has ‘God’ been explained away by psychology? How successfully has religion responded to the challenge of atheism?

In Year 2

Unit 3: Studies in Religion – Religion and Ethics
You will study four topics areas: libertarianism, freewill and determinism, virtue ethics, religious views on sexual behaviour and human relationships, science and technology. You will consider issues arising within these topics areas such as: How free are human actions and choices? Is sexual behaviour a matter that religion should concern itself with? Should science be controlled by ethics, and if so, which ethical system?

Unit 4: Religion and Human experience
You will study one topic area; ways of moral decision making. You will consider the use of religious laws and religious teachings to provide guidance on behaviour and how to determine between good and bad. You will study ethical systems, both deontological and teleological and how these can assist in making moral decision. You will also study medical research and medical developments.

How will the course be assessed?

Units 1 and 2 are assessed by a 1 hour 15 minute written exam. Each unit is worth 90 marks and each unit is 50% of AS and 25% of the full A Level. Units 3 and 4 are assessed by a 1 hour 30 minute written exam. Each mark is worth 25% of your overall A Level grade.


You will be offered a range of enrichment activities, including trips and visits. Details of the cost of these will be provided as they are planned.

Progression and Careers

Former students have gone on to study a wide range of subjects such as English Literature, Sociology, Law, Philosophy, Anthropology and Politics, to name a few. Students have gone on to careers in teaching, social work, politics, journalism and research.


Ready to apply?

Apply online or download an application form to become part of Nelson and Colne College.

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