Religious Studies (A Level)

WHY SHOULD I STUDY A LEVEL RELIGIOUS STUDIES? 

Religious Studies is a vitally important subject, as religion and the continuing legacy of religious thought play a central role in society.

This course is open to everyone who is interested in the ‘big questions’ about the nature of the universe or the meaning of human life, such as: Does God exist? How can we tell what is right or wrong? Why do Christians use the Bible as a guide to how they should live their lives? Can you accept both science and religion? 

There is no requirement that you follow a particular religious viewpoint – there will be many perspectives examined – but it is a requirement that students should be able, rationally and objectively, to analyse and evaluate religious ideas and concepts.

Religious Studies is a subject that can be helpful to any student and can usefully be studied in combination with any other essay-based subject (e.g. English and History), as well as those that focus on analysis, argument and evaluation (e.g. Sociology and Psychology). Many of the topics covered will overlap with A Level Philosophy.

Our Religious Studies teachers are very well qualified subject specialists who have studied at some of the country’s best universities. We pride ourselves on being a friendly and supportive department, and work hard to develop the most effective teaching strategies and opportunities for extension. We use peer mentoring, a variety of electronic resources and support and revision sessions.

In previous years the department has welcomed visiting speakers in to College. Recent trips have included visits to local places of worship and we offer the chance to go to university conferences. 

Many of our students enjoy Religious Studies so much that they choose to study it at university, including some of the most prestigious universities in the UK. Others will choose to follow a particular interest in the area as part of an Extended Project Qualification in their second year.


COURSE CONTENT 

The first year of the course consists of the following topics:

Christianity

    The role of Jesus in Christian thought. 

    The Bible as a source of wisdom and authority.

    Whether God should be regarded as male.

Philosophy of Religion 

    The design, cosmological and ontological arguments.

    Religious experience.

    The problem of evil.

Ethics

    Ethical egoism, divine command theory and virtue ethics.

    Natural Law.

    Utilitarianism and Situation Ethics.

PROGRESSION ONTO YEAR 2 

Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.

This Year 2 Religious Studies course consists of new material, including: 

Christianity

    Christian attitudes towards wealth, migration and feminism.

    Challenges from secularisation, science and pluralisation. 

    Christian responses to poverty. 

Philosophy of Religion 

    Atheism.

    Miracles.

    Religious Language.

Ethics

    Meta-ethics.

    Proportionalism.

    Freewill.

The final A Level Religious Studies examination assesses all of the topics studied over the two years.


Minimum Entry Criteria

Standard College entry requirements (as detailed on page 12 of the Prospectus) and a minimum of: 

 Grade 5

In at least one predominantly written based GCSE subject (from English Language, English Literature, History, Religious Studies or Sociology)

AND

 

Grade 4

GCSE English Language or English Literature









HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED? 

Religious Studies is an exam only course. The assessment consists of essays divided into two parts. In the first section you explain the key features of a topic or argument, and in the second you construct an argument to explain your own view and the views of a range of scholars – discussing and evaluating the effectiveness of each.

FINAL ASSESSMENT AT END OF YEAR 2 

Paper 1 (Christianity) 

• 2 hours (33% of A Level) two essay questions, with one compulsory and one optional section.

Paper 2 (Philosophy of Religion) 

• 2 hours (33% of A Level) two essay questions, with one compulsory and one optional section.

Paper 3 (Ethics)

• 2 hours (33% of A Level) two essay questions, with one compulsory and one optional section.

WHAT CAN I DO AFTER STUDYING A LEVEL RELIGIOUS STUDIES? 

Not every student will pursue an interest in religion on into their career, but Religious Studies encourages students to be open, enquiring, well read, thoughtful and articulate as they deal with a range of difficult written argument. These are skills that will be valued by a wide variety of universities and employers.