Religious Studies A-level will consist of 3 main areas of study.
Philosophy of Religion considers some big questions of human existence, Why are we here? What is a human? Is there a God? What might happen after we die? Can we resolve the problem of evil and suffering? We consider these questions alongside a study of how thinkers over time have responded to them, and consider what makes a sound argument.
Ethics greets us each morning in the newspapers and bids us good night on the evening news. Questions and dilemmas challenge us on a personal level all the time in our relationships at home, college or in society. You will study how people come to make decisions on a whole range of issues in medicine, business and sexuality.
In the third module, Developments in Religious Thought, you will study one particular religion and focus on its key beliefs and practices, and how these have developed over time. This will also provide an opportunity to reflect on and explore the place and role of religion in the modern world, considering how law and society impact on and are changed by religion.
Philosophy of Religion
- Ancient Greek Philosophy
- Soul, Mind and Body
- The Existence of God
- The Problem of Evil
- Nature of God
- Religious Language
- Four Ethical Theories
- Ethical Language
- Business Ethics, Euthanasia and Sexual Ethics
- Beliefs about God, Humans, Life After Death
- Sources of Belief
- Morality and Action
- Religious Pluralism
- Religion and Society
- Contemporary Challenges
What is Religious Studies?
Methods of Teaching and Learning
The course is designed to be taught with a close overlap between the three areas of study, so that you will find that you are developing your understanding in parallel across the units, with introductory topics followed by more advanced topics from Philosophy and Ethics, alongside connected themes in the religious thought in the religion studied. At the end of each topic you will be assessed by completing a written task, usually but not exclusively an essay, modelled on an examination question.
The course is tutored by well-qualified staff that use a range of teaching methods – incorporating both lecture style learning and group and individual tasks. Students will be asked to do presentations, to do research, to develop their skills in structured discussion and analysis of arguments. Guided reading of primary sources is essential for those aspiring to higher grades.
This is a two year A-level course. At the end of the two years you will sit three 2 hour papers, one for each taught unit, each worth one third of the marks. Each paper requires students to write 3 essays chosen from 4 questions covering the topic areas studied. The skills for each paper are the same, it is the content that will vary from one paper to the next.
Resources for this subject include an excellent range of text books and theological literature in the LRC and classroom library. Website and PowerPoint presentations as well as thorough teaching resources and worksheet activities provide much support for students of this course.
There are opportunities to hear visiting speakers at college on a variety of related topics and to participate in student conferences locally. In April 2019 Stephen Law, author of The Philosophy Gym delivered a highly informative revision conference.
There is also a busy Chaplaincy programme at St Brendan’s which offers students who are interested in religion to explore faith further and to engage in a variety of social justice issues through a certificated CAFOD Young Leaders programme.
Religious Studies is invaluable to anyone as a citizen in our increasingly globalised world. It is an excellent foundation for students going on to any degree course, as well as good training for careers in law, medicine, public service, journalism and media. It develops the ability to analyse and evaluate arguments and other perspectives concerning religion and culture.
There are opportunities to participate in student conferences locally and to undertake residential visits which do involve a cost – these are all optional.