Religious Studies

Why study Religious Studies?

Religious Studies is an engaging, well respected and academically rigorous subject which introduces students to a stimulating range of ethical, philosophical and theological issues. The subject fits well as a complement to other arts and humanities subjects, and broadens and deepens the academic profile of those taking science subjects. Throughout the course, students will engage with some of the great philosophical questions with which humankind has wrestled, as well as examining moral and ethical principles from a variety of standpoints. Through their study of this subject, students will enhance their ability to argue and to communicate, as well as their skills of research, evaluation and analysis.

With religious and ethical issues so often in the news it may not be surprising that the subject is increasingly popular: Research shows that nationally the number of students choosing to study A level Religious Studies has increased more than any arts, humanity or social science subject over the past 10 years. The Russell Group of top universities has also made it clear that Religious Studies A level provides ‘suitable preparation for University generally’.  In other words, it can help applicants in both science and humanities subjects.

Religious Studies A level offers excellent opportunities to develop critically informed perspectives on the nature of human experience, perception, belief and society. The skills taught include building arguments, marshaling evidence and examples to support different points of view, and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of different perspectives. The course content and the skills developed will appeal to anyone interested in big questions about meaning, purpose and reality, and there is a clear focus on lively classroom discussion and debate.

Religious Studies provides excellent preparation for a wide variety of arts, humanities, medical and science degrees, as well as leading on to varied career opportunities in law, medicine, journalism, education, academia, civil service and more. In our increasingly globalised world universities and employers place a high premium on critical and well-informed engagement with the beliefs, values and ethical issues around the world.

If you are interested in life’s big questions, if you enjoy lively discussion and debate, and if you want to examine the impact of religion on culture and society, Religious Studies could certainly be the subject for you.

Heads of Department: Dr H Whately (Girls), Mrs R Wynne Lord (Boys)

Course content

Board: OCR   A level Syllabus Code: H573

Study of a religion.
Christianity:  a focused investigation of different Christian beliefs and practices within the context of their social and historical development. This includes looking at issues such as gender, pluralism and secularism.

Philosophy of Religion.
The influence of Plato, Aristotle and Descartes, debates about the mind and the soul, arguments for and against the existence of God, the nature of religious experience and the problem of evil. Influence of analytic philosophy, uses of analogy and Wittgenstein’s language games.

Introduction to Ethics.
Ethical theories and systems such as Situation Ethics, Natural Law and Utilitarianism, looking at applied how these are applied to a range of issues such as business ethics and euthanasia.

Method of assessment

All by written exam which cover the three topics: Philosophy, Ethics and Christianity.

There is no coursework.