Religious Studies

Examination Board: OCR

Course Code: H573B 

Entry Requirements: Grade 6 in English GCSE, Grade 6 in at least ONE Of these subjects: Geography, History, Religious Studies

Why study Religious Studies?

Religious Studies offers you an interesting and intellectually challenging A level. It asks difficult but crucial questions about life, the universe and everything! It furthers your understanding of the spiritual, moral, ethical, social and cultural dimensions of life. It demands your engagement with complex texts and concepts from across cultures and millennia that continue to shape our world, and encourages you to construct and defend your own arguments in response to them.

Areas such as medicine, the law, journalism, the armed services, advertising, the police force, human resources, the voluntary / charity sector and teaching all value an A-Level in Religious Studies. RS is highly regarded by universities and employers as it requires excellent written and verbal communication skills, and proves that you are able to contemplate, analyse and evaluate a wide range of challenging contemporary issues. It is an excellent preparation for any arts degree but is also accepted by sciences such as medicine. Indeed, the Russell Group of top universities has made it clear that Religious Studies A level provides 'suitable preparation for University generally'.

What will I study?

  • Philosophy of Religion - the study of existential issues (life, the universe and everything!), philosophical language and thought, including arguments regarding the existence or non-existence of God, the nature and influence of religious experience and the problems of evil and suffering.
  • Religion and Ethics - the study of ethical language and thought through significant concepts and the works of key thinkers, illustrated via debates about what’s right, what’s wrong and why in specific situations, and also by the application of ethical theory to issues of individual and global importance such as freedom, rights and justice (e.g. does the end justify the means? Is 'business ethics' an oxymoron?)
  • Developments in Religious Thought - an opportunity for the systematic study of one religious tradition, including an exploration of religious beliefs, values and teachings, the practices that shape and express religious identity, and religious responses to challenges (e.g. Marxism, Feminism, Psychology) and significant contemporary social issues such as gender and relationships.

How will I study?

Discussion is an essential part of our studies, alongside a range of activities including class debates, presentations, group / pair work and question and answer sessions. You will be supported to develop and refine the skills of analysis, reasoning, evaluation and critical thinking that are required to create an excellent essay. You will be encouraged to read widely around the subject, to contribute constructively to class discussions covering a range of challenging issues and to present coherent arguments to others. As relevant opportunities arise, there may be guest speakers, competitions, visits to A Level RS Conferences or recommended revision events.

How will I be assessed?

Three written exams, each worth one third of the A Level:

  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Religion and Ethics
  • Developments in Religious Thought
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