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Level: Advanced (Level 3)Awarding Body: AQA

Why study Religious Studies?

Philosophy and Ethics is a challenging and interesting course which will enable you to:

  • Evaluate the arguments for and against the existence of God;
  • Explore a range of philosophical ideas;
  • Challenge any preconceived notions;
  • Develop Critical Thinking skills;
  • Exploring new perspectives on familiar topics, such as how we use our language;
  • Reflect upon their own lives by exploring ethical theories and moral dilemmas;
  • Consider debates across philosophy, psychology and science;
  • Open and broaden your mind and prepare you for the demands of higher education.

What can it lead to?

Philosophy and Ethics is widely respected by major universities and prospective employers. It provides excellent training for a variety of careers such as law, teaching, counselling, business, journalism, politics, social work, police, research, broadcasting, medicine and the arts. The high intellectual demands of Ethics and Philosophy are recognised by universities as equipping students to further their evaluative and analytical skills.

How is the course organised?

Exam Board - AQA

A Level (2017-2019). This qualification is linear. This means that students will sit all their exams at the end of the two year course.

There are two assessed components. Students must take assessments in both Component 1 and Component 2 in the same exam series.

 

Methods of Assessment

 

Essays are the principal method of assessment and regular essays are set throughout the course.

Three types of written work are undertaken during the year:

  • Study essays
  • Timed essays
  • Examination Essays

Students will be expected to submit study essays and will also be required to write timed essays in class.

Homework will be set each week for each of the units taught and feedback will be given on how to improve the work through target setting together with more detailed comments on essays.

Students will be encouraged to use material on Moodle in the form of extended reading to develop their knowledge and research skills.

 

AQA Specification

 

Year 1

  • Arguments for the existence of God
  • Evil and suffering
  • Religious experience
  • Ethical theories
  • Issues of human life and death
  • Issues of animal life and death
  • Component 3: Christianity

Year 2

  • Religious language
  • Miracles
  • Self and life after death
  • Introduction to meta ethics
  • Free will and moral responsibility
  • Conscience
  • Bentham and Kant
  • Christianity, gender and sexuality
  • Christianity and Science
  • Christianity and the challenge of secularisation
  • Developments in Christian thought
  • Christianity, migration and pluralism
  • The Dialogue between Christianity & Philosophy
  • The Dialogue between Christianity and Ethics

How is the course assessed?

Essays are the principal method of assessment and regular essays are set throughout the course.

Three types of written work are undertaken during the year:

  • Study essays
  • Timed essays
  • Examination Essays

Students will be expected to submit study essays and will also be required to write timed essays in class.

Homework will be set each week for each of the units taught and feedback will be given on how to improve the work through target setting together with more detailed comments on essays.

Students will be encouraged to use material on Moodle in the form of extended reading to develop their knowledge and research skills.

What do I need to qualify for this course?

Entry requirements:

  • 6 GCSEs grades 9-4 (A-C) and English Language grade 4 (C) or above.
  • Although GCSE offers a useful background, it is not compulsory. Given that the two areas of study are Philosophy and Ethics, this ‘A’ level is not focused on the world religions, but on the philosophy of religion which is very different from GCSE and is not a continuation of GCSE.  Subsequently students do not have to have any particular religious commitment to study this course.

Who are the teachers?

RE is taught by qualified staff that have extensive knowledge of the subject. Teaching at this level requires a thorough familiarisation with the concepts, themes and developments in terms of both structure and content. All staff are qualified to at least graduate standard in the specialist subjects and all are fully familiar with the content involved. 

 

What do students say about the course?

The Philosophy Implications Paper gave me the opportunity to study some academic and scholarly texts preparing me to deal with difficult and dense texts at university. I have since reassessed my career choice and after leaving St Charles I will be studying International Relations, with a view to working for the United Nations or a conversion course to Law. 

Khaled El-Jamal - A2 Sociology, Biology, Philosophy and Ethics, International Relations Queen Mary University, London

As I progressed in the Philosophy and Ethics course, I did not view it like other courses where I learned things with a view to getting an exam qualification. The knowledge I gained from the course was so dense and engrossing, I would study and research it in my free time and it has influenced the way I view everyday phenomena. I now consider the knowledge I have gained more important than the qualifications it will yield. As an aspiring journalist the course will enable me to write and analyse articles with greater sophistication. 

Judah Praise-Davies - A2 Psychology, PE, Philosophy and Ethics, National Course for the Training of Journalists, Wimbledon, London

I have just completed my first year of AS and really enjoyed Philosophy and Ethics as it helped me to develop and form my own opinions whilst also challenging them.  Also there was a variety of teaching methods such as group work and drama which kept the subject interesting.

Nanret Yamba - AS Philosophy and Ethics, Sociology, English, Government and Politics

What else should I know about?

Below is the link to a video where students of A2 who left last year speak about the subject and work displayed in classroom.

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The pictures to the left  and below are examples of a recent departmental trips to The National Portrait Gallery to see the Michael Landy exhibition ‘Saints Alive’ exploring Christian martyrdom and the Bhaktivedanta Manor in Hertfordshire.

In July students visited the Brahma Kumaris religious organisation whose authority figures are women.     

Watch the video