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Religious Studies is an excellent choice at A Level for anyone keen to study the ‘big’ questions of meaning, purpose, belief and how we decide what is right or wrong. It appeals to students who are interested in exploring philosophical and theological issues from a range of different perspectives in order to gain a deeper understanding of them and to better understand and articulate their own thoughts and arguments. The course is structured around the disciplines of the Philosophy of Religion, Ethics and Theology.

OCR H573

A Level Religious Studies

Students learn about the ways in which key philosophers and theologians, such as Descartes, Kant and Augustine, have approached many of the important questions of human existence. Just as importantly, students develop their skills in argument and the critical assessment of different points of view, learning to write fluent, well-constructed and well-justified essays on a variety of themes.

There is no requirement that students have studied GCSE Religious Studies in order to take this course.

Course content

  • Philosophy of Religion - A variety of philosophical issues and questions will be studied as well as an exploration of philosophical language through key concepts and thinkers. Questions studied include: 'Do humans have souls?', 'Does God exist?', and 'Is religious language meaningful?'

  • Religion and Ethics - A study of ethical language and thought through significant concepts and key thinkers. Normative ethical theories will be studied and applied to contemporary issues. Questions studied include: 'What makes an action right or wrong?'. 'What is the conscience?' and 'Is euthanasia ever acceptable?'.

  • Developments in Religious Thought - A systematic study of Christianity which will include a look at teachings, sources of authority, how traditions have developed over time as well as responses to challenges and contemporary social issues. Questoins studied include: 'Does sin mean humans can never be morally good?', 'Would God deny any human being salvation?' and 'Is the idea of family culturally determined?'.


 Paper 1: Philosophy of Religion

2 hours. 

Students write 3 essays from a choice of 4.

Paper 2: Religion and Ethics

2 hours. 

Students write 3 essays from a choice of 4.

Paper 3: Developments in Religious Thought

2 hours. 

Students write 3 essays from a choice of 4.