Religious education

Religious Education - A Level

What will I learn?

This is an incredibly diverse course that aims to develop students' key skills through an in depth study of traditional philosophical thought and ethical theories.

In the philosophy of religion unit, students begin by studying the ancient Greek philosophers, then work through thousands of years of philosophical thought in an attempt to answer key questions including ‘what is reality?’, ‘does God exist?’, ‘what happens when we die?’ and ‘do humans really have a soul?'. The A level course develops these ideas and students study language, assessing whether statements about religion and philosophy are meaningful. Students also look in depth at religious experiences and miracles, analysing whether or not people can really experience God in their everyday lives.

In the study of religious ethics, students will study different ethical theories including utilitarianism and Kantian ethics. Students will consider how we know the difference between right and wrong, whether we can say for definite if an action is wrong and debate whether we are influenced by pleasure and pain. This will lead to applied ethics units where students will apply ethical theories to modern life issues. In the A Level course, students will continue their study of ethical theories, looking at the language of ethics and the role of conscience in human’s decision making.

Philosophy and Ethics lessons are incredibly diverse, with lively debates, studying philosopher’s original writings, and analysing and assessing key ideas.

What skills do I need?

  • Communication
  • Independent research
  • Team building
  • Interpretation and evaluation

How is the course graded?

This course is assessed through two 90 minute exams in Year 12 and the same in Year 13. There is no coursework or controlled assessment.

What is next for me after this course?

A qualification in Philosophy and ethics is recognised by colleges, universities and employers, due to the skills that students develop during their two years of study. The course allows students to demonstrate their ability to think independently and as part of a team. Philosophy and ethics also shows your ability to communicate clearly, whether this is verbally, written or in presentations. Possible careers include:

  • Law (including police)
  • Journalism
  • Most forms of management including personnel (human resources)
  • Teaching
  • Armed forces. 

Course outline

A Level

Outline of the course


Students must study:

Component 01: Philosophy of religion

Students study philosophical language and thought, and issues and questions raised by belief:

Component 02: Religion and ethics

Students explore key concepts and the works of influential thinkers, ethical theories and their application:

Component 03: Developments in religious thought

Students select one religion from the following to study systematically:

  • Christianity (03); Islam (04); Judaism (05); Buddhism (06); Hinduism (07).



Good GCSE results, preferably including a humanities subject at Grade 5 or above. If students have not studied a humanities at GCSE we would expect a grade of 6 or above in English Language GCSE.