A Level Religious Studies

A Level Religious Studies

Gain a deeper understanding of different religions, philosophy and ethics with this enlightening course. By studying the Philosophy of Religion you will open up fascinating topics, including the nature of the mind, body and soul, arguments for and against the existence of God, and the problem of evil. You will also tackle ethical debates, developing your own view on issues such as medical ethics, war, peace, sexual ethics and the environment. If you love discussion and debate – then this is the perfect choice for you!

Why St Mary's

You will learn in our dedicated teaching space, with access to a library of key texts, curated to support the themes covered in A Level.

Our enriched learning opportunities can include:

  • Essay competitions
  • Connections with local faith communities
  • Links with the various inter-faith programmes associated with the University of Cambridge
  • One-day Ethics and Philosophy conferences - recent speakers include Dr Peter Vardy, author and former Vice-Principal of Heythrop College

Enabling your transition from GCSE

If you have studied Religious Studies GCSE, there is some overlap with the A Level syllabus, particularly the consideration of contemporary moral issues at GCSE and the study of applied ethics at A Level. However the A Level course focuses on philosophical approaches, as opposed to different religions.

Throughout your course, you can arrange for additional teaching support on all aspects of the course, from checking answers and talking through topics, to help with revision and exam preparation.

Course overview

A Level content

Paper 1: Philosophy of religion (Paper code: 9RS0/01)

  • Philosophical issues and questions
  • The nature and influence of religious experience
  • Problems of evil and suffering
  • Philosophical language
  • Works of scholars
  • Influences of developments in religious belief

Paper 2: Religion and ethics (Paper code: 9RS0/02)

  • Significant concepts in issues or debates in religion and ethics
  • A study of three ethical theories
  • Application of ethical theories to issues of importance
  • Ethical language
  • Deontology, virtue ethics and the works of scholars
  • Medical ethics: beginning and end of life issues

Paper 3: New Testament studies (Paper code: 9RS0/03)

  • Social, historical and religious context of the New Testament
  • Texts and interpretation of the Person of Jesus
  • Interpreting the text and issues of relationship, purpose and authorship
  • Ways of interpreting the scripture
  • Texts and interpretation: the Kingdom of God, conflict, the death and resurrection of Jesus
  • Scientific and historical-critical challenges, ethical living and the works of scholars

Assessment

A Level assessment

Paper 1: Philosophy of religion (Paper code: 9RS0/01)

Written examination: 2 hours (33.3% of qualification)

  • Two structured questions
  • One two-part essay question on an excerpt, sourced from a published list of extracts
  • One extended essay question

Paper 2: Religion and ethics (Paper code: 9RS0/02)

Written examination: 2 hours (33.3% of qualification)

  • Two structured questions
  • One two-part essay question on an excerpt, sourced from a published list of extracts
  • One extended essay question

Paper 3: New Testament studies (Paper code: 9RS0/03)

Written examination: 2 hours (33.3% of qualification)

  • Two structured questions
  • One two-part essay question on an excerpt, sourced from a published list of extracts
  • One extended essay question

Visit our Sixth Form

At a glance
  • Syllabus: Edexcel A Level 9RS0
  • 3 written papers (33.3% each of total A Level mark)
  • Small class sizes
You will enjoy this course if you...
  • Want to build your independent research skills
  • Like analysing and evaluating information
  • Can clearly communicate your ideas
  • Like debating issues and building evidenced arguments

What our teachers say...

“We were drawn to the subject because it is diverse and interdisciplinary. Leaving aside the broad range of philosophy, practice and belief that can be part of the discipline, it touches textual criticism, history, art, psychology, literature, epistemology, sociology, languages, cosmology, politics and more!”

“To change the world, we must be good to those who cannot repay us.” Pope Francis

Understanding religion and different cultural and religious perspectives is essential to understanding politics, society, conflict, history and the experiences of our neighbours and those we meet.

If we want to change the world, then religious and philosophical perspectives can offer us a unique perspective on some of the challenges in our global community, such as issues of law, morality, social justice and human rights, as well as questions of personhood, vocation, meaning and value which arise in assessing our own individual existence. 

This course develops core skills such as analysing controversial issues, essay writing and developing well-evidenced arguments – all great preparation for higher level study and employment. A qualification in religious studies also demonstrates you have an informed world view and an ability to respect and understand others.

Past St Mary's students have gone on to study a wide range of related university courses, including theology, history of art, English, history, business, medicine, archaeology, philosophy and psychology.

Religious studies opens up a diverse range of career paths, in fields such as: counselling, advice work, charitable organisations, archiving, law, community development, policing, youth work, education or social work.

Leaver destinations

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