Philosophy and Ethics

Philosophy and Ethics

Philosophy and Ethics

Course Details
Careers and Higher Education


Philosophy and Ethics allows you to reflect on some of the most important questions people are faced with.

Ethics aims to understand the meaning of life and the nature of knowledge and goodness. When faced with choices about sex, relationships, money and lifestyles, we try to understand how we make ethical decisions about others and ourselves.

Philosophy encourages a critical understanding of the origin of the universe, our place within it and it raises questions about evil and suffering in the world.

Entry Requirements

No previous knowledge or study of religious studies or theology is necessary in order to take the subject at A Level.

Course Details

AS Level

The Advanced Subsidiary (AS) consists of 2 units. These units explore the foundations of Ethics and the New Testament


This includes:


  • A study of philosophical arguments about the existence of God.
  • Design Argument – Key ideas strengths and weaknesses.
  • Cosmological Argument – key ideas strengths and weaknesses.
  • Problems of evil and suffering, solutions to these problems.
  • Philosophical debate about miracles – reference to Hume.


This unit consists of an investigation in the study of Ethics. The topics that can be used are medical ethics, natural world and equality in the modern world. This unit is worth 50% of the AS course.

At A2 the units consist of:


This unit looks at Ethical concepts and problems in Ethics, New Testament Theology and Christology.

For the Ethics this includes:

  • Critiques of relationships between religion and morality.
  • Deontology, natural moral law, virtue ethics.
  • The meaning and definition of terms with reference to is/ought and debates about ‘good’, emotivism, relativism, and subjectivism.
  • Justice, Law and punishment.

Philosophy – Developments

  • Religious experience – key concepts, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Ontological argument – key concepts, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Arguments against the existence of God.
  • Beliefs about life after death, reincarnation, immortality of the soul.
  • A study of religious language.


  • Students will study an anthology published by Edexcel, where they will consider, examine and discuss:
  • Consequences of holding certain opinions, views or beliefs.
  • How particular beliefs or values affect other people.


As well as covering advanced level study of Religious Studies, this course will enable you to develop some key skills, which will be essential to you whatever you go on to do afterwards.

Some of the key skills you are able to develop are:

  • Communication
  • Information Technology
  • Working with others
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Problem solving

Development of these skills will help you with your learning as well as facilitate your move into higher education or employment.

Combining With Other Subjects

Religious Studies combines well with almost all other humanities AS /A level subjects such as History, Geography and English. In addition, if taken with sciences like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Religious Studies will give you a broad based curriculum.

Outside Activities

During the two years there are opportunities for various visits to local religious communities, the A Level conference in London and fact finding missions to the local university.

Pastoral Support

Students are closely supported and monitored, especially with coursework and bring in specialist help as and when required.


AS/A Level Religious Studies – EdExcel Specification

Units for AS Level:

Unit 1: Foundation – Ethics and New Testament. Written examination.  Answer three questions. 1hr 45mins.

Unit 2: Investigation. Written Examination. 1hr 15mins.

Units for A2 Level:

Unit 3 & 4: Developments and Implications. Written examination. 3hrs.

Careers and Higher Education

A Level Religious Studies has a good track record of success.   It is a very respected academic subject, complementing other A Level subjects.   It is useful to students wishing to study at university law, social work, business or a degree in Theology itself.   Any employer requiring A Levels or a graduate would look favourably upon anyone qualifying with Religious Studies.