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Home » Courses » A Level Philosophy of Religion & Ethics

A Level Philosophy of Religion & Ethics

Religious Studies invites you to explore philosophical beliefs that have shaped Western civilisation. The course provides a critical understanding of ideas about the self, the world we live in, moral values and the meaning of life and death.


Within this course you will consider how Religion, Ethics and Philosophy are intertwined within culture, law, medicine, social care, environment, and politics. If you are looking to pursue a career as a lawyer, politician, teacher, doctor, social activist, diplomat, aid worker, police officer (or any job that works with people) then this course will provide you with a range of transferable skills essential for the modern workplace. Students are trained in the application of rigorous logic through the development of a wide variety of skills including independent critical thought, analytical reasoning, and persuasive communication. Lectures often involve discussion and debate following learning on the perspectives of key philosophers and theologians and get the opportunity to explore these ideas in a modern-day context too.

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Start date: 09/09/2024

Course code
Level 3
Penwith College
2 years
A Level


Philosophical and ethical dilemmas

Thought-provoking debates

Multiple perspectives

Learn how to structure arguments

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Widen your Perspective

We will approach the course from a philosophical perspective. You will need to be prepared to take view-points seriously even if you disagree with them. It will be important for you to listen to points of view which you may not share and approach them with both a critical and respectful attitude.


skills and confidence

Classes often involve a lot of discussion often based on short challenging texts. You will develop the skills and confidence to take in ideas and information rapidly, turn it around and speak out and have your opinions heard. This is a valuable transferrable skill for may careers.

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Develop a reflective approach

You will be encouraged to adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of religion. In turn this will allow you to reflect on and develop your own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of this study.


Within the course we explore three topic areas, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics, and the Study of Christianity:

Philosophy of Religion: In this unit you will consider the types of evidence that are offered for belief in God, you will evaluate both this evidence and evidence offered for rejection of religious belief. We will also consider the nature of religious argument by considering several possible approaches. An important part of the work is to think about the basis of our beliefs. Some philosophers believe that we can only rely upon the evidence of our senses, but others point out that our senses can deceive us and search for something more certain.

Ethics: In this unit you will learn how to evaluate several different ethical theories as well as considering the extent to which we are free to make our own moral choices and are responsible for our actions. You will also consider whether religious faith is at the heart of ethical theories or whether we can form completely secular ethical theories. You will evaluate these contrasting approaches while considering the place of reason in ethical thought. Later in the course you will consider what sort of activity we are engaging in when we think about ethics and why its problems have proved so intractable.

Study of a religion: Christianity: You will learn about the Christian tradition in some detail, studying the lives and contributions of important religious figures as well as the important texts and practices that form the basis of this religion. You will also learn about different types of Christianity and the history of Christian practice. You will begin the study of Christianity by thinking about the central ideas of the Nature of God, religious life and religious practice as well as looking at the life of Jesus before moving onto a consideration of key texts and concepts. Later you will undertake a detailed investigation of the challenges faced from science and investigate Christianity in the U.K and the development of Feminist Theology.

Although the third unit of the course focuses on Christianity, we tend to explore Christian beliefs in a comparative context and in relation with other religious systems such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.

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Throughout the course you will develop a wide range of invaluable skills that will enable you to succeed within Higher Education as well as a plethora of future careers. Given the emphasis of ethics in this course, it might be useful for those considering careers in law or medicine.

If you wish to pursue a career as a philosopher or theologian, then you will need to study the subject at undergraduate level at university and progress onto a masters or PhD.


Your achievement in this subject is dependent upon excellent attendance, punctuality and effort. You will learn in a friendly atmosphere, using a variety of assessment methods: You will be assessed regularly on written essay work that is conducted either as homework or under timed conditions in class and given feedback on your progress. Discussions are a vital part of our assessment process and you will be expected to contribute to those and reading exercises. Personal research and reading of modern scholarship is also a requirement. You will review your own performance in a 1:1 session with your tutor. You will undertake mock examinations on each unit in advance of your final exams.

You will be formally examined on each unit that you study. The examinations are at the end of the second year and comprise of:

Component 1: A Study of Religion
Written examination: 2 hours 33⅓% of qualification (100 marks)

Component 2: Philosophy of Religion
Written examination: 2 hours 33⅓% of qualification (100 marks)

Component 3: Religion and Ethics
Written examination: 2 hours 33⅓% of qualification (100 marks)

ENTRY requirements

For all A levels a minimum of five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above in appropriate subjects, to include English Language or Literature and/or Maths at grade 5 or above is required.

To study Philosophy you should be able to offer at least GCSE grade 6 in English Language and at least grade 5 in Mathematics plus at least three other GCSEs at grade 4 and above. It is not a requirement to have taken Religious Studies or PRE at GCSE. You will need to be a confident reader, able to write fluently and have good factual recall. Above all you should have a real interest in the subject.


You must be prepared to undertake at least 4 hours of independent study per week. The course has some topic areas which develop from GCSE Philosophy and Ethics, but we do not assume that you have any detailed knowledge about religious traditions or ethical views. The course leads to the EDUQAS A Level in Religious Studies.

Awarding Body: Eduqas

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Annual openings in Cornwall


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Annual openings in Cornwall


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Annual openings in Cornwall


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