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Religion, Philosophy & Ethics

A Level Religion, Philosophy & Ethics focuses on Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. It also involves detailed reference to the Judeo-Christian tradition as well as to other religions, notably Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.
What is Religion, Philosophy & Ethics?

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics is a wide-ranging, academic discipline and one of the fastest growing subjects in UK schools. An understanding of issues central to this subject is of great value in making sense of today’s world, indeed of human life as a whole. The subject will appeal to students who enjoy the analysis and discussion of many of life’s fundamental questions, or who want to understand the convictions of others, as well as examining their own beliefs and values.

What is Religion, Philosophy & Ethics at DLD?

The course focuses on Philosophy of Religion, Ethics and Christianity. It involves detailed reference to the Judeo-Christian tradition, as well as contemporary issues and secular perspectives. The course is taught primarily through class discussion, study of textual extracts and relevant online and DVD materials. Homework tasks include writing essays, evaluating textbook chapters and revising for class tests. We study the following topics:

Philosophy of Religion:
Arguments for the Existence of God; the Problem of Evil; Religious Experience; Miracles; Religious Language; Life after Death.

(1) Ethical theories: Natural Law, Virtue Ethics, Situation Ethics, Utilitarianism, Kantian Ethics.
(2) Ethical Issues: Conscience, Free Will and Moral Responsibility, Meta-Ethics.
(3) Applied Ethics: Embryo Research, Cloning, Designer Babies, Capital Punishment, Abortion, Euthanasia, Organ Transplants, Animal Rights.

(1) Topics: Sources of Wisdom and Authority; Christian ideas of God; Self, Death and Afterlife; Good Conduct and Key Moral Principles; Expressions of Religious Identity; Christianity, Gender and Sexuality; Christianity and Science; Christianity and Secularization; Christianity and Religious Pluralism.
(2) Applied Ethics: Just War Theory, Environmental Ethics, Sexual Ethics and Transgender issues, Genetic Engineering, Immigration.

How is it assessed?

For the AS qualification the assessment is as follows:

Component 1: Philosophy of religion and ethics

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 120 marks
  • 67% of AS

Component 2: Study of religion

  • Written exam: 1 hour
  • 60 marks
  • 33% of AS

For the 2 year A Level qualification the assessment is as follows:

Component 1: Philosophy of Religion and Ethics

  • Written exam: 3 hours
  • 100 marks
  • 50 % of A-level

Component 2: Study of Religion and Dialogues

  • Written exam: 3 hours
  • 100 marks
  • 50 % of A-level

Exam Board: AQA

What do I need?

Most importantly you need to have a genuine interest in this subject. You should also have the ability to discuss and reflect upon a wide variety of ideas and opinions in a thoughtful and broad-minded way. Given this, you are likely to enjoy the course and gain much benefit from it.

Good subject combinations

Due to its wide-ranging nature, Religion, Philosophy and Ethics has connections with many other A-level courses. For example, the following topics that we study illustrate these links:

  • English Literature: considering varying interpretations of the Genesis creation story; virtue and vice in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
  • Psychology: the religious thinking of Freud and Jung; psychological understandings of religious experience, near-death and paranormal experience.
  • Sociology: the religious thought of Marx; secularisation; fundamentalism.
  • Politics: Liberal and conservative religious perspectives; utilitarianism; utopianism; human rights.
  • History: history of ideas; the Enlightenment; Nazism and Communism.
  • Science: Big Bang and evolutionary theories; medical ethics; genetic engineering and cloning.
  • Geography: environmentalism; global issues, e.g. population.
After DLD

The academic nature of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics and its emphasis on essay writing and critical thinking skills mean that it provides an ideal preparation for future study at university. An A level qualification in this subject is highly regarded by universities when considering student applications. Issues relating to philosophy, ethics and religion are of increasing significance and relevance in today’s society and a grounding in these ideas, as well as the skills developed in this subject, would be of great value in many professions, including the Media, the Arts, Psychology and Law.


Q: Do I need to be religious to take this subject?
A: You may belong to any religion or none.

Q: Can I do the course in one year?
A: To be confirmed (please enquire at DLD).

Entry Requirements for international students

To study A Levels, your current or pending exam results should be equivalent to or higher than GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in at least 5 subjects and a minimum level of English equivalent to IELTS 5.0. At the start of each academic year of study students following an A-Level course without a pass at grade C in GCSE or IGCSE English Language or with an Academic English score below 6.5 overall must join an Academic English training course for the duration of the academic year which will be timetabled alongside A-Level lessons. If your level of English is not sufficient to meet the entry criteria for the A-Level programme you will normally be offered a place on the Abbey DLD Colleges One Year Pre-sessional (Pre A-Level) in order to bring your English skills up to the required level.

Religion, Philosophy & Ethics is an intellectually stimulating and satisfying subject which challenges your beliefs and values by addressing life’s most important questions. I enjoy the stimulating, ethical and philosophical debates considering many of the most important issues in the contemporary world, from both religious and secular points of view. RS has introduced me to many new ideas and broadened my intellectual horizons in an enjoyable way.

Elmo Spethmann – current DLD student

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