The A-level in Religious Studies provides a rigorous and often critical study of religious and non-religious beliefs and relates them to the wider world in which we live. Religious studies is the academic field of non-biased study into religious beliefs, behaviours and institutions. The course focuses on three distinct areas:
The philosophy of religion examines the arguments to prove the existence of God whilst offering a critical examination of religious belief. It questions the human mind and reasons for rejecting such arguments, alongside the possible evidence that religious experience and miracles can add to the debate. The philosophy of religion also identifies the meaning of religious language and offers ideas for and against to support the claims made by religious believers.
The ethics part of the course focuses on the study of right and wrong. It examines religious and non-religious ethical theories (such as utilitarianism and situation ethics) to see if they add a viable theory behind deciding what is right or wrong in life.
The third aspect of the course focuses on the key beliefs, history and teaching in the religion of Buddhism. From analysing the historical Buddha, to the branches of the religion and its contribution to modern thought and society.
A grade 5 in English language or Literature or a grade 5 in Religious Studies (full course).
This is a two-year course.
There are three exams at the end of year 13:
Paper one: The philosophy of religion.
Paper two: Ethics
Paper three: Buddhism
Each paper is worth just over 33% of the whole A-level.
Further links and employment
Studying Religious Studies at A-level does not mean that you want to be a vicar. Universities like students who can reason and think in a mature and balanced way, as does the world of work. Religious Studies builds these skills of analysis and debate, critical thinking and mature reflection. These skills will be honed by challenging our thinking at every level. The content that will produce such thoughtful and employable students just happens to be fascinating too! Knowledge of other cultures and world religious beliefs can be useful in many jobs where you are working with the public or communities. These include counselling and social services, marketing, sales and advertising, catering and hospitality, leisure, sport and tourism, retail sales and customer services, education and training, medicine and nursing, and service sector roles.