Philosophy, Ethics & Religion

Western philosophy includes discussions on the arguments for and against the existence of God, religious experience, the nature of the mind and body and what implications this has for a possible life after death. In Ethics, you will compare and contrast different ethical theories and apply them to ethical dilemmas such as euthanasia, business and sex. You will also study the philosophy of ethical language and the role of the conscience in moral decision making. Explore Buddhism which is considered by many to be an eastern philosophy rather than a religion. You will look at teachings on the nature of reality and human life, wisdom, morality and meditation. There is an option to study developments within Christianity instead of Buddhism. This pathway involves the study of the ways in which Christianity has responded to various challenges including scientific advances, secularism, religious pluralism and sex and gender issues.

Awarding Body

Available As

A Level

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What will I study?

Component 01: Philosophy of religion

  • Ancient philosophical influences
  • the nature of the soul, mind and body
  • Arguments about the existence or non-existence of God
  • The nature and impact of religious experience
  • The challenge for religious belief of the problem of evil
  • Ideas about the nature of God
  • Issues in religious language.

Component 02: Religion and ethics

  • Normative ethical theories
  • The application of ethical theory to two contemporary issues of importance
  • Ethical language and thought
  • Debates surrounding the significant idea of conscience
  • Sexual ethics and the influence on ethical thought of developments in religious beliefs.

Component 03: Developments in religious thought (Christianity or Buddhism)

  • Religious beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections and how they vary historically and in the contemporary world
  • Sources of religious wisdom and authority
  • Practices which shape and express religious identity, and how these vary within a tradition
  • Significant social and historical developments in theology and religious thought
  • Key themes related to the relationship between religion and society.


Components 1 (Philosophy of Religion) and 2 (Religion and Ethics) are compulsory.

Component 3 (Developments in Religious Thought) can be studied in relation to either Christianity or Buddhism.

How will I learn?


We use a variety of teaching methods and expect you to get involved; you will be expected to participate in discussion and problem-solving activities, as well as read, take notes and write essays.

How will I be assessed?

Paper 1: Philosophy of Religion

2 hours. 33.3%

3 essays out of a choice of 4.

Paper 2: Religion and Ethics

2 hours. 33.3%.

3 essays out of a choice of 4.

Paper 3: Developments in Religious Thought (Christainity or Buddhism)

2 hours. 33.3%.

3 essays out of a choice of 4.

Are there any extra costs?

There will be a small charge for course booklets to cover reprographic costs.

Are there any specific entry requirements?

There are no special requirements to take this course and no expectation that you have studied Full Course RE GCSE. However, because the examinations are essay-based, a good standard of written communication is required.

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