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What is Religious Studies?

Students will study philosophical issues and questions raised by religion and belief. These include arguments regarding the existence or non-existence of God, the nature and influence of religious experience, and the problems of evil and suffering. They will explore these ideas through the works of key thinkers,. Students will further study ethical language and thought: ethical theory will be applied to issues of importance such as euthanasia, business ethics, and sexual ethics.

 

Students will also undertake a systematic study of one religious tradition. This will include the exploration of religious beliefs, values, teachings and practices that shape religious identity, as well as sources of wisdom and authority. Also central are the ways in which religious traditions have developed over time, and how religious responses have changed in the face of challenges and contemporary social issues.

How is it studied?

Students will normally be taught in a small group, giving them an opportunity to explore ideas through class debate and discussion. The study of ethics lays down the ethical guidelines and arguments for students, but then allows them to explore how these relate to practical, modern issues. The study of religion also allows students to see how authority is established in that religion, and how this has been developed and challenged in the light of historical and contemporary developments.

How is A Level Religious Studies assessed?

Unit Modules Weighting Format
1 Philosophy of Religion 33.3% External Exam: 2 hours
2 Religion and Ethics 33.3% External Exam: 2 hours
3 Developments in Religious Thought 33.3% External Exam: 2 hours

 

Exam Board: OCR

What do I need to study it?

Students need an interest in philosophy, ethics and the practical application of religious ideas. An ability to create clear and precise arguments is essential so a good level of English will be highly beneficial. There is no requirement to hold any specific religious belief: atheists, agnostics and firm believers can all benefit from the subject.

What should I study with Religious Studies?

Religious Studies is good in combination with a very broad range of subjects. Its emphasis on belief, ethics and philosophy encourage students to form arguments and evaluate them systematically. This means that it can support a variety of social science and humanities subjects.

What can I do with A Level Religious Studies?

Many students go on to study Religious Studies as part of their university course or use the subject to support applications to a very broad range of other subjects, such as Philosophy or History.

Questions about the course

Is it possible to study Religious Studies in one year?

Yes, but the content of the course is challenging and broad, so having more time to reflect and build understanding can be beneficial.