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Holmer Green Senior School

Holmer Green Senior School

Philosophy & Ethics (RS) A Level

If you are simply thinking that an A Level in RS will help you to become a RS teacher or a Priest… you are mistaken.  A Level RS provides rigorous study that is relatable to the wider world we all live in.  You will learn to develop an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to your studies which can then be applied to other areas of study.

The course is one third Philosophy, another Ethics and lastly Religion in a historical and contemporary setting. Covering a wide range of topics from the problem of Evil in the world in Philosophy to doing what ever makes the majority happy at the expense of the minority in Ethics.  Can we live our lives like this? Why or why not?  These kinds of bigger questions are hotly debated  and  have created the basis of our society today.  If you have an enquiring mind and like to debate the bigger questions this is the subject for you.

Course Content

Year 12

Paper 1: 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.

Exploration of philosophical language and thought though significant concepts and the works of key thinkers, illustrated in issues or debates in philosophy of religion.

Topics include: Ancient Philosophical influences, Soul, mind and body, Arguments for the existence of God based on observation, Arguments for the existence of God based on reason, Religious Experience, The problem of Evil and the Nature and attributes of God.

Paper 2: The study of ethical language and thought, with exploration of key concepts and the works of influential thinkers.

Ethical theory will also be applied to issues of importance; namely euthanasia, business ethics and sexual ethics.

Topics include: Natural law, Situation Ethics, Kantian Ethics, Utilitarianism, Applied Ethics on the topics of Euthanasia and Business Ethics, Conscience and Sexual Ethics.

Year 13

Completion of the philosophy and Ethics papers with the topics of: Religious Language and Meta-ethical Theories.

PAPER 3: Exploration of a religious belief, values and 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 religious responses to challenges and significant contemporary social issues.

Topics include: Augustine's Teaching on human nature, Death and the Afterlife, Knowledge of God’s existence, The person of Jesus, Christian Moral Principles/Action, Religious Pluralism and theology/Society, Gender in Theology/Society, Challenge of Secularism and Liberation Theology/Marxism


Exam Board: OCR

Three papers (Philosophy/Ethics/Developments in Christian Thought)

2 hours each all equal in value (33.3%)

Head of subject: Miss. J Kirkpatrick

Entry Requirements:

Grade 5 in RS or 5 in English Lang or Lit (if no GCSE RS taken)

Are you interested in: Debating Business Ethics,, Feminism, asking deeper bigger questions about existence and the world?

Leading to a career in: Education/Teaching; Law; Politics; Commerce, Finance and Industry; Journalism/Media; Police; advice worker; archivist; Charity fundraiser; Counsellor and social services; civil  services; Community development; editorial work; Youth Worker

This subject goes well with: History, Politics, English Psychology, Sociology and many more.

Student views

“Doing an A level in Religious Studies has allowed me to open my mind and broaden my horizons. It allows you to question the world in a way that no other A Level does.”