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Religious Studies

Why Study Religion, Philosophy and Ethics?


Religion, Philosophy and Ethics also equips you with skills that are highly transferrable, it gives you the ability to write well, but also to write well about something that you believe in. Ultimately, however, students should study it because they want to study it and they love it, not because it will give them a particular job. That will happen anyway, because it makes you very employable, and is highly respected by universities.

Abigail Hughes,
Head of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

About the Course

Religion, Philosophy and Ethics is not something that is only going to be taught to you by a teacher in a classroom. It is about ideas that you will be taking home with you and thinking about on the train. Ideas that you are going to want to consider further when you get home, ideas that you will want to ask your family about their opinion. Ideas that you are going to think about when you are lying in bed trying to get to sleep, ideas that will help shape your world view, in a way that other subjects don’t have the same potential to do.

The OCR A-level is made up of three units. Each unit is assessed in a two-hour exam at the end of Year 13. The exam for each unit contains four questions, all of which are worth 40 marks. Pupils choose three of these questions to answer.

In Unit 1 pupils study a broad range of philosophical ideas from those of Plato and Aristotle to more modern day philosophers. This includes exploring different answers to philosophical questions about the nature of humanity, knowledge, language and the existence of God.

In Unit 2 pupils study ethical theories including Natural Law, Situation Ethics, Kantian Ethics and Situation Ethics. These are then applied to debates surrounding euthanasia, business ethics, and sexual ethics. Pupils also compare Aquinas and Freud’s conceptions of conscience and examine meta-ethical theories.

In Unit 3 pupils examine aspects of Christian theology including Augustine’s ideas about human nature and the relationship between faith and reason. They also study the ways in which Christian thought has developed over time and interacted with social change. This includes a study of feminist theology and Christian responses to secularism and multi-faith societies.


Examination Board

OCR (H573)

Course Structure

  • Unit 1 Philosophy of Religion (33.3% of A-level)
  • Unit 2 Ethics (33.3% of A-level)
  • Unit 3 Developments in Christian Thought (33.3% of A-level)