Based at the Workington Academy site.

Examination Board


Entry Criteria

GCSE Grade 5 in English Language required
GCSE Grade 5 in Religious Studies recommended


There will be a written exam on each component. The exam questions will be essay style questions which will test your knowledge and your ability to evaluate.

Why you should study Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics

Religious Studies is a challenging and exciting subject. It is broken into three areas: philosophy, ethics, and developments in Christian thought. It is thought provoking and encourages critical thinking in all areas. The skills achieved through studying this course include evaluative and analytical skills which are ideal for careers in law, politics, business, and psychology. This is due to the ability to look at an issue from a variety of views, offer challenges to these and assess the validity of arguments. Religious Studies will challenge your own views and will allow for an in-depth study of the world including a variety of emotive topics including but not limited to the holocaust, the treatment of women, attitudes towards pre-marital sex and homosexuality, and the issue of innocent children suffering.

Course Content

Philosophy of religion

Students start with a study of reality from two Ancient Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle. Students will consider what we can know about reality and how effective these arguments are in the modern world. From here, there will be a consideration of whether we are simply a body or if humans have a soul. Students will study a variety of arguments for God’s existence including the cosmological, teleological, and ontological arguments. They will counter these with the Big Bang theory, evolution, and a variety of counter arguments from scholars such as Hume and Kant. Students will also study religious experience including visions, and miracles. There will also be an in-depth study of the problem of evil, and how this poses the biggest challenge to religious belief.

Religion and ethics

Students will study a variety of ethical systems from religious and non-religious backgrounds to establish which (if any) is the best ethical theory for the modern world. Students will look at natural law, situation ethics, Kantian ethics, and utilitarianism. They will assess the validity of each theory and apply it to modern issues with a consideration of which is effective and consider what moral dilemmas they are successful for. Students will then apply some of these ethical theories to the issue of euthanasia, sexual ethics, and business ethics to establish how these work in the real world. Students will also complete a study of the conscience.

Development in Christian thought

Students will study and assess the changes in Christian thought starting with a study of human nature with Augustine and a consideration of whether human nature is manipulated through sex. Students will assess views of death and the afterlife, the ability to reach heaven and whether this is justified. Students will assess how Christian’s believe that they know God, the importance of Jesus and the role of the church in fighting against oppressions and injustice. Students also have a focus on feminist theology and the impact that religion has had on the treatment of women, whilst studying a growing secular society and whether religion will survive.

Skills Developed, Progression and Possible Future Careers

Religious Studies has been a popular subject at A/AS level for some time and is recognised as a traditional and rigorous academic subject by Universities. AS/A level Religious Studies opens the way for degree courses in Theology, Comparative Religion, Philosophy, Law, and Sociology. It helps to develop invaluable skills such as critical thinking, building an argument, research, and evaluation. Therefore, it is seen as a good basis for a number of career choices including law, journalism, teaching and social work. Increasingly professionals in a number of sectors have to consider the ethical concerns that this course gives you a good grounding in.

Finally, studying Religious Studies is an enjoyable experience, which gives you the space to reflect on what matters to you personally and helps you to reflect on the ultimate questions of life.

You do not need to have studied RE GCSE to do this course.