Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

A Level
2 years
Curriculum Manager: 
Fiona Webb

What is Philosophy, Religion and Ethics?

The A Level in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics puts an emphasis on the development of Philosophical skills, especially argumentation. So as a student of Philosophy you will embark on a journey of thinking, especially approaching fundamental questions, using a process of logical argument. You will analyse and clarify concepts tracing a tradition from the Ancient Greek to 21st Century modern thinkers. In addition, you will study developments in Religious thought, which both informs and challenges Philosophical ideas.

Philosophical theories are profound and abstract so If you like to criticise and question the assumptions of life then you will enjoy the course. The subject is challenging but manageable, and an academically valid subject to study. It is a qualification that is highly regarded by Russell Group Universities.

Is Philosophy, Religion and Ethics suitable for me?

Philosophy, Religion and Ethics is an excellent course if you are prepared to change your thought processes, and work hard. As an academic discipline it is suitable to those with a logical mind and a good grade in Mathematics and English. GCSE Religious Studies is helpful but not essential.

How will I learn?

You will read or prepare presentations. You need to use current newspapers, the internet, podcasts and video to apply philosophical argument to deepen your understanding of thinking and moral behaviour. You will need to write essays and take part in regular class discussion and debates.

In Philosophy, Religion and Ethics we ask these questions:

  • What can we know?
  • Does God exist?
  • How do we make moral decisions?
  • Are my mind and body separate?

You will read extracts from great thinkers including, Descartes, Russell and Plato, as you get to grips with these questions, so you must be prepared to do some challenging conceptual thinking.

Content overview (OCR)

33.3% Philosophy: problem of evil, nature of the mind, body and soul, existence of God

33.3% Ethics: the conscience, contemporary issues, psychology of religion, free will.

33.3 % Religious thought: beliefs and values, identity, issues within society.

How will I be assessed?

3 x 2 hour written paper


You will never regret learning to think and many areas require exactly that – Law, Psychology, Computing, Politics and Journalism – all occupations that demand clear thinkers. Philosophy is also a subject studied for pleasure – a life-long journey as a ‘lover of wisdom’.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C. A Grade 5 in GCSE English is preferred.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, USB’s and calculators (where applicable). Any further costs are outlined below:

Essential: £25 for text books – which includes the necessary set texts. £25 for course materials.

Optional: you may consider subscribing to Philosophy Now magazine. A number of trips are also offered throughout the year.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Course code





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