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A Level Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (RS)

Examining Board

Specification Title

Specification Code

OCR

A Level Religious Studies

AS Religious Studies

H573

H173

 

Course Leader: Miss Carla Jackman

 

What is A Level RS?   

This is not just about religion.  It includes big philosophical and ethical discussions that have been held since the Ancient Greeks began debating what knowledge is and what constitutes a good, moral life.

 

Why study this course?

This is for big thinkers who want to critically analyse the world and tackle some of life’s big questions.  Philosophers question and use reason to come to justified conclusions.  This course helps students to develop arguments and thinking skills that are essential in many other areas of study and future jobs.  It is also interesting to delve into the world of scholars from across the centuries who have wrestled with the concepts before us.  This is also a great addition to applications for Further Education as Philosophy students are highly valued for the skills they have acquired.

 

Who would the course be suitable for and what are the entry requirements?

This is a rigorous course that suites students who wish to pursue academic challenges.  Students need to meet the entry requirements for Post 16.  It compliments study in areas such as History, English Literature, Law, Psychology, Business and many others.

 

What will I learn in A Level Philosophy, Religion and Ethics?

Below is a selection of topic areas:

 

Philosophy: Arguments about the origins of the universe.  The problem of evil.  Do humans have a soul? Are the mind and the body two separate entities?  Can we prove/disprove the existence of God?  The Ancient Greeks and their influence on later philosophical thinking.

 

Ethics:  Is something morally right if it brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number?  Are there set rules about right and wrong or does it depend on the situation?  Should we be driven by duty?  How can we apply different theories to real situations (specifically business ethics and end of life decisions)?

 

Developments in Christian thinking:  How did Christianity develop its thinking about faith and morality?  Who is Jesus to Christians?  What is human nature? How does Christian morality work in practice? How can Christians ‘know’ God?

 

How will I be assessed?

There are three exams lasting 2 hours for the A level and 1.15hrs for the AS.  One on each of the three strands of the course. 

 

What can I do with Philosophy, Religion and Ethics?

  • Higher Education:  This qualification open doors to further study either directly linked to the specialist areas of the course or other qualifications where the skills and knowledge transfer to other areas (Law, History, Scientific ethics, Business, education, politics to name a few).
  • Careers Students who thrive in this subject have desirable skills and the ability to problem solve and critically analyse information.  This means that it opens them up to more job opportunities than just those directly linked to the three strands of the course.  Many people in entertainment, journalism, literature, the Law and Government have studied some variation of Philosophy, Religion and Ethics.  Any career that requires ethical understanding or the ability to speak publically or form arguments will benefit from studying this course. 
  • Your skills: We live in a world where it is essential to think critically and logically and understand the importance of evidence and reason.  Being able to analyse the world around us and being prepared to challenge our own preconceived ideas is a key skill in our contemporary society if we wish to make educated decisions for ourselves and others.

 

In the words of some of the philosophers on this course:

“A wise man proportions his beliefs to the evidence.”  David Hume

 

“Be a free thinker and don’t accept everything you hear as truth.  Be critical and evaluate what you believe in.”  Aristotle

 

Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” Plato

 

Is there anything else I need to know?

At the moment we run the AS course as an Enrichment course over two years.

 

For more information go to the exam board website:

https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-and-a-level/religious-studies-h173-h573-from-2016/

 

Who can I contact for further information?

cjackman@educ.somerset.gov.uk

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