An introduction to Religious Studies A-level

A brief overview from our A-level teachers.

What does it involve?

Students choosing Religious Studies at A-level will cover three components.

The first component is ‘Philosophy of Religion’, in which students study philosophical issues and questions raised by religion and belief. These include arguments that seek to answer questions such as: ‘What is real?’, ‘Is there such a thing as the soul?’ and ‘Does the problem of evil disprove God?’

In the second component, ‘Religion and Ethics’, students develop their knowledge of ethical language and thought, with exploration of key concepts and the works of influential thinkers. They learn how to apply ethical theory to issues of importance; namely euthanasia, business ethics, and sexual ethics.

The third component of the course is ‘Developments in Christian Thought’, which provides students with an opportunity for the systematic study of Christianity. Questions such as ‘Was Jesus really divine?’, ‘Will everyone go to heaven?’ and ‘Can you still be a Christian and commit murder?’ come under investigation. Also central is the ways in which Christianity has developed over time, and Christian responses to significant contemporary social issues.

How is it assessed?

At the end of the course, students are assessed by three written examination papers.

Which skills or qualifications do I need?

GCSE Religious Studies is useful but is by no means a pre-requisite to studying the A-level. A strong interest in the Humanities and grade 6 in English GCSE will furnish students with the skills required for this course.

University or employment prospects?

Many universities offer Religious Studies courses, often combined with Theology, or Ethics. Religious Studies furnishes students with excellent powers of communication, both verbally and in writing, and powers of critical analysis. This naturally opens many career paths in media, journalism, politics or business, while other possibilities include community development work, youth work, welfare or social work – or in fact, any job that requires you to think clearly and rigorously.