Religious Studies: Philosophy, Theology and Ethics a level


Exam board: OCR


General qualifications for your chosen pathway (see LaSWAP pathways)

  • 6 or above in English language 
  • 6  or above in RE/another humanities

No commitment to any religious persuasion is pre-supposed. The course is open to candidates of any or no religious persuasion. Students will be assessed on the merit of the arguments they use about the issues raised, not on their personal beliefs.


The three main areas of study are as follows:

  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Religion and Ethics
  • Development in Religious Thought: Christianity

Students will study these different branches over the two year course.


In Year 13 students will continue with their study of these branches of the course.


  • Extended essay writing at an advanced level.
  • Analysing, interpreting and evaluating religious and philosophical texts.
  • Research through different forms of media.
  • Group discussion and debates, enhancing their critical thinking.
  • Seminars and conferences will be attended to further develop understanding of complex arguments.
  • Developing hypotheses and justifying of personal positions on religious, ethical, philosophical problems, relevant to the modern world.



For this new specification, all examinations will take place at the end of year 13, following the completion of the two year course.

There will be three examinations, with one for each of the three branches of the course. Each examination will last for 2 hours and each will have equal weighting with regards to the final grading of the A level qualification.


  • This Religious Studies: Philosophy, Theology and Ethics course prepares for entry to any arts or literary degree course at university level, particularly philosophy, theology and law but also English, history, sociology, psychology and creative writing.
  • Due to the course’s focus on ethics and developments in religious thought, it is also a useful and popular course for those interested in degree courses involving medicine, politics or social sciences.
  • Religious Studies: Philosophy, Theology and Ethics is a well-regarded degree for entry into any profession.
  • To help you decide whether this course subject is for you, consider the following questions. As a result you might feel that the course is not for you or it definitely is for you. Alternatively, the questions might stimulate you to do further research or to test out trying something new.
    • Are you confident in your writing of extended, high quality essays?
    • Are you prepared to read a great deal, taking personal responsibility to prepare for lessons through persevering through complex, original texts?
    • Do you enjoy debating issues such as the existence of God, good and evil?
    • Do you enjoy justifying your ethical views around modern moral issues?
    • Are you interested in religion and the critical evaluation of the role that it does or should play in modern society?