Religious Studies (Philosophy and Ethics)

Course Overview

It makes no difference if you are a theist (believer in God), atheist (non-believer in God) or agnostic (undecided about God), Religious Studies could offer you an interesting and vibrant option at both AS and A Level with plenty of opportunities for thought-provoking religious, ethical and philosophical debate.

This course can provide you with excellent transferable skills such as essay writing, debating and the ability to appreciate other viewpoints.

AS candidates complete two options:

Unit 1 - Introduction to Eastern Religions: Buddhism

  • The Life of the Buddha
  • Key Buddhist Concepts (karma, nirvana)
  • Buddhist Lifestyle (lives of monks, nuns and lay community)
  • Buddhist Practices (worship and meditation)

Unit 2 - Introduction to Religion and Ethics and Philosophy of Religion

  • Aquinas' 'natural law' ethical theory
  • Utilitarianism (Bentham and Mill)
  • Flecther's situation ethics based on love
  • Applied ethics 
  • Inductive arguments of God's existence
  • Deductive arguments of God's existence
  • The problem of evil and suffering
  • Religous experience

There are three further units at A Level:

  • Unit 3 - Religion and Ethics
  • Unit 4 - Studies in Buddhism
  • Unit 5 - Philosophy of Religion

Students are expected to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of these ideas but also their evaluative skills.


Entry Requirements

Grade B in GCSE English Language and Literature is desirable.

Course Delivery

The course is delivered through four sessions that make up 4.5 hours a week. Each session is lecture based with plenty of opportunities for student interaction.

Examinations for both AS and A Level are sat in the summer.  For each exam, two structured essay questions must be answered out of a choice of four.

Students are set practice essay / exam questions at least every three weeks with constructive feedback on how to improve given on return.

Progression Opportunities

A degree in Religious Studies can lead to a variety of careers such as teaching, social work, journalism, nursing, PR and youth work.  Students who have completed the course have gone on to various universities including Swansea, Cardiff, Bristol, London, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Cambridge and Bath Spa.

Additional Information

There will be opportunities to visit a Buddhist Centre and a variety of guest speakers will be invited in to college. Last year, the college hosted a successful inter-faith conference on life after death.

The RS Moodle page is regularly updated with links to online articles and videos that students can access to increase their knowledge of key topics and how they relate to current events.

We have links to several universities including Cardiff, Trinity Saint David and Bath Spa, enabling students to make study visits to conferences and seminars.

Course deliverable in Welsh: