Religious Studies

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Learn more about Religious Studies

Why study this subject?

In the world of work, employers look for someone with an enquiring mind, an appreciation of different viewpoints and an ability to come to clear, balanced decisions. These skills all develop through studying religions.

If you want to work with people in caring work, teaching, law, journalism, media, policing, tourism or to work abroad or in a cosmopolitan setting, a qualification in Religious Studies will be useful.

Which Examination Board?


Does the AS count towards the A Level or is it a standalone qualification?

AS counts for 40% of the overall A Level.

AS Content will be taught and examined in Year 12 and A Level Content will be taught and examined in Year 13

How will you be assessed?

AS – 2 x papers. (worth 40%) Unit 1 - Buddhism will be 1hr 15 mins and ask a mixture of part a (knowledge and understanding) and part b (evaluation) questions.

Unit 2 - Religion and Ethics and Philosophy will be 1 hr 45 mins and ask a mixture of part a. (knowledge and understanding) and part b. (evaluation) questions.

A2 – 3 x 1hr 30 min hour paper (worth 60%)

Each paper will give the students a choice of part a (knowledge and understanding) and part b (evaluation) questions

There is no controlled assessment.

What is the outline content over 2 years?

Year 12 – Buddhism

  • The Life of the Buddha
  • Main Buddhist Scriptures
  • Buddhist teachings on the self, death and afterlife
  • Teachings of the Sangha
  • Religious Practices (going for refuge and meditation)

Year 13 – Buddhism

  • Mahayana Buddhist practices (Tibetan, Zen, Pure Land and Nirchiren)
  • Buddhism in the West
  • The Engaged Buddhism movement
  • Mindfulness
  • Women in Buddhism
  • The work of the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh

Year 12 – Philosophy of Religion

  • The problem of evil
  • Religious experience
  • The existence of God
  • Challenges to religious belief

Year 13 – Philosophy of Religion

  • Religion and Belief according to Freud
  • Religion and Belief according to Jung
  • Mystical Experience
  • Miracles
  • Religious Language

Year 12 – Religion and Ethics

  • Ethical Theories
  • Natural Law (Abortion and Euthanasia)
  • Situation Ethics (Sexual Ethics)
  • Utilitarianism (Animal testing and Nuclear Weapons)

Year 13 – Religion and Ethics

  • Development of Natural Law (immigration and capital punishment)
  • Meta ethics (ethical language)
  • Predestination and Free Will
  • Determinism