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Religious Studies

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The Subject

Religious Studies is an ideal complement to other humanities subjects, offering insights into metaphysical and spiritual issues which are implicit in other fields.

What is the meaning and purpose of human life?

In one form of religion or another, much of what most people on the planet do is shaped by religion. In other words, to understand most of what goes on in the world you have to understand religion. You might even want to find out whether any of it is true…

Religious Studies handles issues which every thinking person must confront, and is a profound training in critical analysis and evaluation. For this reason it is highly regarded in occupations which require appreciation of big issues, of what motivates people, of right and wrong, and in those where the ability to investigate, understand and weigh up matters of importance is crucial Religious Studies A level is quite a different animal from GCSE. So much so, that it does not matter in the least whether you did Religious Education at GCSE.

A level Religious Studies is about ideas, and so lessons often involve discussing these, which is both interesting and extremely useful in developing the ability to argue your point of view. Thus, as well as leaning a great deal, you are encouraged to develop your own opinion about the material studied, and to voice it in a well structured argument.  

The Course

Each Religious Studies A level contains two major themes; depending on the students’interests, these will be chosen from:  

  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Ethics
  • Christian Beliefs
  • Modern Theology (feminist theology, fundamentalism, postmodernism, etc.)
  • Church History
  • Old or New Testament Studies
  • A World Religion (Buddhism, Islam, Judaism)
  • Religion in the Modern World  

The three examination boards offer specifications with similar structure in A level Religious Studies. The AS consists of two papers treating two topics chosen from a wide range. The A2 carries on these chosen topics in two further papers of which one draws together strands from the topics studied. In some cases a coursework essay can be substituted for one of the exam papers.  

Preferred Board: Edexcel

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