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Philosophy, Ethics and Religion A Level

This course explores some of the deepest and oldest questions that people have asked. How should we live? What is reality? Is there a God? You will learn to look at these questions philosophically.


You will study different ethical theories that try to spell out the difference between right and wrong. You will look at questions in the philosophy of religion that will introduce you to metaphysics, logic, epistemology and the philosophy of language.


The course will take you back to the views of Plato and Aristotle and forward across the ages right up to the thoughts of present-day philosophers. Studying philosophy and ethics is an excellent way of learning how to present and defend your views whilst drawing upon a wide range of disciplines.


A level students will study a two year linear A Level programme. At the end of their 1st year, students will sit internally assessed exams.

Exam Board: Pearson



Search your university and career options if you study Philosophy, Ethics and Religion A Level


  • What is the course about?

    Students will spend most of their time learning about what others have said. The subject is not a series of debating sessions in which students will develop their own theories. If this comes up, then you could refer to two good reasons for this. You'll be looking at hard questions that philosophers have thought about for a long time. You'll need to know what they thought to avoid 're-inventing the wheel' – to avoid spending time working out a line of thought that someone has had before.

    Philosophical questions are tough questions. You wouldn't expect to do physics or maths and be asked to come up with your own theories. You need to learn what others have said to learn about the topic itself. It takes time to become an expert.

  • What will I study and learn?

    The first year:

    Philosophy of Religion

    • Ancient Greek influences on philosophy of religion
    • Judaeo-Christian influences on philosophy of religion
    • Traditional arguments for the existence of God
    • Challenges to religious belief

    Religious Ethics

    • Ethical theories
    • Applied ethics topics

    The second year:

    Philosophy of Religion

    • Religious language
    • Experience and religion
    • Nature of God
    • Life and death
    • Miracle

    Religious Ethics

    • Meta-ethics
    • Free will and determinism
    • Conscience
    • Virtue ethics
    • Applied ethics topics
  • How is the course assessed?

    100% exams – 3 exams (one for philosophy, one for ethics, and one for Christianity) in May/June.

  • What courses would combine well with this course?

    This course combines well with any humanities or social science subject. It also combines well with Mathematics A Level – especially for students who have an interest in conceptual issues. This subject combines well with most other subjects and it is the student’s ability to structure thoughts clearly and coherently that is most important.

  • What skills will I need for the course?

    The course requires both breadth and depth of judgement, so that you might judge different ways of thinking. It requires relating different ways of thinking together, so as to properly understand religious truth claims. You will need the ability to write clearly, and to be able to discuss your views. The course also requires you to be able to balance different views so as to arrive at an informed conclusion.

  • What formal entry requirements will I need?

    Minimum requirements - average point score of 5.5 including GCSE English Language at grade 6 and Maths at grade 5.


    Points calculation

    The average points score for entry to an A Level programme will be calculated using your 8 best GCSEs OR 6 GCSEs plus 1 technical qualification (equivalent to a maximum of 2 GCSEs and 10 points).

    From 2017 English Language, English Literature and Mathematics GCSE will be graded numerically (1 – 9. Grade 5 = a good grade C, grade 6 = grade B and grade 7 = grade A).


    To work out your average and find out more information, please see our Entry Requirements page.

  • What could the course lead to in higher education or careers?

    This course is a respected A Level, and a good grade will help you to secure a place in a good university on a wide range of courses (e.g. law and languages). As a discipline, the course can, firstly, help you to become more focused since it allows you to explore the motives which shape your life and secondly, it allows you to become more tolerant, since it requires that you respect a diversity of beliefs. Self-motivation and respect for diversity are key to all academic study and to success in a variety of careers. Public institutions such as government bodies, in particular, like the broad minded, sensitive and rigorous thinking skills that this course develops.

  • Are there any costs involved?

    You will need to purchase at least two introductory texts. There may be trips to conferences and religious sites which will involve some expense (eg travel and food) which should not exceed £70 for each year of the course.

  • Are you aged over 19?

    Students aged 19 or over on 31st August directly preceding their academic year may be required to pay tuition fees for that year of study. Advanced Learner Loans may be available for students studying at Level 3. If you are aged 19-23 as at 31 August and this is your first full Level 3 you may not have to pay fees.

    Students who are 19-24 years old with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) issued by the Local Authority are not required to pay course fees (ie tuition fees are free). Students will be required to provide a final copy of their EHCP provided by the LA as evidence.


    You can find A Level course fees for adults on our A Level page. 

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