Religious Studies

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Religious Studies is for pupils who want to think deeply about the most fundamental issues that face human beings: philosophical issues such as whether God exists; why there is suffering in the world; moral issues like abortion and euthanasia; and how we should punish criminals.

If you choose this course you will need to be ready to give your own opinions as well as studying what some great thinkers have concluded about such ultimate questions.

Course Content

The GCSE in Religious Studies involves two parts:

Part 1 (50%): a study of two religions: their beliefs and practices.

Part 2 (50%): a study of ethical and philosophical questions concerning the modern world.

Part 1 of the syllabus involves learning about the philosophical basis for the beliefs and practices of two major world religions. The two religions which we will study are Christianity and Islam. However, there is considerable flexibility in this syllabus which means it will be possible for pupils from a particular faith background to choose this course and answer questions about their own faith. Pupils wishing to do this will need to have demonstrated throughout Year 9 that they are capable of studying independently really effectively.

Part 2 of the syllabus is based on four major philosophical and ethical themes that are important and relevant in the modern world: 

  • Religion and life: the origins of the universe and life on earth, the value of life on earth and the environment, questions concerning the origins and value of human life (abortion and euthanasia).
  • The existence of God and revelation: various arguments for and against the existence of God, the possibility of religious experience and revelation.
  • Religion, crime and punishment: the causes of crime, the aims of punishment, arguments for and against the death penalty and views about whether forgiveness is ever really possible.

These themes will be studied from the perspective of various religious and non-religious viewpoints.

Key Course Details
Exam boardAQA
AssessmentWritten examination (100%)