Religious Studies (Philosophy, Ethics and Development of Christian Thought)

Subject Leader
Miss Buxton Collins
Apply Now Register an interest
Thank you for your interest in Newcastle School for Boys. Please leave your contact details and will be in touch as soon as possible.

Aims of the Course

  • To develop knowledge, understanding and interest in a rigorous study of religion and belief and relate it to the wider world.
  • To develop the ability to think clearly, understand, and to evaluate contrasting philosophical, ethical and moral views.
  • To reflect on and develop one’s own values, opinions and attitudes.
  • To gain and develop transferable skills for careers and courses demanding analysis, evaluation and clarity of expression.

Course content

At A2 the course is made up of three modules all of which have an equal weighting. The modules are as follows:


Within Philosophy students will gain a knowledge and understanding of the following topics and will also develop the necessary skills and thinking to evaluate and assess them extensively.

  • Ancient philosophical influences including Plato and Aristotle
  • Soul, mind and body including Descartes and Anscombe
  • Life after death examining questions such as what is ‘self?’
  • Religious experience including the evaluation of mystical and conversion experiences
  • Arguments for the existence of God, including The teleological argument, The cosmological argument, and The ontological argument for the existence of God,
  • Challenges to belief with a focus on the problem of evil and suffering.
  • The nature of God including developments in the understanding of it.
  • Religious language and ideas around how it used and constructed
  • Twentieth century perspectives.


Within Ethics students will gain a knowledge and understanding of the following topics and will also develop the necessary skills and thinking to evaluate and assess them extensively.

  • Ethical theories: Aristotle’s virtue ethics, natural law, and situation ethics,
  • Applied ethics, The application of theories to Sex and Sexuality and Euthanasia.
  • Ethical language and thought as exemplified by egoism, duty and preference.
  • Meta-ethics; different understanding of the terms ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’
  • Free will and determinism: theological, environmental and genetic.
  • Conscience with a study of Aquinas, Freud and Dawkins
  • Developments in ethical thought including The Euthyphro Dilemma

Developments in Christian thought

In this component, learners have the opportunity to study key concepts within the development of Christian thought. Learners will explore religious beliefs, values and teachings, how they have developed historically and how they are presently discussed.

  • Human nature and purpose of life
  • The self and immortality
  • Knowledge and revelation of God
  • The Bible as a source of revelation and authority
  • The nature and presentations of Jesus Christ
  • The challenge of secularism including liberation theology and Marx
  • Pluralism in theology with reference to exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism
  • Gender in society changing views of gender and gender roles and gender in theology


At A2 the student completes three written examination papers, one for each unit, in which they choose and answer three essay questions out of a possible four. Each paper lasts two hours and carries a weighting of 33%.

Career Opportunities

The skills nurtured and developed in Religious Studies are transferable to many different employment sectors. These skills include the development of academic writing, research skills, interpersonal skills, team working, problem solving, time management, verbal and written communication skills, analytical skills, independent learning and evaluation skills.

Previous students have gone on to study and/or work in the following sectors:

  • Law
  • Journalism
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Criminology
  • Psychology
  • Armed Forces
  • Education
  • English
  • Theology
  • Politics
  • Philosophy
  • PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics)