Goffs School Religious Studies

A Level



To visit or AS and A2 Philosophy & Ethics website click here.



This exciting new course will allow students to explore ethical theories in depth.  At their simplest, ethical theories are systems of moral principles.  They affect how people make decisions and lead their lives. Therefore, the course is basically concerned with what is “good” for individuals and society.  Subsequently, issues surrounding abortion, euthanasia, medical research, law and order are all subject to ethical debate.

Throughout the course students will become familiar with some of the greatest thinkers of human civilisation from the moral philosophers of Ancient Greece, such as Plato and Aristotle, to the rational philosophers of the Enlightenment, such as Jeremy Bentham and Immanuel Kant.

By the end of the course students will be able to explain theories such as Natural Law, Utilitarianism, Situation Ethics and Categorical Imperatives and evaluate whether these theories can help us solve the key ethical dilemmas facing humanity today, such as global warming, genetic engineering and military intervention in foreign countries.  These theories include religious and non-religious perspectives on ethics.

Students interested in studying Philosophy, Politics, Law, Religious Studies, Theology, History, Sociology, Geography, Science and Medicine at university would benefit from studying AS/A2 Philosophy and Ethics. It is useful in any profession where decisions affect the lives of others. This could include scientific research, armed combat, policing, pastoral care, medicine and journalism as well as many other occupations.

All assessment is through written examinations.  Please note that this is a highly academic subject and is included in TrinityCollege’s (University of Cambridge) list of ‘accepted A levels’.

The course will be taught by Mr Jones and Mr Cahil in the RS Department.


A rigorous, academic approach to the study of ethics, developing knowledge and interest in secular (non-religious) and religious ethics and their impact in the wider world. 


Units 1 and 2: Religion and Ethics

Written paper, each 1 hour 15 min

Each paper attracts 90 marks – 50% of AS, 25% of A level

For each unit, students study two out of 11 available subjects

Two structured, two part essay questions, from a choice of four, on each paper


Units 3 & 4

Study in greater depth of aspects of ethical and philosophical perspectives.

Unit 3: Religion and Ethics

Written paper, 1 hour 30 min

100 marks – 25% of A Level

Students study one out of 13 available subjects

Two structured, two part essay questions from a choice of four

Unit 4: Medical Ethics

Written paper, 1 hour 30 min

75 marks – 25% of A Level

Students study one out of 8 available topics

One extended essay question from a choice of two


Careers that directly involve ethics include academia, politics, law and justice as well working for NGOs such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International or the WWF. Careers that benefit from the study of ethics would include medicine, the armed forces, journalism, the civil service, working for institutions like the United Nations and occupations involved with scientific research, especially experimentation on humans and animals. Additionally, ethical decisions impact on society so students considering careers in social work, policing and teaching would benefit from studying RS Philosophy and Ethics.


RS Philosophy and Ethics would be very beneficial to students applying for degrees in Law, Politics, International Relations, Anthropology, Sociology and Philosophy as well as Comparative Religion and Theology.

It is also a good combination for students studying other humanities, such as Geography and History.

In some schools, students interested in medicine and medical research consider Philosophy and Ethics as a fourth A Level. Part of the course centres on medical ethics and animal experimentation.

As mentioned above, this is a highly academic subject and is included in TrinityCollege’s (University of Cambridge) list of ‘accepted A Levels’.


Students must have a B in English and a B in at least one other humanities subject. Students do not need to have a GCSE in Philosophy and Ethics.

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