Exam Board & Code : Edexcel 
Course : 2 Years to full A level

What is Philosophy and Ethics A level about?

The course provides a critical approach to the consideration of moral and philosophical issues.  Students study the theories of philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle and Aquinas to contemporary discourse from Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins.  An integral part of the course is to apply theories to contemporary issues of abortion, euthanasia, sexual ethics, war and peace, justice, law & punishment.

Is this course for me?

Students are expected to have an interest in current affairs, to use an enquiring critical and empathetic approach to the study of religious, political and legal events and ethical developments in society. GCSE Religious Studies is not a pre-requisite for this course but you do need GCSE English, minimum grade C.

What else do I need to know?

Study days are attended at a variety of schools in the area including St Mary's School Ascot, Windsor Girls School, Eton College and Wellington College.

Students usually attend a conference in London to hear lectures by key philosophers and examiners and we have a variety of visiting speakers.

As part of the Law, Justice and Punishment module, students visit the site of the signing of the Magna Carta.

Students are offered the opportunity to participate in a trip to Istanbul in July.

What do other students say?

Philosophy & Ethics is a challenge but it is fun!  I have learned a lot so far.

Topics we study (Natural Law and Utilitarianism) and learning skills of critical thinking helped me with the Law National Admissions Test (LNAT)

You are allowed to voice your opinion, you also get to think about topics you wouldn’t normally expect to discuss in class.

Where could it lead?

RS Philosophy and Ethics is highly regarded by universities and employers as it proves that you are able to think, discuss and evaluate. It is an excellent preparation for any humanities degree.

It particularly prepares students for the following careers

  • Legal and medical services
  • Journalism and publishing
  • Education and social work
  • Broadcast, film, video and media sector
  • Politics

How is this course structured?

Unit Content Unit Assessment

Unit 1: Philosophy

Philosophical issues

Nature & Influence of religious experience

Problem of evil and suffering



Influences and developments

2hr written paper

Percentage of total marks 33.3%

Unit 2: Ethics

Significant concepts in issues and debates

Utilitarianism, situation ethics and natural moral law

War & Peace and Sexual Ethics

Ethical Language

Ethical Theory

Medical ethics

2hr written paper

Percentage of total marks 33.3%

Unit 3: Study of Religion

Religious beliefs, values and teachings

Sources of wisdom and authority

Practices that shape and express religious identity

Social and Historical developments

Comparative study of two scholars

Religion and Society 

2hr written paper

Percentage of total marks 33.3%