Religious Studies

Exam Board

Additional Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE religious studies (if taken) and grade 6 in GCSE English language. Grade 6 in any GCSE essay writing subject (e.g. English literature, history, geography) if religious studies not taken. Grade 5 in GCSE mathematics
Cannot be taken in combination with philosophy.

Course Content

Why religious studies?
Religious studies at Woodhouse will provide you with an introduction to one of the most fascinating and relevant areas of study today. It’s an opportunity for students to engage with a variety of topical questions about belief, values, meaning, purpose and truth. Students will be able to reflect on and develop their own values, beliefs and attitudes in light of what they have learnt.
RS is seen by the Russell Group as a ‘suitable preparation for university generally’ and Oxbridge include it in their top level list of suitable arts A levels. Theology graduates are found working for almost every type of employer in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, as the subject provides an excellent foundation for a range of careers.
There will be opportunities to listen to external speakers, and students are encouraged to take the initiative and attend lectures, exhibitions and other events in and around London.
Course content
You’ll study three out of four components and focus on philosophy of religion, religion and ethics and Christianity. You’ll engage with philosophical issues and questions such as the nature and influence of religious experience, the problems of evil and suffering, philosophical and ethical language, and the application of ethical theories through the works of scholars.
In the Christianity option, you’ll examine the development of Christian beliefs, values and teachings, and the nature of sources of wisdom and authority for those beliefs. You’ll look at the practices that shape and express the Christian identity, as well as the social and historical developments in the religion over time.
Mark scheme
Exam - 2 hours - 33.3%
Philosophy of religion - 80 Marks
  • Two structured questions: a two- part essay question on an extract of text and an extended essay
Exam - 2 hours - 33.3%
Religion and ethics - 80 marks
  • Two extended responses: a two- part essay question on an extract of text and an extended essay
Exam - 2 hours - 33.3% 
Christianity - 80 marks
  • Two extended responses: a two- part essay question on an extract of text and an extended essay

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the headings below.

What is the difference between RS and Philosophy?

Religious studies focus on philosophy of religion and ethics and considers both secular and religious positions. Philosophy also considers ethics and philosophy of religion but focus more on the logic of arguments. We also study a specific religion in RS, which is Christianity.

Is there a lot of religion in the course?

A third of the course is about religion. We have chosen to study Christianity because it is really interesting to look at how central Christian beliefs have changed over time and because it fits in well with other subjects taught at Woodhouse (English literature and history in particular).

I am not religious, can I still do this course?

Absolutely! If you are interested in big philosophical and ethical debates and the history of ideas, this course is for you!

Do I need to have done RS or RE at GCSE?

No you don’t. The content of the course doesn’t rely on any background knowledge.

What can I do with an A level in RS? What careers can it lead to?

Religious studies teaches you critical thinking, analytic and evaluation skills. A lot of our students move on to study philosophy, theology or law.
Those who choose to read religious studies at university move on to careers in the civil service, journalism teaching or do conversion courses in law.
Wren Academy
"I find the discussion-based elements of the subject incredibly thought provoking, and a fantastically engaging way to learn - such as allowing us the freedom to openly and inclusively debate over a vast number of ultimately unknowable topics ranging from ‘Does God exist?’ to the ethical discussions over the morality of abortion, euthanasia, and animal rights.
I believe the religious aspect of the subject, alongside the philosophy and ethics to be a significant one. It is so incredibly important to be able to understand the different perspectives of those you talk to, I believe it is when you are able to interpret the beliefs of others, that meaningful discussions occur. This insight is invaluable. Religious studies has provided me with the skill set to conduct these conversations and is one I will take with me into later life.
I am currently planning on studying law and philosophy at university. Religious studies enables critical thinking and the freedom to express personal opinions, it is this argument-based writing that has inspired me to incorporate these topics into my later studies.
I was instantly attracted to the diverse and inclusive culture of Woodhouse College, the mutual respect for individuals of all backgrounds among both staff and pupils. The environment is one of mutual respect and trust, it simulates the freedom of later life and university whilst simultaneously providing all the necessary support throughout this important stage of learning and self-discovery."
Bishops Hatfield Girls' School
"I like how the content we learn helps us understand the views people hold that have a massive influence over their lives and culture. We regularly have debates to support and criticise arguments which widen and inform your perspective. I want to study philosophy at university and my experience in RS has helped me to articulate my points well and communicate my ideas.
Our teachers allow us to be individuals and take responsibility for our own education. They recognise hard work and trust us to put in the hours to get the grades we want. It really allows us to feel as though our efforts contribute to our own future, not just mindlessly following a schools curriculum for its own sake. Help is so easily accessible and competition between students doesn't exist, we all focus on our own studies without comparing ourselves to others.
The fact there are no clashes between subject choices really allows us to play to our strengths and embrace our interests. Not everyone’s future is decided when we first join the college and it’s so good that we are allowed that room to explore."

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