North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2020 North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2021

Religious studies

Why study religious studies (philosophy, ethics and theology)?

Religious studies encompasses the most fundamental human questions and concerns. Students will embark upon a process which will develop their ability to think critically and logically in evaluating some of the finest minds in history. They will learn how to construct a coherent argument, not only when crafting balanced essays, but also when entering the stimulating debates which are a common feature of lessons. Religious studies incorporates a wide variety of topics including psychology, sociology, law and economics. Universities look favourably on the skills which are developed as they are applicable in a wide variety of disciplines. At GSAL there is a particularly strong track record of religious studies students achieving highly and continuing in this vein at university and beyond. Finally, beyond the important parameters of academic study, religious studies provides students the vital opportunity to consider their own relationship with philosophy, religion and the moral life, which will often be a process of great importance in the way they choose to live their lives.

What our students say

Religious studies is a really good combination with almost any other subject, as ethical and philosophical ideas are involved in almost any pursuit, for example in medical ethics, or in literature.” Hannah

“My favourite part is the debating and the discussions about real life ethics and philosophy effecting us now.” Catherine

“I’ve loved studying religious studies at A-level. Not only does it allow you to properly dive into areas like philosophy and ethics in a real depth, but also embraces a much broader range of fields ranging from sociology, to psychology and even economics. The positive mark scheme encourages and rewards your wider interests in a way unlike any other subject I know.” Toby

Entry requirements

Grade 6 in religious studies or English at GCSE.

Potential courses

  • Medicine
  • PPE
  • Law
  • Philosophy
  • Economics
  • Business
  • Politics


Potential careers

  • Medicine
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Teaching
  • Charity work
  • Finance
  • Politics

The A-level course

% of A-level Content
Unit 133.3Philosophy of religion: Students will evaluate the traditional arguments for the existence of God and will consider if religious experiences are merely a product of psychology. Questions surrounding the problem of evil, the nature of God and what makes us human are discussed.
Unit 233.3Ethics: What does it mean to say an action is morally good? What is the best foundation for decision making? Various ethical theories are studied and applied to contemporary issues such as sexual ethics and euthanasia; the application of ethical theories to business is also a key element of this contemporary and relevant course. The implications of these debates are hugely significant to the study of the legal system.
Unit 333.3Theology (DCT): A fascinating study of both traditional and contemporary religious attitudes to issues such as gender, politics and the role of other religions in the modern world. Students will consider whether religion is a danger to society and if the world would be a better place if it was removed. Students will also have the opportunity to discuss the role of Jesus as liberator and the implications of the use of Marxism as a framework for Christian teaching on helping the poor.

Alumni – where are they now?

Alexandra studied philosophy at Manchester and now works as a barrister at Harrington Street Chambers. “Religious studies got me to think and develop opinions and justify them through argument; it is the bedrock of my current profession.”

Victoria studied PPE at Manchester and now works for Schroder’s in wealth management advising on how wealth should be used ethically. “In my job not only is it crucial to think ethically, but philosophical models about society are highly applicable. Religious studies A-level was invaluable in this respect.”

Juliet studied medicine at Leeds and is now a paediatric specialist trainee. “Religious studies had a huge impact on my career when making emotive ethical decisions.’’

Fredi studied theology at Cambridge and now works as a counsellor in prisons. “Religious studies A-level gave me an understanding, insight, and knowledge of people’s different value systems, philosophies, ethics, and religions. When you connect at this level, you can help people find their true selves.”

Or, if you prefer to chat to someone please call our admissions team. For Senior School call 0113 228 5121 and for Primary School call 0113 228 5113.