Senior School | Departments

Philosophy & Ethics

Is God the greatest thing imaginable? Do humans have a soul? What happens when we die? Does an embryo have a right to life? Is planet earth a living organism?


Philosophy, ethics and religion is a subject that stretches students mentally and allows them to develop their own critical points of view on some of the most challenging questions in life.

PHILOSOPHY AND ETHICS                                               OCR     H573                       

Can you use logic to explain God’s existence?  Do we have a duty to take care of the planet as a living organism? What value do Buddhists place on the practice of meditation? These are some of the questions A Level students of  philosophy, ethics and religion consider in depth on the two-year OCR course. The course is divided into three components: Philosophy of Religion; Religious Ethics and Developments in Buddhist Thought. Each component is examined in a two-hour written paper at the end of the two-year course. Students study all three components. The  course is rigorous and students will learn how to research scholars and key thinkers; how to  critically analyse texts and how to structure their arguments in writing. The course teaches students how to engage with philosophical thinking through class discussions and debates.


Philosophy of Religion

Ancient philosophical influences

Religion and Ethics:

Normative ethical theories

Developments in Buddhist thought:

Buddhist beliefs, values and teachings, their interconnections and how they vary historically and in the contemporary world.


To achieve the full A level, students take three two-hour written papers on each topic. Each paper is worth 120 marks. The papers are marked on knowledge and understanding and the ability to develop a critical response to theories and ideas. Philosophy is a dynamic and active subject. Philosophy students of will be given opportunities to learn the art of practising philosophy through group and individual inquiry. Students will explore theories and ideas through mind-maps, charts, flow diagrams, pair discussion, group debate, critical reading of books, articles, film, lectures and podcasts. They will be taught reading for understanding, note-taking, academic writing and research skills and will be shown how to structure arguments and present a case verbally and in writing. Most importantly, students of philosophy will have fun!


A course in Philosophy, Ethics and Religion is highly valued by universities and employers. The course equips students to think independently and to develop critical reasoning skills. It is suitable for many career paths in the fields of the arts, education, medicine, law, science and natural history

The course equips students to think independently and collaboratively and to develop reasoning skills

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