Bolton School Sixth Form Boys

Religious Studies


The A Level course helps to develop the skills of analysis, logical presentation of argument and critical thinking, whilst allowing you to gain knowledge which may help you to make sense of the world and the competing demands of life in the 21st century. 

What will I study? 

There are three elements to the course, Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Ethics and Developments in Christian Thought. Philosophy of Religion considers the question of God’s existence, the nature of the self, the challenge of evil and suffering to belief in God and the age-old question of what, if anything, happens when we die. Ethics involves asking questions about right and wrong and whether it is possible, or even desirable, to develop a system for telling us how we ought to behave in every situation. You will learn about ethical decision making in the real world by focusing on euthanasia, business ethics and issues concerning sex and sexuality in the Twenty-first Century. Developments in Christian Thought focuses on key areas of Christian theology which have shaped Western Philosophy and culture over the past two thousand years and investigates reasons why religion seems to be in decline in the modern world. You will also study some of the ways in which Christianity has responded to the changing roles of men and women and the way in which feminist theology has challenged traditional male-dominated religious world views. Due to the nature of the subject matter and the skills you will develop, RS A Level complements both the Sciences and the Humanities and is an excellent preparation for any degree course or career which values a questioning mind, academic rigour, critical analysis and the ability to construct persuasive arguments. 

How will I be assessed?

AS level                                                                                 A level

One examination for each module                          One examination for each module 

There is no coursework.

Desirable requirements

You should enjoy discussing, reading, thinking and expressing your ideas both orally and in writing and keeping up to date with current ethical issues.  It is essential that you question, make judgements and formulate your own opinions.  It is not necessary to have studied RS at GCSE.  

How will I study? 

Lessons consist largely of discussion but you will also have the opportunity to read, research and practise your writing skills.

Where will it lead? 

Wherever you want it to!  Religious Studies is welcomed by the top universities as a valuable academic subject.  The skills developed through RS make it a good foundation for a degree in any subject and the knowledge acquired provides a useful background for many occupations.  Medicine, Law, Psychology, Politics, Journalism, Public Relations, the Police and Business Management, are just some of the careers that students with A Level RS have gone on to follow. 

“My interest in Religious Studies was sparked by the GCSE course, with topics like sexual ethics and issues regarding marriage providing interesting debate within the class and ideas to take away from the lesson and develop in my own time. I therefore saw it as a logical step for me to pursue my interests to the next level and take Religious Studies at A level.  The course has developed my skills in a variety of ways; my essay writing, research skills and the ability to communicate thought processes have all improved dramatically during my time studying the subject at A level. Class debates have been very interesting since the majority of the class being female provides me with an alternative view point to take into consideration. All these types of skills are crucial as one progresses on the further education pathway and I will certainly make the best use of them at university.” Jos Winstanley