Religious Studies

Religious Studies

Why choose Religious Studies?

Who is God? What is the right way to live? Get to grips with what people believe and what makes them act as they do.

Religious Studies is an attractive option if you are interested in studying the fundamental questions which all human beings ask: “What is the point of being alive?”, “Who is God?”, “Why do we suffer?”, “What is the right way to live?” and “Is there anything beyond death?” The subject gets to grips with people’s real lives, what they believe and what makes them act as they do. It is also about societies and cultures often very different from your own, and how these have evolved over time. Religious Studies will appeal to you if you are enthusiastic and thoughtful enough to want to understand the deeply held convictions of others and to examine your own prejudices, assumptions and beliefs.

Our Approach

We look at religious beliefs and practices in an objective, open-minded and exploratory way, encouraging debate and enabling you to step imaginatively into the shoes of religious believers. We also encourage you to step back in order to analyse and evaluate the religion’s main ideas and characteristic ways of life.

To help you to do this we use a great variety of resources and activities, including film, on-line and visual material, discussions and group work. Visits to religious buildings and events are also an important part of the course. We aim to help you to enjoy the subject and hope that by the end of the course you will have become a real Religious Studies scholar! RS

"I would recommend studying Religious Studies at Hills Road as I believe it encourages you to open your mind to different views and beliefs around the world, whilst creating your own at the same time; an essential part of life. The lessons are interesting, full of variety, and inspire you to take your own initiative and thus study the topics further in your own time if wanted."

Why you should take A level Religious Studies

  • If it’s a subject you don’t know much about but you’re really interested to understand more about religious beliefs and the people and cultures who live by them.
  • If you have done it already at school and feel enthusiastic to continue.
  • If you’re going to chose other related subjects for A level such as Sociology, Philosophy, History, Psychology, Classical Civilisation.
  • If you want a refreshing change and some challenge, debate and all round stimulation!

What kind of work will you do?

This is certainly an ‘essay’ subject and so you will have learned how to write clearly planned and argued essays. We will help you to do this efficiently. You’ll also be doing your own research and reading as well as joining in with all our various activities in lessons – discussions, group work, watching films, note-taking, questioning speakers, and so on. There’ll also be visits to temples and churches, lectures, open days and many other opportunities.

Do you need to be Religious?

No, just curious and excited by ideas.

Can a committed Christian study Hinduism?

Yes. The approach of this course is academic, that’s to say it’s not about converting anybody from one faith to another but is designed to help you learn about the beliefs and practices of different religious communities. The aim is to increase your understanding of other people’s world views, their hopes and dreams, what they really value. And it should make you think more carefully about your own beliefs too!

"I particularly like the Hinduism side of the course; it’s such a diverse religion in which you explore a wide variety of things such as the history, culture and beliefs.  The teachers are extremely enthusiastic and friendly and form close connections with each of their students allowing them to offer appropriate help and support.  The religious studies trip to the Hindu temples in Leicester was eye-opening and gave me an insight into the daily rituals of Hinduism and the variety of temples used."

Entry Requirements

GCSE grade B in English Language or Literature

Awarding Body


Units of Study

Year 13

Religious Studies

Edexcel's A level Religious Studies consists of three externally examined papers. Students are required to choose three papers from the choice of four offered by the Board. The course lasts for two years and students must complete all assessment in May/June in any single year. There are no retakes possible. The new-style AS will not be offered. The first exam in this new specification will be in 2018.

Philosophy of Religion

  • Philosophical issues and questions
  • The nature and influence of religious experience
  • Problems of evil and suffering
  • Philosophical language
  • Works of scholars
  • Influences of developments in religious belief.
Religion and Ethics
  • Significant concepts in issues or debates in religion and ethics
  • A study of three ethical theories
  • Application of ethical theories to issues of importance
  • Ethical language
  • Deontology, Virtue Ethics and the works of scholars
  • Medical ethics: beginning and end of life issues.
Study of One World Religion - Hinduism
  • Religious beliefs, values and
  • Sources of wisdom and authority
  • Practices that shape and express religious identity
  • Social and historical developments
  • Works of scholars
  • Religion and society
  • Primary texts.
New Testament Studies
  • Social, historical and religious context of the New Testament
  • Texts and interpretation of the Person of Jesus
  • Interpreting the text and issues of relationship, purpose and authorship
  • Ways of interpreting the scripture
  • Texts and interpretation: the Kingdom of God, conflict, the death and resurrection of Jesus
  • Scientific and historical-critical challenges, ethical living and the works of scholars.
How are these papers assessed?
Each paper is examined by written examination of 2 hours and each paper counts for 33.33% of the qualification = 80 marks for each paper.

The externally-assessed written examination comprises three sections.
Students answer all questions in Section A, and Section B, and choose one question in Section C.
  • Section A - three short, structured questions.
  • Section B - two extended-response questions on an unseen passage.
  • Section C - choice of two extended essay questions.