A Level

A Level

A Level Religious Studies WJEC

Why study this course?

Religious Studies at Malbank Sixth Form is an established course that is rapidly growing in popularity, taught by experienced, committed and specialist teachers.  It has a track record of great results and achievements and past and current students are going on to a variety of universities in order to study a variety of different courses, from Dance to Theology to Education.  The course is primarily concerned with topics key to human existence and is equally compelling for those coming from an agnostic, atheist or faith background. All of the units address topics such as the human quest for meaning, truth and ultimate values and human experience of transcendence, awe, wonder and mystery.

How is the course structured?

AS:       Unit 1: Introduction to Religion in Contemporary Society        1¼ hour written paper (Jan/June)

            Unit 2: Introduction to Eastern Religions                                     1¼ hour written paper (June)

A2:       Unit 3: Studies in Religion and Contemporary Society             1¾ hour written paper (June)

            Unit 4: Studies in Religion and Human Experience                   1¾ hour written paper (June)

            on a pre-released topic (Jan)

What are the entry requirements?

It is recommended that students who take this subject at A-level have had some previous experience at GCSE level with at least a core (short course) GCSE pass at C grade. It is not an essential requirement as a good pass in English and a commitment to the subject will allow the subject specialist teachers to help you to fulfil your potential at AS and A2 level.  A good A2L is essential.

Which other subjects link well with Religious Studies?

Religious Studies complements almost any other subject, as it is concerned with questions rather than answers.  Some students study it in addition to straight sciences, maths or languages; it provides an excellent counterbalance to subjects that focus on a great deal of factual knowledge and clear definition between correct/incorrect answers, as it provides an opportunity for independent and original thinking.  Religious Studies works especially well with both Sociology and Psychology; units 1 and 3 have direct links to these subjects.  English, Media and Theatre Studies are also beneficial subjects that will actually aid your understanding in Religious Studies.

What career paths would this course lead to?

For the last two years, Religious Studies has had a 100% pass rate and all of those who wanted to go on to further education secured a place at university.  It's a subject that is growing in popularity nationally as well as at Malbank, and is recognised by all universities as a rigorous academic subject that requires commitment and a wide range of key skills.  The focus on independent thinking makes it especially appealing to demanding university courses.  Employers are also increasingly not only recognising Religious Studies as an academic qualification, but also as an indicator of ability to think in depth to consider and articulate responses to the question of the human condition.  As a result, it is an excellent qualification to consider if you intend to work in Law, the Armed Forces, Medicine, Pharmaceuticals, Diplomacy, and Civil Service, the Police or any kind of career that involves dealing with people.   In short, it is an excellent subject to take, whatever your intended career path, as it equips you with excellent thinking skills as well as an enhanced understanding of the varieties of religious belief.

What will I actually study?

Introduction to Religion and Contemporary Society

•1.       Medical and Environmental Issues: religious responses to euthanasia and animal rights

•2.       Religion and TV: religion in soap operas, The Simpsons and religious broadcasting

•3.       Religion and the Community: world secularisation and new religious movements

•4.       Religion and the Individual: Psychological theories of religion (Freud and Jung)

Introduction to Buddhism

•1.       Life of the Buddha: the social and religious background and Buddha's early life

•2.       Central Concepts: the Three Jewels, the Wheel of Life, the Three Marks

•3.       Buddhist Lifestyle: The Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold path, the Sangha

•4.       Central Practices: Puja, and Samatha, Vipassana and Zazen meditation

Studies in Religion and Contemporary Society

•1.       Religion and Contemporary Issues: religion and state, Middle Eastern conflict

•2.       Religion and Film: stereotyping, prejudice, religious concepts and identity in film

•3.       Religion and the Community: definitions and understandings of religion, diversity in UK

•4.       Religion and the Individual: effect of personality, mental health and intellect on religious belief

Studies in Religion and Human Experience

A topic is released in January and together students and teacher explore it, ready for compulsory examination via a structured essay in June.  At Malbank we study Life, Death and Life after Death as this allows us to bring in learning from AS and A2, as well as additional study on the philosophy and ethics of religion.  This unit gives you a taste of university but with the support of sixth form.  Gifted and Talented students have a real opportunity to shine and stretch themselves in this unit, through independent research, whilst the security of a structured series of taught topics appeals to most students.

What extra opportunities are available?

The Religious Studies and History department work together to bring selected students the chance to become accredited peer-educators on the subject of the Holocaust.  Through The Holocaust Education Trust, these students have the opportunity to visit Auschwitz and various other places of historical significance in Poland.  As well as attending training on how to lead meaningful and reflective education to their peers, this visit significantly develops their own understanding of one of humanity's most shameful moments.

What do current students say?

"I thoroughly enjoyed the R.S. course especially the studying the Religion and Film section.  I feel the R.S. course covers a wide range of religions in depth."

"R.S. is an interesting course covering a wide range of topics.  I really enjoyed studying Buddhism and learning about its history was fab!"

"The R.S. syllabus at Malbank is awesome.  You get an insight into views on ethical ideas, religion's place in society and its influence on culture and the media."


Weighting Between AS and A2 modules

Past Papers

Student Area