Peter Symonds College

Study at PSC

Course Content

The RS course comprises of three units: Ethics, Buddhism and Philosophy of Religion:

Year 1

  • Buddhism: The Life and Historical Background of the Buddha, The Four Noble Truths, The Three Marks of Existence, The Three Refuges, The Five Precepts and the significance of the Pali-cannon and the Distinctive Practices of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism.
  • The Philosophy of Religion: The Design Argument, The Ontological Argument, The nature of Religious Experience and The problem of evil and suffering.
  • Ethics: Environmental Ethics, Utilitarianism, Situation Ethics, Natural Moral Law, War and Peace, and Sexual Ethics.

Year 2

  • Buddhism: The Spread of Buddhism to China and Japan with specific reference to Pure Land and Zen Buddhism, Buddhism in the West with reference to Friends of The Western Buddhist Order, The Role of Women in Buddhism  and the Bodhisattva Doctrine in the Mahayana Tradition.
  • The Philosophy of Religion:  Religious Language, Life after Death and Religion and Science.
  • Ethics: Ethical Language, Deontology, Virtue Ethics, and Medical Ethics with a focus on the Beginning and End of life.

Key works from scholars will be addressed in all of the areas.

Methods of Teaching

The approach to teaching and learning is student centred and the teachers use a variety of tasks and differentiation strategies. There will also be the opportunity to develop independent study through study packages and resource based learning.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

Three two hour papers, where students answer three short structured questions, two extended responses to unseen passage and a choice of two extended essay questions.

Where Could It Take Me?

This Advanced level qualification is an excellent Humanities qualification and will help gain entry into a wide range of Higher Education courses. Many of the skills developed through the course will relate to a wide range of careers, such as the Travel Industry, Public Relations, Journalism, TV and Radio, Police work, Medicine, Teaching and jobs where the management of people is important.

As an Advanced level subject, R.S. links well with most other disciplines particularly in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.


The RS department has run several trips to India, Thailand and Cambodia and will be continuing with these ventures in 2021 with another experience.

Financial Implications

Key texts will be provided by the department for use in lessons, however a reading list will be provided and it is recommended that at least two of these books are purchased. Research information will also be available for essay writing. The college has a Student Support Fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above including Mathematics and English.

Most Recent Results

Below is a summary of the most recent set of results for this subject:

Grade: A* A B C D E U Total
Total: 1 6 18 8 3 3 0 39
Percentage 2.6 15.4 46.2 20.5 7.7 7.7 0.0