Religion and philosophy are fundamental parts of how people have sought to express their understanding of the purpose of life, and the foundation of personal and social behaviour.
As the world’s oldest academic discipline, Philosophy has developed a range of concepts and techniques for addressing complicated problems. Thus, many Religious Studies (RS) graduates go on to become lawyers, teachers, academics, civil servants, business analysts, social workers. Journalists, to name a few career options.
Caroline O’Toole, head of RS, asked a current Year 13 student and two OAs about why they are studying RS and where they hope it will lead them.
Q&A | Amalie G, Head Girl, Year 13:
Why are you studying RS?
I enjoy expressing my own personal beliefs and opinions whilst exploring alternative viewpoints. It is a fascinating subject that explores not only things from a religious perspective, but also looks into current affairs and societal issues.
How does it support other subjects?
RS has many large links with Psychology – in particular Ethics and Philosophy, such as the prevalence of psychologist Sigmund Freud. It also has great connections to English and History – this just demonstrates its wide variety of content that you study within the A level, making it very relevant to everyday life. For me personally, with my other A level choices, I find that it has strong links with Geography, once again due to the societal nature of the subject. In New Testament we often look at biblical sources and compare them to current issues such as equality and pluralism. Philosophy delves into different ways of interpreting situations which reflects the human geography syllabus. Ethics of course has strong links with human geography, but also physical geography as well – as we often look into ethical dilemmas presented through hazards, or development proposals etc.
How will it support your future studies/career?
The skills brought about my RS such as essay planning and writing, and also organised condensed note taking are skills which would be a huge benefit to any university degree and future job. Although I intended on studying textiles at university, I know that it will involve a lot of research, and formulating the research into clear write ups, which will be greatly helped through doing this essay-based subject. It also gives you a greater perspective on wider society and religious, socio-economic and political awareness.
Q&A | Mollie C, O.A. Graduate from Cardiff University (Theology/Religious studies degree) who is now considering teaching RS or one of the caring professions.
Why did you study RS?
I liked the New Testament side of things as not many schools do that and it helped me in deciding what to study at University. I loved how all three (philosophy, ethics and New Testament) complimented each other, it was helpful as you could bring different things to one question. It was useful in the fact it really made you think about the way things are articulated whether that be ethics and different scenarios or philosophy when people have big questions!! Later life think having studied religious studies it gives you a really good skill set such as articulating arguments, essay writing and planning and generally being succinct with an opinion.
Q&A | Amelia M, Leweston OA, Kings College London (Third year in Theology/Philosophy and RS)
Why are you studying Theology/Philosophy and RS?
I am currently in my final year at Kings College London and still absolutely loving my degree! I am focusing in particular on the sociology of religion, women and gender in the bible. Alongside this I am writing my dissertation at the moment on biblical understandings of refuge and The Church of England’s response to the refugee crisis of the 21st century.
RS A level has been incredibly useful not only getting into university but also in shaping my approach and understanding religion at university. I feel as though RS at Leweston and the religious ethos of Leweston itself gave me a very solid foundation in regards to RS for university.
How will it support your future studies/career?
I am currently applying to Law school to start in September 2022. However, during my degree, I have been working part-time for a Christian events project which aims to support Christian artists and musicians in London and give them a platform for discussion alongside prominent speakers such as John Lennox and Elaine Storkey. The breadth of the RS syllabus at Leweston and the academics and scholars that we were introduced to has been incredibly helpful in regards to this job as it gave me a huge arsenal of names to draw upon when considering who might be a good fit for our events. I think the religious foundation and education I received at Leweston also helped me get the job in the first place because I had a strong understanding of the Christian faith and could engage critically with the themes and ideas that the projects seek to discuss!