Section Navigation


Subject leader and contact

Iain Dover : Head of RPE


A Level Philosophy

AQA 7172

Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in either English Language or English Literature at GCSE

Why study Philosophy?

Philosophy is one of the oldest subjects that has been studied by academics, and is for people who want to both question, and know, more. You will be introduced to some of the greatest ideas from history and given the chance to explore them, looking to see whether they still stand up to scrutiny in a modern context.
If you are someone who loves to interrogate ideas, discuss, build knowledge, wants to challenge their thinking, this is the course for you. But beware, you may come out of lessons questioning everything you thought you knew!
It is important to note that this subject is essay based, and will involved reading large passages of academic writing, which students will receive significant support in developing the study skills for. 

Where can it lead?

Philosophy is a highly regarded subject for both universities and employers due to the need for students to engage with reasoning, build coherent and considered argument, and analyse complex ideas.
Philosophy as a subject leads nicely onto further study in a range of subjects including, Philosophy, History, Theology, Law, Politics, Medicine among others. Careers for Philosophy graduates are wide and varied with many students going on to work in the legal system, civil service, government, journalism, academia, medical roles, and technological industries.

Philosophy Extras

There are a range of regular talks from the Royal Institute of Philosophy, Cambridge Union, and more that can provide students with a chance to further their understanding of key ideas, and these will be publicised regularly by the department

Course Content

This course is split into four units which, while distinct elements of study in their own right, also borrow ideas and thinkers from each other.  At the end of the course you will be assessed in two exams, with each one covering two of the four units.

The content of the course challenges students to engage with some of the greatest questions of humanity.  

The first unit, Epistemology, asks 'What can we know?' and even 'What is knowledge?'.  Alongside this topic, Year 12 will focus on Moral Philosophy, often referred to as Ethics, and will pose questions including 'Can we know what is right and wrong?' and 'What makes a 'good' life?'.

Year 13 will focus on Metaphysics, which is going beyond what we can know scientifically, with the third unit of the course focusing on the question of God, asking 'Is the idea of God a coherent one?' and 'Could we ever prove or disprove the existence of God?', while the fourth unit looks inwards at the Mind, questioning 'What am I?', and exploring what it means to be human.