Department | Religious Studies2021-01-19T10:20:53+00:00

Department | Religious Studies



Mrs. S. McDonald
Head of Department

Subject Information

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”


Religious Studies incorporates the study of theology, world religions, philosophy and ethics. It encourages the critical and systematic inquiry into fundamental questions of right and wrong, the meaning of life, the nature of reality, knowledge and society.  In short, we teach students how to think, not what to think! Religion and Philosophy forms the basis of all the arts; every novel, painting and film has a deep philosophy behind it.  As Immanuel Kant rightly said, Theology and Philosophy is the Queen of all science, and should be studied by everyone!


In a time when society is becoming increasingly diverse, Religious Studies is of even more importance.  Pupils learn to respect themselves, to respect others, and to understand their own and others’ rights and responsibilities. There has never been a greater need to promote a more religiously literate and tolerant society. Religious Studies plays a key role in creating social cohesion and generating genuine understanding between communities. Religious Studies provides an excellent opportunity for young people to engage with current ethical issues, making sure they develop a cultural, political, philosophical and historical awareness.

Religious Studies is a rigorous and demanding academic discipline. It engenders critical thinking, encourages philosophical thought and develops decision making skills.  Pupils are equipped with the skills needed to work in collaboration with others, while also developing independent working skills.  Religious Studies has a multidisciplinary nature, involving textual study and the skills of analysis and reasoning which develop core skills of literacy.  This leads to students being able to formulate questions and follow arguments.  Religious Studies teaches students how to form cogent arguments and write fluent and balanced essays.


In KS3, students study the core syllabus for Religious Education.  In Year 8 students learn about the revelation of God through the Old Testament and the study of contemporary Judaism.  In Year 9 pupils study the New Testament, the development of the Christian Church, and the importance of Christianity today. Students continue their study of the Abrahamic religions in Year 10 by learning about Islam and it’s importance in global issues in the 20th Century. Students complete their KS3 studies by learning about Morality and Ethics.




The study of Religious Studies to GCSE is a legal requirement in Northern Ireland, and at RSA we have a variety of pathways available to students. All students must undertake the CCEA Short Course in Religious Studies, with the study Unit 6: Christian Ethics. In this, pupils learn and discuss Contemporary Issues, Personal & Family Issues, Matters of Life and Death, War & Peace and Bioethics. This is a fascinating course which teaches pupils to engage with the key ethical issues of the 21st Century, while also developing a thorough knowledge of Christian teaching and belief.


Pupils can opt to complete a Full Course GCSE in Religious Studies, in which they will study Unit 6: Christian Ethics and Unit 4: A Study of the Gospel of Matthew. This additional module equips pupils with an in-depth knowledge of the Gospel and life in the time of Jesus. It also develops literacy skills and ability to examine texts.


More information can be found:


A Level:

We follow CCEA Religious Studies for AS and A2.


AS pupils study AS7 Religious Ethics and AS8 Philosophy of Religion.

Religious Ethics covers the basis of Religious Ethics: Divine Command Theory, Natural Moral Law, Kantian Ethics, Utilitarianism and Situation Ethics. Students also study contemporary Medical Ethics; abortion, euthanasia and bioethics.

In Philosophy of Religion students grapple with the big questions in Christianity; arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, miracles and religious experiences.


A2 pupils study A27 Global Ethics and A28 Philosophy of Religion. 

Global Ethics covers Virtue Ethics, Free WIll and Determinism, the Nature of Rights, Capital Punishment and Just War Theory.

In Philosophy of Religion students study the issues with Religious Language, the debate between science and religion, and the relationship between the body, soul and the afterlife.


This is a fascinating course which will equip students with all the skills needed for undergraduate study; critical thinking, and skills of analysis and evaluation.

The Religious Studies department has an excellent record of helping pupils to achieve top grades at A Level. The top Universities, including the University of Cambridge regard Religious Studies and Philosophy as one of the best subjects to have studied at Sixth Form level, due to the transferable skills that are acquired during the course. Students who have studied Religious Studies can go on to have a successful career in any sphere, but the most popular choices tend to be:

  • Politics

  • Law

  • Business

  • Marketing

  • Journalism

  • Health Services

  • Civil Service

  • Education

  • Clergy

  • Bill Clinton – Former US President. Politics, Philosophy and Economics, University of Oxford.
  • Iris Murdoch – Author. Philosophy, University of Oxford.
  • Ricky Gervais – Comedian. Philosophy, University College London.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi – Burmese politician and Nobel Laureate. Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford.
  • Yvette Cooper – Shadow Home Secretary. Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford.
  • David Cameron – Prime Minister. Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford.
  • Ed Miliband – Labour Party Leader. Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford.
  • Martin Luther King Jr – Civil Rights Leader. Theology, Boston University.
  • Matt Groening – Creator of The Simpsons. Philosophy, Evergreen State University.
  • Bruce Lee – Actor and martial artists. Philosophy, University of Washington.
  • Yann Martel – Author (Life of Pi). Philosophy, Trent University.
  • Mike Brierley – Former England cricket captain. Classical and Moral Sciences, University of Cambridge.

 Become a ‘Lover of Wisdom’ and study Religious Studies and Philosophy!

Department Blog Posts

212, 2021

Period Dignity in RSA: Breaking the Stigma and Making Period Products Accessible

By |December 2nd, 2021|Categories: News|0 Comments

Period Dignity in RSA: Breaking the Stigma and Making Period Products Accessible By Marie Li, Year 13 pupil It is a pleasure for all of us in the [...]

2408, 2021

Excellent Results at RSA

By |August 24th, 2021|Categories: Agriculture, Announcements, Art & Design, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Computing, Engineering, English, Geography, Government & Politics, Health & Social Care, History, Home Economics, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, Moving Image Art, Music, News, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Science, Sociology, Spanish, Technology & Design, Theatre Studies, Travel & Tourism|0 Comments

Excellent Results at RSA The wait finally ended for pupils of The Royal School, Armagh as they collected their A Level and their GCSE results on Tuesday 10 and [...]

2603, 2021


By |March 26th, 2021|Categories: Chemistry, English, News, Physics, Science|Tags: , |0 Comments

CONGRATULATIONS TO LUCY ADDIS - WINNER OF THE SCHOOLS SCIENCE WRITING COMPETITION MICHAELMAS TERM 2020 Pictured: Lucy alongside The Headmaster, Mr. Montgomery with her certificate and published article [...]

1402, 2021

Cyberfirst Girls Competition 2021 – Online Round

By |February 14th, 2021|Categories: Computing, News|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Introduction For the third year running, The Royal School Armagh has participated in the GCHQ's annual 'CyberFirst Girls Competition'. Last year, we were delighted to reach the regional finals [...]

212, 2020

House Competition: Winners of the Pumpkin Competition announced

By |December 2nd, 2020|Categories: News|0 Comments

Congratulations to the following pupils who won house points for their respective Houses: 1. Emily Dunwoody (D’Arcy) 2. Edythe Qua (Armstrong) 3. Reuben McDowell (Rokeby) 4. Laura Lu (Beresford) [...]


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