The Royal Belfast Academical Institution


Head of Department: Mr J Seath

Members of Department: Mrs C Mayberry

Teaching and Learning:


Year 8 Topics:

The Bible: A look into, arguably, the most influential text in the history and development of Western culture. Its importance historically and to particular groups, what it contains and a brief history of its development into the book most people would recognise today. It also provides an awareness of the original languages and the development of different translations.

Who was Jesus?: An introduction to the life and times of the most debated and influential person of history. Pupils will be introduced to the culture and politics of the Ancient Near East during the 1st Century AD under Roman rule.

Love in Action - A focus on slavery: An introduction to William Wilberforce and the abolition of the slave trade. Then a look at modern slavery and how it impacts and relates to Western lifestyle.

Year 9 Topics:

Jesus and Others: A reflection on Jesus’ teaching and how it informs thinking on important social issues such as ethnic minorities and immigration, poverty, sectarianism, the elderly, disability and prisoners. This includes how the media and different voices in society often frame people that are categorised in this way as ‘problems to be solved.’

Easter: Studying the origin, religious significance and meaning of the festival.

Buddhism: An introduction to the beliefs and practises of Buddhism.

Year 10 Topics:

Warfare: A study of the ethics of warfare. Focusing on warfare in the Bible, Ancient Greece, The Crusades, Jihad, Just War and Drone Warfare.

Addiction: A study from the perspective of how society has been affected by what people consume and what has been done in response. The course begins by looking at food and the rise of fast food, alcohol and Prohibition and drug use and abuse.

Arguments for the Existence of God: A basic introduction to philosophy through the common arguments for God’s existence.

Doping in Sport: A look at ethical decision making using the example of doping in sport.


We study RS with CCEA: Microsite

Specification (.pdf)

The modules studied are Christian Ethics and The Philosophy of Religion

Year 11: Christian Ethics

Modern Warfare: Just War, nuclear deterrence, causes and costa and pacifism.

Contemporary Issues: Equality and poverty.

Personal and Family Issues: Sexual relationships, marriage and divorce and the family.

Matters of Life and Death: Abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment.

Bioethics: Fertility treatment and advances in genetic engineering.

Assessment: One 1 hour 30 minute paper at the end of Year 11.

Year 12: Philosophy

The arguments for the existence of God: Cosmological, Teleological, Experience and Moral arguments.

Science and Religion: Creation (Judaeo-Christian and Hindu) and Evolution.

The Nature of God: Divine attributes in Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.

The Problem of Evil and Suffering: The problem for theistic belief. The problem for atheism, common response – religious and non-religious and the nature of evil.

Experiencing God: The issue of the prevalence and persistence of religious belief. Beliefs, customs and rituals of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.

Life after Death: The variety of beliefs in and assessing the evidence and rationality for the afterlife. Common ideas expressed in Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Also, consideration of non-religious notions. How it relates to the nature of a human being and personal identity.

Assessment: One 1 hour and 30 minute paper at the end of Year 12.

Both examination papers provide the assessment for the awarding of the GCSE. There is no controlled assessment.

A Level/ KS5 A Level RS Philosophy and Ethics

CCEA GCE Specification

Year 13 AS:


Deontological approaches to moral decision making: Divine command, duty and proportionalism.

Teleological approaches to moral decision making: Utilitarianism, Situation Ethics, etc.

Life and death issues: Abortion, euthanasia, sanctity of life, quality of live and personhood.

Developments in Bioethics: Fertility treatment, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, embryo research, mitochondrial donation.


Arguments for the existence of God: Cosmological and Ontological arguments.

God, Atheism and the problem of evil: Theodicies, Free will defence, Camus and Dostoyevsky.

The problem of miracles: Definitions, Biblical view, Hume’s critique.

Religious experience and its credentials: Categories, Mysticism and the defence of theism

Year 14 A2


Moral theory: Virtue Ethics, relativism, determinism and free will.

Global Rights and Issues: The nature of rights and its development – Hobbes, Locke, Paine, Bentham, etc. Identity, Gender, War and Peace and law and punishment.

Synoptic theme: Conscience, Freedom and tolerance.


Language and the relationship between religion and science: The extension of the Hypo-thetico deductive method into language, Logical Positivism, Ordinary Language movement, philosophy of science.

The afterlife: Body, soul and personal identity: Dualism, monism, epiphenomenalism, behaviourism and identity thesis, reincarnation, resurrection and immortality.

Religion and morality: Plato’s Euthyphro, Kant’s Categorical Imperative, the moral necessity of God, morality as opposed to religion. A defence of theism.

Synoptic theme: Faith, Freedom and Atheism.

Additional Information:

Clubs and Societies: Junior and Senior CU are extremely popular; frequent guests come in to share their experiences.

Trips and Tours: Junior and Senior CU enjoy many trips and outings each year, including a residential weekend.

22 2024
GCSE Results Day
27 2024
Scouts International Jamboree - Summer Camp
14 2024
AS/A2 Results Day
College Square East, Belfast, Co. Antrim, BT1 6DL
Tel: 028 90 240461
© 2024 The Royal Belfast Academical Institution