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Philosophy and Religious Studies (PRS) is a popular subject at Uppingham. Pupils are encouraged to explore issues in philosophy, theology and ethics and to develop a critical approach to religious and moral questions. This academic emphasis makes the subject appealing to pupils whether or not they have personal faith.
After a wide-ranging foundation course in the Fourth Form, RS is an optional subject at IGCSE. The course follows themes in philosophy and ethics, focussing on Christianity and Islam. The results achieved in recent years have been superb, very rarely dipping below A grades.
The A level course is divided between philosophy of religion and ethics. Topics covered include the arguments for and against the existence of God; the problem of evil; religion and science; ethical theories such as Utilitarianism and their application to issues such as medical ethics, war, sexual relationships and business. Final year topics become broader, addressing questions of free will, conscience, life after death and whether human language can speak about God. It is not surprising that this A Level is highly regarded by universities.
Oxbridge results have been excellent, including eight successful applicants for Philosophy and Theology recently, one of whom achieved a scholarship in Philosophy and Theology to Jesus College, Oxford. Pupils are encouraged to enter essay competitions and one pupil recently won the Oriel College, Oxford Philosophy Essay prize.
The department has a lively extra-curricular programme, with a long established book group where pupils have read and discussed the philosophical nature of novels such as Brave New World, The Brothers Karamazov and A Clockwork Orange. The Philosophy Society meets once a term and visiting speakers have included Lord Harries, Simon Blackburn, Roger Scruton, John Polkinghorne and Sharon Ferguson.
* Head of Department
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