A-level Philosophy

A-level Philosophy will challenge you to think outside the box, as well as provide communication, analysis and critical thinking skills that will last a lifetime.

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  • Overview
  • What you'll learn
  • Extra info
  • FAQs

Are you ready to change your world?

Due to high capacity this course is temporarily unavailable until January 2023.

We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. We’ve experienced a high level of interest this year. We hope you will consider joining us next January!

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All Oxbridge home learning courses are delivered to a high-quality standard with full access to course materials. If you prefer a printed copy of your course material, choose our print option. Note: extra charges will apply.

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Overview

What is right and wrong? Does God exist? What is the mind? A-level Philosophy will challenge you to think deeply about some of life's most profound questions, as you investigate and debate them. You'll learn how to be open-minded, think independently and weigh up evidence on both sides of an argument. 

Through the exploration of key ideas that have challenged philosophers for centuries, this AQA A-level Philosophy course will introduce you to key ideas from some of the greatest minds to have contributed to Western thinking.

What you'll learn

Unit 1 - Epistemology

Epistemology is the study of knowledge itself and is one of the key fields of philosophy. Through set texts by authors such as Descartes and Locke, in this unit, you’ll explore this concept in-depth, focusing on perception as a source of knowledge and ‘truth’, direct and indirect realism, innatism and more.

Unit 2 - Moral philosophy

Through set texts such as ‘The Language of Morals’ by RM Hare and ‘Utilitarianism’ by JS Mill, in unit two of A-level Philosophy, you’ll take a deep dive into moral philosophy. You’ll begin by studying normative ethical theories and utilitarianism, questioning whether there is indeed an objective way to determine right and wrong.

Moving on, you’ll examine Kantian deontological ethics, a normative moral theory which bases its judgements on the notion of moral duty. Moving on, you’ll study applied ethics and meta-ethics, looking at various real-life situations such as lying and eating meat from animals.

Unit 3 - Metaphysics of God

Moving on, you’ll take a look at the concept and nature of ‘God’, questing what is meant by the concept of an omniscient and omnipotent creator and how compatible this is with the concept of free will. You’ll examine ontological and teleological arguments for the existence of God, considering the thoughts of philosophers such as Normal Malcolm and St Anselm.

Next, you’ll investigate the problem of evil and whether the characteristics attributed to God can reasonably be aligned with its existence. Finally, you’ll study religious language, including the distinction between cognitivism and non-cognitivism.

Unit 4 - Metaphysics of mind

In the final unit of this Philosophy AQA course, you’ll investigate what philosophers mean when they discuss the ‘mind’. You’ll study dualist theories proposed by philosophers such as Descartes, along with criticisms for these arguments such as the conceptual interaction problem.

Moving on, you’ll take a look at physicalist theories, including ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ behaviourism concepts proposed by philosophers such as Carl Hempel. Finally, you’ll examine functionalism, the concept that all mental states can be characterised in terms of functional roles and the criticisms of this theory from philosophers such as Ned Block and the ‘China thought experiment’.

Extra info

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Awarding Body

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AQA qualifications are internationally recognised and taught in 30 countries around the world, highly valued by employers and universities and enable young people to progress to the next stage of their lives. AQA qualifications suit a range of abilities and include GCSE courses, IGCSE courses and A-level courses.

Recognised through UCAS

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This course carries UCAS points. This means that it can be used to gain direct access to University courses and other Higher Education, through the UCAS system.

Course Outcome

Upon successful completion of this home learning course, you will receive the qualification: A-level Philosophy, issued by AQA. Your certificate is identical to that issued to students at any other school, college or university.

This syllabus (7172) has been chosen specifically because it is best suited to distance learning.

How is this course assessed or examined?

You can enrol now for A-level Philosophy examinations for Summer 2024.

You will be required to complete the two written exams:

  • Paper 1: 3 hours, 50% of A-level, 100 marks.
  • Paper 2: 3 hours, 50% of A-level, 100 marks.

Entry requirements

It's recommended that you're educated to GCSE standard or equivalent for the best chance at success. This AQA A-level Philosophy syllabus is a difficulty level three: the equivalent difficulty of an A-level or BTEC, usually suitable for most learners of all ages.

FAQs

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Can I sign up for a Student Beans account and get Student Discounts?

Yes! One of the many benefits of being an Oxbridge student is that you get access to great discounts with a Student Beans account! Eligibility criteria apply and acceptance is made at the discretion of Student Beans. Find out how to sign up.

Can you provide a reference for my UCAS application?

Oxbridge is able to provide an academic reference for you however, we cannot provide a personal reference as this needs to be someone who knows you personally.

Can I get predicted grades for my UCAS application?

Absolutely! We can process a predicted grade for you once you have completed a total of four assignments – this can be sent over to you via email or letter which can then be passed on to UCAS for your application.

Exam Results: I need to resit my exams, can I enrol with Oxbridge?

At Oxbridge, we take enrolments all year round. Once you’re enrolled, you’ll be able to get started right away. Studying online means your work and revision fit around you and your lifestyle. For example, if you have a part-time job or need to study alongside other subjects, you’ll be able to find time to fit our online courses into your schedule.

Enjoy flexible, convenient, affordable learning, fully supported by expert tutors who are passionate about their subjects. We pride ourselves on the quality of our course tutors and know that they hold the key to success. Whatever your goals, dreams or aspirations, Oxbridge is here to help you facilitate them.

Exam Results: When will I receive my certificate?

Oxbridge students who sat their exams through our partnership exam centres will usually receive their certificates in November. Certificates will be sent out by recorded delivery.

Wondering what to do next? There are so many options available, it’s important to get the right advice. Whether your choice is to continue onto further education, go into job training or get an apprenticeship and whether your grades are high or low – there are always options! Speak to an adviser today to see how we can support you on your next steps…

Exam Results: I didn't pass English or Maths, what do I do next?

First of all, don’t worry – everything will be okay. Unfortunately, if you didn’t get a grade 4 or higher (equivalent to a C or above) in your English and Maths, you will have to re-take it in order to pass. Oxbridge is ready and available to support you with this. Get in touch via live chat, phone or email.

Exam Results: I have individual unit marks, but no overall grade. What should I do?

Check for a cash-in code on your statement of entry. If there isn’t one, cash-in may not have been applied for. Cash-in can be applied for retrospectively from your exam centre and once entered you can expect an overall grade in one week.

Exam Results: I haven't done as well as I expected in my exams. Is there anything I can do?

Yes! There are a number of post-result services available. Your entering centre will be able to provide you with further information and will process any requests for you. If you’re not sure where to turn, our friendly learning advisers are on hand and ready to help you.

Can I study this AQA A-level course if I do not live in England?

Yes! All of our learning is online, however, you will need to sit your exams in England. Find out more about exams.

What can I do with my A-levels?

A-levels are a universal way to demonstrate academic competency in a multitude of disciplines. A-levels are subject-based qualifications that lead to either university, further study, training, or work. A-levels serve as a standardised way to demonstrate your academic ability and are very common entry requirements to most higher-level courses.

Why study an online A-level course from home?

A-levels can be studied from home with Oxbridge, using our online platform. On average we find that students receive 20% higher grades and pass around 30% more quickly than in a traditional college.

How many UCAS points is an A-level course?

A-levels are the most common way to access university in the UK. The system in which this is done is called UCAS. This stands for: “the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service”. See the A-level UCAS tariff points breakdown below:

  • A* – 56
  • A – 48
  • B – 40
  • C – 32
  • D – 24
  • E – 16
What A-Level courses should I take?

If you’re planning on going on to a degree, your chosen university will usually publish their entry requirements for each course on their website. See how these subjects feel and decide if you would enjoy them as they will form much of the base knowledge for your degree.

If you’re not entirely sure what to study, there are some standard subjects that many students choose to help them secure a place at a prestigious university, such as one of the Russell Group universities. These courses are known as the ‘facilitating courses’ and include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English Literature, Geography, History, Maths, Further Maths, Modern Languages and Classical Languages.

Generally speaking, taking two facilitating subjects will allow you to keep your progression options open. For further help and guidance, we have written a detailed guide on How to Choose A-Levels.

How long does it take to study an A-level?

It’s possible to study an A-level course both full-time and part-time. Normally students would study for two years, but with Oxbridge, you can also fast-track your course to complete it in one year.

What are A-Levels?

A-levels (also known as Advanced level qualifications) entail in-depth study of a chosen subject in order to open doors to further study including University, training, and work.

A-levels courses tend to focus on specific academic subjects such as Mathematics, English and the Sciences: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The course material and the exams you take will be the same everywhere.

Are there assignments for this Philosophy AQA A-level course?

Yes, during your course, you will also be required to complete tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). These do not contribute to your final grade but provide you with an opportunity to submit work to your tutor for marking and feedback. This will help you to gauge your progress as you work through the course. There is no coursework.

Does this Philosophy A-level course have a reading list?

Yes, there are additional texts you should read to supplement your learning:

  • Philosophy for AS and A Level: Epistemology and Moral Philosophy, M Lacewing, Routledge 2017.
  • Philosophy for A Level: Metaphysics of God and Metaphysics of Mind, M Lacewing, Routledge 2017.
Who should study A-level Philosophy?

Ideal for anyone looking to pursue a career in teaching, advertising, law, or any other profession which values logical thinking and analytical skills, on this online philosophy course, you’ll look at authors such as Descartes and Locke, examining the metaphysics of God and the mind. Moving on, you’ll question the concept of an omniscient and omnipotent creator, as well as the challenging concept of free will. As you study, you’ll get unlimited tutor support, a clear induction to the course and well-structured assignments to prepare you for your exam.

How much do exams cost?

Many of our courses do not require exams however, A-levels, GCSEs and some other courses do require exams to complete the qualification. Exam fees are additional to the cost of the course and prices vary depending on the course and where you sit them – find out more.

Planning on studying A-levels or GCSEs with us? We can add your exams during enrolment and blend them into your monthly payment plan if you wish. If you’re not ready to book your exam(s) yet, you can book them at a later date – all of the information is available on MyOxbridge under NEAS and Exams.

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