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Philosophy and Theology Pre-U

The Philosophy and Theology Pre-U is an exciting departure for The Grange School. It is an invaluable opportunity to explore philosophical and ethical questions that lie at the heart of human existence, whilst developing transferable skills that are applicable to all academic and commercial disciplines.
There are no requirements in terms of subjects studied at GCSE; only that students enter with an open, enquiring mind, and a genuine interest in and a dedication to the rigorous study of the subject.

There are three key elements to the course; an introduction to key elements of the course and two optional papers. We shall be focussing of the philosophical and ethical options available, looking at the fascinating use of philosophical and theological language, and a detailed study of ethics.

This course is a rigorous and fascinating opportunity to consider questions of philosophy and morality that have engaged humanity since time immemorial. The Pre-U is excellent preparation for university because of its scope and challenge. It has been adopted by many of the best independent schools in the country as a means of challenging students and taking them to their full potential.

Introduction to Philosophy and Theology

This focuses on a critical and reflective approach to the key areas of philosophy, theology and ethics. The content ranges from an understanding of the Plato’s Theory of Forms, Aristotle’s understanding of the nature of body and soul, foundational debates in epistemology (the theory of knowledge), the contrast between moral absolutism and relativism, the nature of belief, conscience, free will and determinism.

Philosophical and Theological Language

In this paper there is a critical analysis of the use of language in philosophical, theological and ethical debates. You will encounter the verification and falsification principles and their use in ethics and philosophy, the debate about the meaning of the term ‘good’ in ethics and an analysis of the concept of ‘God’ in the philosophy of religion.


The ethics paper introduces candidates to some key ethical theories, including Utilitarianism, Natural Moral Law and Kantian ethics, and their application to a range of contemporary moral debates, such as genetic engineering, euthanasia and business ethics.

Assessment Composition

Paper 1 – Introduction to Philosophy and Theology
A written paper of 2 hours and 15 minutes worth 30% of the final mark.

Paper 2 – Philosophical and Theological Language
A written paper of 2 hours, worth 35% of the final mark.

Paper 3 – Ethics
A written paper of 2 hours, worth 35% of the final mark.

Why study the Philosophy and Theology Pre-U?

As part of a combination of subjects, it matches well with any area of The Grange A level curriculum from English, the Humanities, Languages, Maths or Science. The emphasis is upon the skills of logical thinking, enquiry, argument and analysis which will be developed throughout the course and these can be combined with any area of study in the Sixth Form and beyond.
An emphasis is placed upon building the ability to communicate opinion and argue a case both in discussion and in writing; these are skills which are marketable in all walks of life.

One of the key advantages of the Pre-U is the emphasis in preparing students for study at university. The course develops students’ ability to view the material synoptically rather than viewing the component parts as unrelated, which is an invaluable skill. It also places reading at the heart of the course and it is a requirement that students read around the subject from the very outset. There is also the in-depth study of four set philosophical and ethical texts, that provides candidates with a fantastic opportunity to engage with primary source material.

The opportunities offered by the CIE board specifications mean that it is possible to embrace the most fascinating and challenging areas of the study of Philosophy and Ethics. This encompasses the opportunity to delve deeper into a study of the human condition and key metaphysical questions, helping to prepare them for life in today’s world.


The Pre-U is recognised as a rigorous and challenging alternative to A levels by universities because of its emphasis on skill acquisition, independent study and objective evaluation, as well as a broader knowledge of philosophy, human nature and the human condition today.

As a subject, its career implications are wide-ranging and the array of skills learnt can be employed in any walk of life. The ability to argue a case, use reasoning and appreciate the views of others are particularly useful in areas such as Law, Journalism, Business and many more careers where such skills are highly prized. Abilities to use critical thinking and analysis are invaluable skills, adding much to the contemporary workplace, whilst Ethics plays an increasing role in many areas of the modern world as we push the boundaries of achievement. Employers have indicated that they value the versatility, adaptive thinking and innovative skills demonstrated by students who have a good grade in Pre-U Philosophy and Theology.