What is Philosophy?

At A-Level, Philosophy is about exploring the questions asked by philosophers in the past, seeing what their answers were, and assessing how they were challenged. Students will be introduced to each of the main questions and will be guided to understand the answers that have been given in the past. The aim is to build up an understanding of philosophers and their views, as well as the methods that they used to derive their answers.

How is it studied?

AQA A-Level Philosophy is taught within the two-year and five-term Level programmes.

The new AQA A-Level Philosophy that was introduced for first teaching from September 2017 comprises four topic areas: Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, the Metaphysics of God and the Metaphysics of Mind.

Students are required to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the content, including through the use of philosophical analysis (conceptual analysis and argument analysis). They must also be able to analyse and evaluate the philosophical arguments within the subject content to form reasoned judgments.

The outgoing AQA A-Level Philosophy specification is also taught within the 2018/19 academic year one year and two-term  A-Level programmes for students retaking the examinations this specification in summer 2019.  



How is A-Level Philosophy assessed?

Exam Board: AQA

New specification introduced for teaching from September 2017 onward:

Paper 1: Epistemology and moral philosophy

• Written exam: 3 hours
• 100 marks
• 50% of A-level

• Section A: Five questions on epistemology
• Section B: Five questions on moral philosophy

Paper 2: The metaphysics of God and the metaphysics of mind

How it’s assessed

• Written exam: 3 hours
• 100 marks
• 50% of A-level

• Section A: Five questions on the metaphysics of God
• Section B: Five questions on the metaphysics of mind

What do I need to study it?

To do well in Philosophy, students need a probing mind that asks fundamental questions and which is able to see flaws in arguments. An ability to think abstractly is essential, along with an ability to understand and use language with subtlety and precision. There is no requirement to have studied Philosophy at GCSE.

What should I study with Philosophy?

Philosophy is a unique subject, but it combines well with any other subject. Popular combinations include:

Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology

Philosophy, English Literature, History

Mathematics with Further Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy


What can I do with A-Level Philosophy?

Some students continue to study Philosophy at university either alone or in combination with Politics, Economics or History. The ability to create abstract arguments and master the precise use of argument also means that it provides a good basis for law or business-related courses. It also can support applications to the more theoretical sciences such as Physics.

Questions about the course

Is it possible to study A-Level Philosophy in one year?

As an A-Level Philosophy retake student, yes.