Philosophy and Theology


Encouraging students to think rigorously about the fundamental questions of truth and human understanding


The Cambridge Pre-U Philosophy and Theology course consists of three papers. The first is an introductory paper that introduces students to the broad range of study within the academic fields of both philosophy and theology. Here students will address some of the foundational debates within philosophy and epistemology and will read the works of philosophers ranging from Plato and Aristotle to Descartes and Hume.

Papers two and three offer the chance to explore a particular area of study in greater depth. From 2016 we will be offering philosophy of religion for paper two and an in-depth study of ethics for paper three. Each paper corresponds to two set texts which will give students the opportunity to study primary texts from a range of philosophers as well as seeing how the works of specific thinkers fit within the broader philosophical and theological landscape.

Philosophy of religion encompasses a study of arguments for the existence of God, discussions surrounding religious experience and an investigation of the relationship between religion and science. We will also consider issues of life and death and explore the problem of evil.

The ethics paper requires an in-depth study of the moral theory of philosophers ranging from Bentham’s utilitarianism to Sartre’s existentialist ethics. The theories learnt will then be applied to a range of ethical issues such as embryo research and genetic engineering, business ethics and issues of war and peace.


There are plenty of opportunities to extend your learning beyond the classroom. As a department we will attend a study day with some of the top speakers and examiners in the field. There are also opportunities to hear visiting lecturers at the joint philosophy and theology societies throughout the year. Students are also encouraged to present their own ideas and research at these meetings and it is a relaxed and informal atmosphere to test out new arguments as well as revisit old ones.

Students are also encouraged to visit lectures at external venues such as the London Institute of Philosophy, the RSA and LSE. Some students also choose to enter essay prize competitions which often boost a university application. The highlight of the year is our Joint Philosophy and Theology Dinner with St Paul’s School. This is a convivial occasion where students in the VII and VIII can share their experiences and insights of studying philosophy and theology as well as form collaborative study groups.


A Pre-U certificate in philosophy and theology is a springboard into a myriad of higher education opportunities; its breadth equipping students with a wide range of adaptable skills which suit a variety of degree courses. In the past, students have continued to read philosophy or theology or combined their interest with another area of study such as mathematics, physics or French. Students also find a qualification in this area facilitates entry onto a degree programme such as psychology, sociology, anthropology or law. From these degree programmes students then go on to find themselves in an incredibly diverse range of careers.

‘Ideas are the source of all things’

Qualification : Pre-U

Board : CIE

Mode of Assessment : 100% examination