Course at a glance


Please note that this course is divided into 4 modules each with 4 units. This course focuses and develops an interest in, and enthusiasm for, a rigorous study of religious belief, philosophy and ethics of Christianity and its relation to the wider world. Understanding and skills appropriate to a specialist study of Religion by adopting an enquiring, critical and reflective approach is built. Own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of learning about a religion is encouraged. Aspects of Christianity, and in part Judaism, including textual, theological, historical, Christology, ethical, phenomenological and philosophical perspectives are covered.

Accredited Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Entry Requirement

Entry to this Accredited Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma requires that potential students have gained GCSE/IGCSE or equivalent qualifications and have, good English oral, reading and writing skills.

Advice on enrolment and guidance of prior learning (APL) can be obtained through out contact centre. The course is a rolling programme and can be started at any point in the year. Successful students can go on to Higher Education, including remaining as students at OLC to complete courses in our portfolio of higher awards.

All students must be aged 16 or over.


The coursework is assessed through continuous assessment with no formal exit examinations.

Study Hours

Approximately: 200 hours of personal study time for the entire course is recommended. All of which is supported by the OLC Course Tutor, who we greatly encourage students to access support from throughout their course.

Quality Assurance

This course has been developed by the College’s professional team of tutors to meet the needs of sector based employers and employees. It is also part of the College’s validated level three Diplomas’, recognised internationally, as verified and moderated Centre for Interactive Education (CIE Global). Further details of our accreditations are provided on our website.

Accredited Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Course Length

1 Year.

Awarding Body


Accredited Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Course Content

Accredited Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Module 1: Old Testament

Unit 1: An Introduction to the World of the Old Testament

This module will consider in depth the life of the pre-exiled Israel, with reference to a wandering people who become a nation. The passages of the Bible studied include Exodus 15–16, The First Book of Samuel 8-10 and the First Book of Kings 18:17-46. The issues of how far the accounts of the Exodus and conquests are credible as history with respect to slavery and freedom, the meaning of nationhood and the significance of kingship and syncretism and intolerance will be discussed.

Unit 2: The Old Testament view of God’s Relationship with His People

The World of the Old Testament explores the idea of covenant and its place in the everyday life of Ancient Israel with reference to common ideas of covenant in the political life of the Ancient Near East (ANE), some twentieth/twenty first century critical views about the making of the covenant with the Patriarch Abraham and the beginnings of covenant relationships. How through Moses the relationship was formalised through Law and the giving of that Law is discussed. The book of Genesis, 17-22:1–18 and the Book of Exodus, 19–20 will be studied. The impacting issues of the relevance of Old Testament concepts of God in the twenty-first century, the significance of the idea of covenant, the impact of critical views on an understanding of the covenant and whether the Law of Moses is relevant in the twenty-first century are explored.

Unit 3: The Phenomenon of Prophecy

The nature of the Biblical prophets and their function in society with reference to the development of prophecy in the 9th and 10th BCE centuries is discussed. Particular focus on Samuel and Elijah, the development of the prophetic experience and the types of prophets is addressed. The First Book of Samuel, 9:1-10:16 and the First Book of Kings, 18:17-19 and 18; 21 are studied. Prophets as ordinary or extraordinary people; their credibility in society, the inevitability of conflict between prophets and the authorities of their day in the Old Testament and in other times and the continuing significance of prophetic experience is explored.

Unit 4: Eighth Century (BCE) Prophecy: Considering Amos

The book of Amos offers a glimpse into the stance of taking a lonesome road in the pursuit of both calling and commitment to the course Yahweh has revealed for His errant peoples. How the voice of this simple but, remarkable man of God is used and the continuing significance of Amos’ theme of the relationship between religious practice and morality is addressed. The reference to the teachings of Amos on the nature of God and God’s relationship with the people is discussed. His ideas of election and responsibility, his criticisms of the social, religious and political life of the people and his views on the future of the people, including his teaching on the ‘Day of the Lord’ are explored. Amos as a prophet of doom, and whether Amos was right in his views on God and Israel and his predictions of Israel’s future are studied.

Accredited Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Module 2: New Testament

Unit 1: How the Synoptic Gospels Came into Being

This second module studies the oral tradition with reference to the synoptic gospels being committed to writing. The relationship between the three synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke), the priority of Mark, the reasons for writers editing material as they wrote the synoptic gospels and the reasons for translating the original Greek synoptic texts is studied. The topical concerns as to whether the understanding about how John’s gospel came into being assists understanding of the synoptic gospels themselves, the advantages and disadvantages of having three gospels rather than one given the time gap before the gospels were written is discussed. Uncertainty about their sources and authorship, and whether we can trust them to be accurate or the Word of God is discussed.

Unit 2: Aspects of Jesus’ Teaching and Actions; Parables and Healing.

The role and the purpose of parables and healings as recorded in the synoptic gospels are discussed through scholarly views of the theology and the teaching found in parables and healings. Specific parables studied are ‘The Sower’ (Matthew 13:3–23 and Mark 43–20), ‘The Tenants in the Vineyard’ (Matthew 21:33–46 and Mark 12:1–12), ‘Centurion’s Slave’ (Matthew 8:5–13 and Luke 7:1–10) and ‘Legion’ (Mark 5:1–20 and Luke 8:26–39). The issues discussed are whether in a scientific age, Jesus’ healings need to be rationalised? Is context so important that parables cannot be understood in the twenty-first century? Are scholars necessary to ensure people have a true understanding of the theological messages from the parables and the healings?

Unit 3: The Arrest, Trial and Death of Jesus

The wider views and debate of the theological messages and the teachings about the person of Jesus are provided by the writers in the main biblical accounts. The main similarities and differences between the three accounts of Matthew 26:36–27:61, Mark 14:32–15:47 and Luke 22:40–23:56 are compared. Key themes discussed are if there is any satisfactory explanation of why the synoptic accounts of the arrest, trial and death of Jesus are so different from each other? Is it possible to deduce from them the reason why Jesus was crucified? How convincing are the claims made about the person of Jesus and his ministry based on the synoptic accounts of his arrest, trial and death, and are they historically reliable?

Unit 4: The Resurrection of Jesus

The wider scholastic debate about Jesus and his teachings provided by the writers Matthew 27:62–28:20, Mark 16:1–20 (noting the variant readings of the text) and Luke 24 are discussed. The issues discussed are if the resurrection accounts are symbolic, historical or both symbolic and historical, and why the synoptic accounts of the resurrection are so different from each other? Is the longer ending of Mark’s Gospel authentic? How important are the synoptic resurrection narratives for the Christian faith?

Accredited Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Module 3: New Testament II John’s Gospel

Unit 1: The Context of John’s Gospel

The relationship between John and the synoptic gospels in the Christian context are introduced. The Early Church in the Greek and Jewish context from which John draws debate and writings about the synoptic gospels is discussed. How an understanding of the background to John’s gospel helps in understanding the gospel and whether John’s Gospel is read without knowing about Jewish and Greek thinking and traditions is discussed.

Unit 2: The Nature; Role and Purpose of the Discourses in John’s Gospel

Much of the role and purpose focus upon John’s portrayal of Jesus and his ministry using the following passages: ‘I am the Bread of Life’, John 6:30–58; ‘I am the Light of the World’, John 8:12–19 and 9:1–41, ‘I am the Door of the Sheep’ and ‘I am the Good Shepherd’, John 10:1–18, ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’, John 11:1–44, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’, John 14:1–7 and ‘I am the True Vine’, John 15:1–17. These topics help discuss whether these discourses are John’s interpretation of Jesus’ teaching, if they are relevant to people today, do we really learn very much about Jesus from John’s records and whether an understanding of the discourses require an understanding of Christian theology.

Unit 3: The Nature Role and Purpose of Signs in John’s Gospel

Signs exemplified from material in John and John’s portrayal of Jesus and his ministry in the following are studied. Passages ‘Water to Wine,’ John 2:1–11, ‘Healing of the Officer’s Son,’ John 4:46–54, ‘The Crippled Man,’ John 5:1–18; ‘The Feeding of the Five Thousand,’ John 6:1–15 will be used. Some questions considered in their wider context are if John is correct, why would Jesus use signs rather than direct communication, would people at that time have understood the signs in the same way John does, could the signs really have happened and does this matter to John and whether an understanding of Christian theology is necessary to understand signs.

Unit 4: The Nature, Role and Purpose of the Passion and Resurrection Narratives

John’s Gospel to support the portrayal of Jesus and his ministry is studied through John 18–19 as a Passion narrative and John 20–21 as a Resurrection narrative. Further questions asked are whether there is any historical accounts, is John more interested in the death than in the resurrection, does John see salvation only in these events and are the passion and resurrection narratives really Christian theology.

Accredited Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Module 4: Ways of Reading and Understanding Scripture

Unit 1: Textual History and Interpretation of the Bible.

The final short module will specifically centre on the Bible through the historic person, John and his culture to re-examine the relationship between John and the synoptic gospels. The purpose of John’s writings will be re-examined in this particular context.

Unit 2: The History and Status of Biblical Translations

Consideration will be given to the translation of the Bible in order to examine whether scripture can be the Word of God and also have some clear understanding as to the nature of bible translation.

Unit 3: How Differently Christians have Viewed the Bible over the History of the Religion

How the Bible is used and if its status has changed overtime is discussed. The place of the Bible in the modern church as a source of authority is considered.

Unit 4: The Modern use of the Bible in Worship, Attitude and Status

Examination of the way in which the Bible is used in Christian worship in the modern era and the status in which it is placed today is discussed.


This Accredited Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.