Course at a glance
The Level 3 Diploma in Religious Studies, offers choice and scope in regards to the wider study of religious belief, philosophy and ethics. The course specifically offers an academic approach to the study of religion and is accessible to candidates of any religious persuasion or none.
The Diploma Religious Studies Specification encourages candidates to:
- Develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, a rigorous study of religion and its relation to the wider world.
- To treat the subject as an academic discipline by developing knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to a specialist study of Religion.
- Reflect on and develop their own values, opinions and attitudes in the light of their learning.
Candidates will have an opportunity to study aspects of Christianity and (in part) Judaism which will include: textual, theological, historical, Christology, ethical, phenomenological and philosophical perspectives.
No prior knowledge of Religious Studies is required. However, the opportunity is provided for candidates who have studied Religious Studies at A Level (either as a full or short course) to build on knowledge, understanding and skills gained at that level.
Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Entry Requirements
All students must be 16 years of age and above to enrol into our Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma courses.
Level 3 Diploma courses require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order that students can manage their studies and the assumed knowledge within course content.
Course Study Hours
Approximately 20 hours per unit.
Optional coursework and final examination.
Please note that you can enrol on this course at anytime.
Students at the college have the option to choose the awarding body of their course.
This course has been endorsed by :
Quality Licence Scheme: https://qualitylicencescheme.co.uk/
Accord : https://accord.ac/
This courses’ awarding bodies are recognised for their high-quality, non-regulated provision and training programmes. This course is not regulated by Ofqual and is not an accredited qualification. Your training provider will be able to advise you on any further recognition, for example progression routes into further and/or higher education. For further information please visit Quality Licence Scheme website or Accord website
Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Course Content
The whole level three diploma has FOUR (4) specific modules of study, which are sub-divided into FOUR (4) units of learning, these are:
Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Module 1: Old Testament
An Introduction to the World of the Old Testament
This module will consider, the life of the pre-exiled Israel, with reference to the following: a wandering people; a people become a nation; a people amongst other peoples. The following passages of the Bible will be set for study: Exodus Chapter: 15–16, The First Book of Samuel: Chapters: 8-10 and the First Book of Kings Chapter: 18: verses -17-46.
The module will also overview issues of:
- How far the accounts of the Exodus and conquests are credible: as history; slavery and freedom.
- The meaning of nationhood.
- The significance of kingship and syncretism.
Unit Two (2): The Old Testament view of God’s Relationship with his People.
In this module we will build on the World of the Old Testament, exploring the idea of covenant and its place in the everyday life of Ancient Israel with reference to the following:
- 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.
The following passages of the Bible will be set for study: The book of Genesis Chapters 17; 22:1–18 and the Book of Exodus; Chapters 19–20.
This unit also looks at 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.
Unit Three (3): The Phenomenon of Prophecy
This unit looks at the nature of the Bible Prophets and their function in society with reference to the following:
- The development of prophecy in the 9th and 10th BCE centuries, with particular focus on Samuel and Elijah.
- The development of the prophetic experience and the types of prophets.
The following passages will be set for study: The First Book of Samuel, Chapters, 9:1-10:16 and the First Book of Kings, Chapters, 18:17-19:18; 21.
The following topics will also be discussed within this unit:
- Prophets as ordinary or extraordinary people.
- Prophets 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.
Unit Four (4): Eighth Century (BCE) Prophecy: Considering Amos.
The book of Amos, offers readers a glimpse into the world of this remarkable Prophet, the stance of taking a lonesome road in the pursuit of both calling and commitment to the cause. Yahweh has revealed for his errant peoples, using the voice of this simple but, remarkable man of God.
We consider the continuing significance of Amos’ theme of the relationship between religious practice and morality with reference to the following topics:
- His teaching on the nature of God, and God’s relationship with the people.
- The 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’.
The passage set for study will be from the Book of Amos. The topics discussed will be:
- Amos as a prophet of doom.
- The relative importance of Amos’ social, religious and political criticisms.
- The extent to which covenant underpinned Amos’ teaching.
- The extent to which Amos may be viewed as a typical prophet.
- Whether Amos was right in his views on God and Israel and his predictions of Israel’s future.
Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Module 2: New Testament
Unit 1: How the Synoptic Gospels came into Being
This module will study the oral tradition with reference to:
- The reasons for 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.
- The reasons for translating the original Greek synoptic texts.
The topical concerns as to whether the understanding about how John’s gospel came into being assists our 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; uncertainty about their sources and authorship, and whether we can trust them to be accurate or the Word of God.
Unit 2: Aspects of Jesus’ Teaching and Actions; Parables and Healing
In this module, students will, through specific reading of Biblical accounts, be the role and the purpose of parables and healings as recorded in the synoptic gospels; scholars’ views of the theology and the teaching found in parables and healings.
The following passages are set for study:
- 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).
- Legion (Mark 5:1–20 and Luke 8:26–39).
The issues to be discussed: in a scientific age, do Jesus’ healings have 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
Students will be expected to clearly understand the wider views and debate of the theological message and the teaching about the person of Jesus provided by the writers in these accounts and the main similarities and differences between the three accounts: Matthew, Chapter 26:36–27:61, Mark, Chapter 14:32–15:47 and Luke, Chapter 22:40–23:56.
The following themes arising are discussed:
- Is there 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?
- Are the accounts of the arrest, trial and death of Jesus historically reliable?
- 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?
Unit 4: The Resurrection of Jesus
In this unit, students will understand, in part the wider scholastic debate, the views of the theological message and the teaching about the person of Jesus provided by the writers in these accounts and the main similarities and differences between the three accounts: Matthew, Chapters: 27:62–28:20, Mark, Chapter: 16:1–20 (noting the variant readings of the text) and Luke, Chapter: 24.
The following issues arising will be discussed:
- Are the resurrection accounts symbolic, historical or both symbolic and historical?
- Is there any satisfactory explanation of 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?
Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Module 3: New Testament II
Unit 1: The Context of John’s Gospel
This module focuses on the relationship between John and the synoptic gospels; the Christian context, the Early Church and the Greek and Jewish context from which John draws. The following issues arising will be discussed:
- The debate about the relationship between John and the synoptic gospels.
- How an understanding of the background to John’s gospel helps an understanding of the gospel.
- How far John’s gospel was written in response to the situation and needs of the Early Church and whether John’s Gospel can be read without knowing about Jewish and Greek thinking and traditions.
Unit 2: The Nature, Role and Purpose of the Discourses in John’s Gospel
Within this unit of study, students are expected to look at discourses. The following are examples of discourses and students will be expected to know about these in particular, although they may exemplify their answers from other material in John to support their answers.
Much of the role and purpose will focus upon John’s portrayal of Jesus and his ministry in the following passages:
- ‘I am the Bread of Life’, John, Chapter: 6:30–58.
- ‘I am the Light of the World’, John, Chapters: 8:12–19 and 9:1–41.
- ‘I am the Door of the Sheep’, and ‘I am the Good Shepherd’, John, Chapter: 10:1–18.
- ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’, John, Chapter: 11:1–44.
- ‘I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life’, John, Chapter: 14:1–7.
- ‘I am the True Vine’, John, Chapter: 15:1–17.
The topics arising will be discussed, to consider and form opinion as to:
- Whether these discourses are John’s interpretation of Jesus’ teaching are the issues in the discourses of any relevance to people today.
- Do we really learn very much about the person of Jesus from John’s records of the discourses?
- 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
The following are examples of signs, students will be expected to know about these in particular, although they may exemplify their answers from other material in John to support their answers.
Much of the role and purpose will focus upon John’s portrayal of Jesus and his ministry in the following passages:
- ‘Water to Wine’, John, Chapter: 2:1–11.
- ‘Healing of the Officer’s Son’, John, Chapter: 4:46–54.
- ‘The Crippled Man’, John, Chapter: 5:1–18.
- ‘The Feeding of the Five Thousand’, John, Chapter: 6:1–15.
The following questions will be consider in their wider context:
- If John is correct, why would Jesus use signs rather than direct communication?
- Would people at the time have understood the signs as John does?
- Could the signs really have happened and does this matter to John?
- Whether an understanding of Christian theology is necessary to understand signs.
Unit 4: The Nature, Role and Purpose of the Passion and Resurrection Narratives
Students will be expected to know the content and context of the following passages in particular, although they may exemplify their answers from other material in John’s Gospel to support their answers. Much of the role and purpose will focus upon John’s portrayal of Jesus and his ministry: John Chapter: 18–19 Passion narrative and John Chapters: 20–21 Resurrection narrative.
The following issues arising will be analysed:
- Whether there is there any history in John’s accounts?
- Is John more interested in the death than in the resurrection?
- Does John see salvation only in these events?
- Are the passion and resurrection narratives really Christian theology?
Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma Module 4: Ways of Reading and Understanding Scripture
Unit 1: Textual History and Interpretation of the Bible
Consideration in this short module will specifically centre on:
- The historic person, John and his culture.
- Re-examining the relationship between John and the synoptic gospels.
- Re-examining the purpose of John’s writings.
Unit 2: The History and Status of Biblical Translations
Consideration will be given to the translation of the Bible, 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.
Consideration will be given to how the uses and status of the Bible have changed overtime and its place in the modern church as a source of authority.
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, a look at the modern era and the status in which it is placed today.
Assessment Objective 1
Candidates must select and demonstrate clearly relevant knowledge and understanding through the use of evidence, examples and correct language and terminology appropriate to the course of study. In addition, for synoptic assessment, students should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the connections between different elements of their course of study.
Assessment Objective 2
Candidates must critically evaluate and justify a point of view through the use of evidence and reasoned argument. In addition, for synoptic assessment, students should relate elements of their course of study to their broader context and to aspects of spiritual human experience.
Quality of Written Communication (QWC)
In addition, ODL require students to produce written material in English, candidates must: ensure that text is legible and that spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPG) are accurate so that meaning is clear; select and use a form and style of writing appropriate to purpose and to complex subject matter; organise information clearly and coherently, using specialist vocabulary when appropriate. In this Specification, SPG will be assessed in all tutor marked assignments (TMAs)
Oxford Distance Learning offers the opportunity to study Religious Studies at a diploma course, which is a level three programme. The level three diplomas have several features:
- To develop an interest in, and enthusiasm for the rigorous study of religion and its relation to the wider world.
- To treat the subject as an academic discipline, providing the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate for specialist study.
- To teach students an enquiring, reflective and critical approach to the study of religion.
- To encourage students to reflect on their own values, beliefs and opinions in the light of their study.
Each unit will also have its own Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA). These assignments will be based on actual examination questions (from past papers), which will prepare the student for the final examination. There is no coursework option for this programme.
The TMA should be sent/uploaded to the ODL tutor through the Online Campus, for marking and grading. Although tutor support is optional, it is a vital component in preparing the student for the examination and therefore, it is encouraged that students take full advantage of this support. The completed TMA unit can then be used as a ‘revision tool’ for the final examination.
Each TMA (four in all) will be graded in the same manner as the examination paper, with feedback comments and support/advise from the course tutor.
This Level 3 Religious Studies Diploma course can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.
Further information on our Level 4 Diplomas can be found here: https://www.oxfordcollege.ac/courses/accredited-level-4-diplomas/