Oxford Distance Learning (ODL) is a seasoned provider of Religious Studies courses, and currently has the following in its portfolio of learning programmes: the International Certificate in General Education (IGCSE); the General Certificate in Education (GCSE); Advanced Subsidiary Certificate in General Education (AS-GCE); the Advanced Certificate in General Education (GCE) and also its own ‘Fast track’ of A Level.
The Learning programme for the student, offers choice and scope in regards to the wider study of religious belief, philosophy and ethics. The core aims of the diploma are to:
- The 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, adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the 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.
- To undertake a broader study of the Christian religion through the selection of a variety of topics which, although eclectic, complement each other. The following are examples: a study of the Old Testament, New Testament, Exegesis and the History of Christianity.
- 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. Or simply starting from a point of personal interest!
- The course encourages candidates to develop the critical and evaluative skills which will enable them
- To go on to Higher Education to study a wide range of courses, including Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Law, Sociology and the Social Sciences.
This course consists of four Modules and is a qualification awarded by ODL, in its own right and can form part of learning towards access to Higher Education and/or other formal study.
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.
The whole level three diploma has FOUR (4) specific modules of study, which are sub-divided into FOUR (4) units of learning, these are:
Module 1: Old Testament
Unit One (1): An Introduction to the World of the Old Testament
This module will consider in some depth, he 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 issues of: how far the accounts of the Exodus and conquests are credible: as history; slavery and freedom; the meaning of nationhood and the significance of kingship and syncretism and intolerance will be discussed.
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 thorough 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. 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.
Unit Three (3): The phenomenon of, prophecy.
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 arising will be discussed: 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.
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 course 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.
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) and 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
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
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?.
Module 3: New Testament II New Testament
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 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
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.
These 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 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
The following are examples of signs, 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: ‘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 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 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
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.
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; and to re-examine the relationship between John and the synoptic gospels; to re-examine 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; in the modern era and the status in which it is placed today.
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.
Each unit will have a short optional ‘self tasks’ which will ask revision questions about the content being learnt in the unit, and answers provided for the student to check their own knowledge and understanding. These ‘self tasks’ do not need to be sent into the tutor for marking – and if done so, would be returned unmarked!
The use of Bibles, including the Apocrypha, is allowed in the examination. Any version is permitted, provided that it does not contain notes, apart from plain cross-references or translators’ footnotes. Questions will be set on the assumption that all candidates will have Bibles before them in the examination room, but candidates will not be given credit for writing out lengthy quotations from the Bible. Biblical quotations used in questions will be taken from the Revised Standard Version. Where appropriate, the source of quotations will be given.
Good English oral, reading and writing skills. Full tutor support is given although, Tutor’s are not able to support beyond specific syllabus queries, learning difficulties and marking/grading of TMA’s. General support is offered by ODL through its online and telephone student services centre.
Approximately: Two Hundred and Fifty (250) hours of personal study time, which is supported by the ODL Tutor, which is an optional arrangement for students, but we greatly encouraged students to access this to achieve a good outcome.
The whole course MUST be completed to an acceptable standard to gain the ODL Level Three Diploma in Religious Studies; there are no set examinations.
This qualification being equivalent to A Levels, can support successful progression to: Foundation Degree/Full Degree/Access Courses for Students into Higher Education. Degree pathways that are frequently chosen are: Religious Studies, Theology, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Although the course programme is ‘self contained’ the student may wish to obtain further materials in regards to learning. The following materials are in the main useful, but not essential to guide learning:-
The Holy Bible: (New International Version, Amplified Version or NKJV Version).
- Drane, J. (2011)“The Old Testament Story Third Edition, Pub: Lion
- Drane, J. (1980)“The Life of the Early Church” First Edition, Pub:Lion
- Guy, D. (1965)“The Synoptic Gospels” Pub:MacMillan
- Northedge, A. – “The Good Study Guide” Pub: OU
- Carson, DA, France, T. et-al (1994) “New Bible Commentary” Pub: IVP
- Neil, W. (1965)“One Volume Bible Commentary” Pub: Hodder & Stoughton
Many of these books are available in larger town/city reference libraries and academic institutions. The only suggested essential purchase is a “Student Study Bible”.
All students must be 16 years of age and above.
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.
The course has been endorsed under the ABC Awards Quality Licence Scheme. This means that Oxford Learning College has undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet certain quality criteria. The completion of this course alone does not lead to an Ofqual regulated qualification but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills towards regulated qualifications in the future.
The unit summary can be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this sector. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at Level 3 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of demand/complexity involved in successful completion by the learner.
The course itself has been designed by Oxford Learning College to meet specific learners' and/or employers' requirements which cannot be satisfied through current regulated qualifications. ABC Awards endorsement involves robust and rigorous quality audits by external auditors to ensure quality is continually met. A review of courses is carried out as part of the endorsement process.
ABC Awards is a leading national Awarding Organisation, regulated by Ofqual, and the Welsh Government. It has a long-established reputation for developing and awarding high quality vocational qualifications across a wide range of industries. As a registered charity, ABC Awards combines 180 years of expertise but also implements a responsive, flexible and innovative approach to the needs of our customers. Renowned for excellent customer service, and quality standards, ABC Awards also offers Ofqual regulated qualifications for all ages and abilities post-14; all are developed with the support of relevant stakeholders to ensure that they meet the needs and standards of
employers across the UK.
You will receive a certificate from the College. A digital version is included in the price and will be emailed to you within 5 days of taking your online exam.
Should you require an embossed hard copy of your certificate to be sent to you by Special Delivery post, you can order this separately after taking your exam.
The course can be enrolled upon by students Internationally. There are no deadlines for enrolments.
Online study materials to enable the student to successfully complete the Diploma. Support is provided by the tutor department for the duration of the course (1 year). Certification upon completion. All examination fees.
The Quality Assured Diploma is a Level 3 equivalent on the National Qualifications Framework. The Diploma is a 1 year course which is self study and is examined by online examination. The Diploma is awarded by Oxford College. Upon completion of the course you will receive certification awarded by Oxford College.
The Level 3 Diplomas require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order to for students to manage study and the assumed knowledge within course content.
They provide an ability to gain and apply a range of knowledge, skills and understanding in a specific subject at a detailed level. Level 3 qualifications such as A levels, NVQ3, BTEC Diplomas etc. are appropriate if you plan to progress to university study.
Level 3 Diploma courses can assist you in career development, continued professional development, personal development, and provision of a basis for further study.
Progression from Level 3 is to specialist learning and detailed analysis of a higher level of information (for example university level study, Diploma Level 5 study).
This is a flexible learning course, so the more time you have to commit to your studies, the sooner you are able to complete.
In the student 'On Campus' you are also able to take part in the student chat room and forums as part of our online student community.
After enrolling online you will receive your username and password to access the On Campus area within 3 working days.
Materials and support provided by Oxford Learning.
A Paper copy and Kindle copy of course materials are also available to purchase in the online enrolment process.