“Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?” Michael Palin.
Dealing with vital issues such as climate change, conflict, environmental degradation, social issues and natural hazards, Geography is one of the most relevant subjects you could choose to study. Students enjoy the scope of the material they cover, the insights it can provide on the world around us and the highly contemporary nature of the issues it tackles.
Geography goes well with a wide range of subjects including:
Geography is a broad based subject which enables students to develop skills in data analysis, literacy, spatial awareness, problem-solving and group work, skills much valued by universities and employers alike. Many of our students go on to take a degree in Geography or a related subject such as Economics, International Relations and Environmental Science, but for others the course enhances skills relevant to many other subjects.
Geography is an obvious choice for careers in sustainability and green issues, travel and tourism, environmental management, planning and urban regeneration, but having an understanding of global issues and economics is an asset for many different career paths including business, law, international relations and healthcare.
The course covers both the physical and human environments and the complex interaction of processes that shape our world. It will also, importantly, show the applied side of the subject – how human intervention affects the environment and how people adapt and mitigate the effects of processes on their environment
- Tectonic hazards and processes; Coastal landscapes and change; The water cycle and water insecurity; The carbon cycle and energy insecurity
- Globalisation; Regenerating places; Superpowers and geopolitics; Health, Human Rights and Intervention
The course includes compulsory field trips which form an essential part of the exam preparation and coursework and involve a financial outlay. Please contact the Geography Department via firstname.lastname@example.org if you require further information.
Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences
Geography students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course related experiences including field trips to:
- Iceland to explore geothermal pools, glaciers and the Northern Lights
- The Azores to explore volcanic landscapes and discover how the islands manage resources, biodiversity and tourism in a sustainable way
- The south coast to investigate coastal processes and management
- East London to explore the need and success of regeneration
- Juniper Hall to carry out experiments into water and carbon cycling
In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.
All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.
The A Level is 20% coursework and 80% examination based, with three papers sat in June of the second year.
The exam board for this A Level is Pearson Edexcel.
All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme.
In addition, there are different entry requirements for students with and without GCSE Geography:
Students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirements:
- Grade 5 in Geography, Grade 5 in English Language and Grade 4 in Maths, or
- Grade 5 in Geography, Grade 4 in English Language and Grade 5 in Maths, or
- Grade 5 in English Language and Maths
The course will appeal to students if they:
- Are curious about the places, peoples and environments across the globe
- Like asking questions and finding answers
- Are interested in local, regional and global issues
- Have the ability to think independently
- Wish to explore human, physical and environmental geographical relationships
Students should have an interest in the natural and human world, be good at written and spoken communication and enjoy discussion and working with others.
How hard is the course?
A Level Geography is a step up from GCSE and yes, it can be challenging. However, we break down the concepts to make the learning more manageable and teach you how to tackle exam questions effectively, so it’s less daunting.
Can I do A Level Geography if I haven’t studied it at GCSE?
Yes, however you will need to achieve a Grade 5 in both English Language and Maths GCSE. It’s worth exploring the BBC Bitesize website to get some background information on studying Geography before starting the course.
Does the course include any field trips?
Yes. In the Lower Sixth there are two compulsory day trips; one to Stratford, East London, to examine the regeneration of the Olympic site, and one day to Newhaven on the south coast, to explore coastal processes and management. There is a cost involved of about £100-150. We also organise an optional overseas trip in the Upper Sixth that incurs an additional cost. In recent years we have been to Sicily, Morocco, Azores and Iceland.
What topics are included in the course?
In the first year we cover Tectonics, Globalisation, Regeneration and Coasts, building on the knowledge and understanding acquired at GCSE. After the summer exam, we then study the Water Cycle and start work on your coursework/non-exam assessment, so you can collect your data over the summer. The second year begins with completing your coursework and then covers the final topics: Carbon Cycle, Superpowers and Health, Human Rights and Intervention.
How is the course assessed?
The assessment is made up of 80% exams and 20% coursework/ non-exam assessment. There are three exams at the end of the Upper Sixth, each lasting 2 hours 15 minutes. Paper 1 covers Physical Geography and is worth 30%. Paper 2 relates to Human Geography and is worth 30% and the third paper is the Synoptic paper worth 20%. This tests your knowledge and understanding of the common themes from different parts of the course, such as Futures and Uncertainties and Attitudes and Actions.
The coursework is worth 20% and involves producing a 3000-4000 word report summarising a personal investigation and field work study, based on a course topic of your choice.
How much homework should I expect?
As a guideline, the College advises one hour of homework for every hour taught. For Geography this means a minimum of four hours of lesson time and four hours of homework per week.
What support can I get?
We have an open-door policy and welcome students to come and ask for advice. You can arrange to see your teacher outside lessons and email them with any queries. We also have Plus sessions (there’s a separate video about these) and you can join the Learner Improvement Programme to help with study skills such as time management.
What goes well with Geography?
Anything – it’s a facilitating subject and therefore the skills you develop in Geography are transferable to all subjects.
Is there Maths involved?
Yes, we do have to complete a range of statistical tests such as Spearman Rank and also Central Tendencies such as Mean and Mode. However we’re not mathematicians so we break down the Maths to make it accessible.
Are there lots of case studies to learn?
Yes, the course involves lots of interesting case studies – Geography wouldn’t be Geography without real-world examples!