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A level

Geography is the study of people and their relationship with their environment, the impacts each has on the other and the challenges of managing those impacts. You will take part in fieldwork, classroom discussions and internet research, and reflect on your own experiences: how will the changes to the planet affect you, and how are you influencing these changes?

Course content

Year 1

  1. The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security –Changes to the most important stores of carbon are a result of physical and human processes. Reliance on fossil fuels has caused significant changes to carbon stores and contributed to climate change. 
  2. Globalisation – Globalisation and global interdependence continue to accelerate, resulting in changing opportunities for businesses and people. Inequalities are caused within and between countries as shifts in patterns of wealth occur.
  3. Glaciated landscapes – Ice sheets and glaciers operate within a landscape system as glacial processes to produce distinctive landscapes. These landscapes are being changed by both physical processes and human activities which pose unique threats.
  4. Shaping Places, focusing on regeneration – Urban and rural regeneration programmes involving a range of players involve both place making (regeneration) and place marketing (rebranding). Regeneration programmes impact variably on people.

Coursework (a 3000 to 4000-word report) is started towards the end of Year 1 and completed in Year 2.

Year 2

  1. Tectonic Processes and Hazards – An in-depth understanding of the causes of tectonic hazards is key to putting in place successful responses. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and secondary hazards such as tsunamis are the focus of study.
  2. The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity –The water cycle operates at a variety of spatial scales and timescales. Water insecurity is becoming a global issue with serious consequences; there is a range of different approaches to managing water supply.
  3. Superpowers– The pattern of superpower dominance has changed over time. Such superpowers and emerging superpowers have a very significant impact on the global economy, global politics and the environment.
  4. Health, Human Rights and Intervention – The impact of geopolitical interventions on both human health and human rights is variable and contested, with some groups appearing to benefit disproportionately leading to injustice.

The course is assessed by examination at the end of Year 2:

Three exams (worth 80%) and a piece of coursework (worth 20%).


Is it for me?

You will enjoy and benefit from Geography if you:

  • are interested in current affairs, especially ones which concern the environment and how humans interact with it;
  • like independent research and lively debate;
  • are willing to get your hands dirty during fieldwork!

This is an exam-based course.  However, there is a lot of variety, both in the range of topics covered and in the way in which they are studied.  Practicals and fieldwork play a big part in learning about the changing landscape, human and physical.

Special features

Fieldwork is integral to this course. You will take part in at least four fieldwork days which will form the basis of your coursework. Residential trips are also a strong feature of this course (currently a choice between the Lake District and Barcelona).

Entry requirements

At least 7 GCSEs at Grade 4 in a range of subjects including Maths and English. A Grade 4 or equivalent is required in Geography if taken at GCSE level.

Examination board: Edexcel

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