A level Geography

Exam Board: Pearson Edexcel

What is the A level about?

Geography is not only up-to-date and relevant, it is one of the most exciting, adventurous and valuable subjects to study today. So many of the world's current problems boil down to geography, and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them. At A level a variety of topics are studied across both human and physical geography that help you to engage critically with some of the most pressing challenges facing the world today.

As well as the exciting topic content, your will also develop your qualitative and quantitative geographical skills at A level; working with images, factual text and discursive/creative material, digital data, numerical and spatial data and innovative forms of data, including crowd-sourced and 'big data'.

At A level, fieldwork provides an exciting opportunity to study processes, systems and interconnections in both human and physical geography. You will develop skills to select research questions, apply relevant techniques and skills, and find appropriate ways to analyse and communicate your findings. As well as developing these desirable skills for employment, fieldwork experiences at A level can also open up opportunities to travel further afield to fascinating destinations.

What does the A level consist of?

  • Topic 1: Tectonic Processes and Hazards.
  • Topic 2: Landscape Systems, Processes and Change - Topic 2B: Coastal Landscapes and Change
  • Topic 3: Globalisation
  • Topic 4: Shaping Places - Topic 4A: Diverse Places
  • Topic 5: The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity
  • Topic 6: The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security
  • Topic 7: Superpowers.
  • Topic 8: Global Development and Connections - Topic 8A: Health, Human Rights and Intervention OR 8B: Migration Sovereignty and Identity

Whom does the subject suit?

The subject will suit anyone who has an enquiring mind about the world around them.

What skills should I have?

You will learn in a wide variety of ways, using maps, GIS skills, data analysis, photos, videos, and podcasts, as well as attending classes and fieldwork study days. You will be encouraged to frame your own questions using higher level thinking skills and show your grasp of complex issues through report and essay writing. Fieldwork will be an essential part of your A Level course. With these things in mind need to have good numeracy and literacy skills, be willing to read widely to inform your written work and discussions in class, be ready to share your opinion based on evidence and work collaboratively.

What might the subject lead to? (careers/university etc)

Geography is a broad based subject which provides lots of opportunities for future progression. For example, geography is an obvious choice for careers in sustainability and green issues, urban regeneration, energy supply, retail location, managing the effects of hazards and climate change. For careers in the world of business, an understanding of global economics forms an important part of geography. If you are thinking of a career in law, human rights, international relations or welfare, then geography gives you the opportunity to consider relevant issues such as; How do we measure development? What are the consequences of migration on societies? If you are working towards a future course in medicine or veterinary medicine then geography is a good choice to give your A level options the breadth that universities seek, as you will gain a clear understanding of how the environment affects health and survival of people, animals and ecosystems as well as enhancing your skills of writing essays and extended reports.

Of course many A level students do not yet have a clear idea of what kind of career they might want to pursue. If you are in this position, remember that geography as an A level gives you the chance to keep your options open, as it covers both arts and science components. It is quite likely that when you choose geography your classmates will all be doing different combinations of A level subjects – this adds to the interest when it comes to discussions on issues as everyone will have very different ways of thinking and expressing their opinions.

For further information on careers click here.

What trips are involved?

There are four days of fieldwork, two to physical environments and two to human environment. These are compulsory.

What else should I consider before choosing?

For more information click here.

What books should I read?

You will be given textbooks for the course but you will also be encouraged to keep up to date with geographical stories in the news, to access the geography section in the library as well as the online journals on the library website. Your commitment to wider reading is essential and better equips you for success.

Who will teach me?

You will be taught by either Mr McFarlane of Mr Haviland.