‘Geography is one of those richly comprehensive subjects whose relevance is all around us. Where we come from, what we eat, how we move about and how we shape our future are all directly the province of the geographer. More than ever we need the geographer’s skills and foresight to help us learn about our planet - how we use it and how we abuse it.”
Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Geographers explore the physical properties of the earth’s surface and the human societies spread across them. Geography is therefore, in essence, the study of the world around us, and just as the world is continually changing, and so is Geography. Consequently, Geography is a dynamic, vital and lively subject. Being able to understand some of the processes behind these changes and being able to predict potential outcomes means Geographers have important skills necessary to help manage the future of the planet. Over the course, you will develop an understanding of the processes causing the current migration crisis, global warming, famine in Africa and rising sea levels. It is perfectly possible to study Geography at A-level without Geography GCSE, so please do not let this put you off if you want to know more about the world in which we live.
The Course and Its Structure
We will be studying the Welsh Board (Eduqas) A Level Geography curriculum and will be learning about the following topics:
Topic: Some key questions:
Tectonic hazards: How does the structure of our Earth cause volcanic and seismic events?
Can we predict earthquakes?
What factors determine the vulnerability of a population to a volcanic eruption?
Global governance: In which ways has our world been shrinking?
Why has there been a recent dramatic rise in refugees?
Who owns our oceans and what geopolitical conflicts have arisen over their use?
Global systems: What is a system?
How are the carbon and water cycles connected?
What is the link between the increased store of carbon in our atmosphere and recent increases in extreme weather events?
Glaciated landscapes: What causes glacial periods?
How have glaciers shaped the UK landscape?
What impact is human activity having on glaciated areas?
Development in Africa: How is desertification blighting the lives of millions of people in Africa?
What is the resource curse?
How can we promote development in Africa?
Weather and climate: Why is it frequently cloudy and rainy in the UK?
What are the causes and impacts of hurricanes?
Why are cities often warmer than their surroundings?
Changing places: When people think of Sheffield, what do they imagine? How is this image shaped by film, songs and the media more generally?
How is the knowledge economy and technology shaping places today?
How are places ‘branded’ in order to attract visitors?
Fieldwork and Geographical Skills
As part of the course you will have the opportunity to undertake fieldwork and develop your own research skills. Fieldwork is a fundamental part of developing geographical understanding of the real world and you will produce an independent research project in Y13 which will be worth 20% of your final grade. The focus of the investigation is up to you, this is a real opportunity to pursue your interest in an aspect of the course that has caught your imagination.
At the end of the two years you will sit 3 examination papers in addition to submitting your research project (or NEA as it is called).
The transition from GCSE to A level can be challenging and support will provided to help you reach your potential in Geography. At the beginning of Year 12 we will focus on developing various study skills and there will be lots of focus on exam technique. In lessons you will be doing a range of activities including note-taking, individual research, group work, discussions, mapping and statistical analysis. Written work will range from short answers through to longer essays and report writing.
Geography helps develop both your literacy and numeracy skills. As a result, Geographers are in high demand in the workplace and as a result, unemployment amongst geography graduates is much lower than the average. The types of jobs that Geographers go on to do diverse, but they include becoming a hydrologist, town planner, international developer, GIS analyst, surveyor, cartographer, teacher, environmental consultant, oceanographer, meteorologist or aid worker.
Geography complements almost any other subjects at A Level. It helps further literacy and writing skills for those selecting mainly sciences at A Level as well as numeracy skills for those studying languages and humanities. Finally, it provides an excellent bridge between those studying a mix of sciences and languages / humanities subjects.
The Academy’s general entry criteria of a minimum of five 4s at GCSE apply. A minimum of 4 in English Language is needed to study Geography at A Level.
To find out more about the A Level course, click here, to visit the eduqas website.