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A Level Geography

Why should I study A Level Geography?

Find out more about the human and physical world around you. Geography is the only subject that can give you a balanced view of how global systems such as climate, economics, politics, ecology, and tectonics truly relate to each another and, while doing so, investigate the biggest threats to our life on this fragile planet.

Geography is highly valued by universities as an A Level choice and it is named by the Russell Group as one of the main facilitating subjects which are often required or preferred. It combines very well with both arts and science subjects as we regularly use skills and knowledge from both.

We are one of the best-travelled departments in school: join us for our biennial Iceland trip! The department is also a member of both the Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society, so gets to draw upon the experience of some of the world’s top geographical minds.


Studying this subject will enable you to:

  • Recognise and be able to analyse the complexity of people–environment interactions, and appreciate how they are key to understanding the key issues facing the world today.
  • Gain understanding of specialised concepts such as inequality, representation, identity, globalisation, interdependence, mitigation and adaptation, sustainability, risk and resilience.
  • Undertake fieldwork that encourages you to apply and evaluate theory in the real world, by selecting research questions, applying relevant techniques and skills, and identifying appropriate ways of analysing and communicating findings.


Course Specification

This course offers an issues-based approach to studying geography, enabling students to explore and evaluate contemporary geographical questions and issues such as the consequences of globalisation, responses to hazards, water insecurity and climate change.  You will have the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of physical and human geography, the complexity of people and environment questions and issues, and to become critical, reflective and independent learners.

Paper 1

Topic 1: Tectonic Processes and  Hazards - how earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis affect us and how we can manage them.

Topic 2: Landscape Systems, Processes and Change – including Coastal Landscapes & Change –how coastal landscapes differ around the world, how sea-level changes could affect us, and how we can manage these challenges.

Topic 3: The Water Cycle & Water Insecurity - what are the physical controls on who gets water on the planet? Why are we so lucky? How can we manage water to stop so many people dying?

Topic 4: The Carbon Cycle & Energy Security - how does the Carbon Cycle link you to life millions of years ago? How does your life depend upon it? How is our use of Carbon killing the planet?

Paper 2

Topic 1: Globalisation - how are we connected with the rest of the world? Why does how you live your life affect other people negatively?

Topic 2: Shaping Places, including Regenerating Places - why are some parts of the UK deprived? What makes your life better than others who live in the same country? How can we manage this?

Topic 3: Superpowers - which countries rule the world and why? Who should we be most worried about in the future?

Topic 4: Global Development and Connections, including Health, Human Rights & Intervention - why are some nations more developed than others? How can we measure their differences and help the people within? Why are some people in the world still affected by war and slavery?


A student-chosen question/issue to be investigated, based on any part of the course.  This investigation will incorporate fieldwork data (collected individually or as part of a group) and own research and/or secondary data, and will evidence independent analysis and evaluation of data, presentation of data findings and extended writing. 

This is a piece of coursework that can be based on anything we’ve covered in the course! We go on fieldwork together and collect data from different locations before you write up your findings.

Examining Board Information

Board: Pearson Edexcel

Course Code: 9GE0

Click the image on the right to download the full course specification. 

Widening Horizons

Geography students not only benefit from a rich curriculum but also excellent field trips to experience the world first-hand.

In Year 12, students begin their work on their Independent Investigation, which involves trips to the Coast and Stratford, London in June.  These excursions help students to understand fully the range of processes – both physical and human – that affect our coastlines, and also provide a detailed assessment of how places can be Regenerated, and whether such strategies are always successful.

In addition, the department runs an optional trip to Iceland in February every two years. This trip to the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ is a truly memorable experience where you will have the opportunity to see mesmerising live volcanoes and huge waterfalls.  Climb up a huge glacier affected by climate change with ice axes and crampons and stand on a recent lava flow and observe the breathtaking Northern Lights.

Our students have always thoroughly enjoyed this trip.  Some quotes follow:

“…one of the best experiences you could imagine, a week-long adventure discovering the hidden geographical landforms of Iceland”.

“In Reykjavík we saw the grand Hallgrimskirkja, or The Church of Iceland, a towering monument with architecture akin to the mountainous topography of Iceland”

“We were given a first class tour around Iceland’s biggest geothermal power plant, Hellisheiði”

“Other than uncovering the natural wonders of Iceland and discovering how they effectively run such a low emission power grid, we were getting to grips with the culture of the Icelandic people, for example finding out our Icelandic forenames and surnames from our Icelandic driver!”

"We saw some incredible sights including the volcano Ejyafjallajökull, two breathtaking waterfalls and an incredibly picturesque black sand beach. Not only this, but we also got to experience a glacier hike in which climbed nearly to the top. To top the day off we managed to get the once in a lifetime opportunity to see the northern lights which were truly amazing."

“The Secret lagoon was the highlight of this day and possibly the trip because we swam in naturally heated hot springs which was a real treat.”

Assessment Format

Paper 1 and Paper 2:

Written exams (each 2hrs 15mins) which may include short open, open response and resource-linked questions. The examinations also include extended writing questions.   Each paper is worth 30% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Paper 3:

Written exam (2hrs 15mins) which may include short open, open response and resource-linked questions. The examination also includes extended writing questions.   This paper is worth 20% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Non-examination assessment:

Students produce a written report of 3000–4000 words, which is internally assessed and externally moderated.  This assessment is worth 20% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Course Entry Requirements

This course requires a Grade 5 or above in GCSE Geography, if taken, otherwise a Grade 5 or above in any Humanities GCSE.

If no Humanities GCSEs were taken, a Grade 5 in GCSE English, or in exceptional circumstances, a Grade 4 will be considered.

Employability Skills

Employability Skills are essential skills, personal qualities and values that will enable you to thrive in any workplace. Along with good technical understanding and subject knowledge, employers often outline a set of skills that they want from an employee.

This course will help you to develop the following employability skills:

  • Critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Understanding and interpreting complex data
  • Advanced technology skills
  • Understanding socio-economic environments
  • Cultivation of a world view and a certain cultural sensitivity
  • Fieldwork techniques
  • Strong numeracy and literacy skills
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork

Next Steps

A Level Geography gives your A Levels the breadth that universities seek, with an understanding of how the environment affects health and survival of people, animals and ecosystems, while enhancing your skills in writing essays and extended reports.

It is also very relevant for careers in accountancy, business, human rights, law and medicine.


10 Possible Careers

  • Education / Charity Coordinator
  • Environment Science
  • Geological Science / Exploration
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Law
  • Politics
  • Surveying
  • Town Planning
  • Zoology

Student Profile: Dilenne

Dilenne's subjects

A Level Biology

A Level Design & Technology,

A Level Geography

Community Sports Leadership Award (CSLA)

The many trips on offer have given me lots of experiences and great memories. I thoroughly enjoyed the Geography trip to Iceland, which was packed full of experiences and helped me with the course. I aspire to study Marine Biology at university and help contribute to environmental change for the better.