Geography – A Level
Geography is the study of the earth, its physical features and phenomenon, and its inhabitants. The A Level syllabus can be broadly divided into physical geography: the study of physical environments such as glacial landscapes, oceanography, rock formation and features, plate tectonics, volcanoes and earthquakes, ecology, etc; and human geography: the study of how human political, cultural, social and economic activity interacts with, affects, and is affected by the physical landscape.
Geography is highly relevant to an understanding of the modern world and addresses contemporary concerns regarding poverty, environmental destruction, globalisation, energy resource distribution, etc. All topics covered during the A Level will be illustrated with reference to issues affecting the Earth and its inhabitants now. You will also learn the skills, techniques and methods of data gathering and analysis used in different branches of geography.
What will I study in Geography?
AS Units 1 & 2
Global Challenges: You will study the meaning, causes, impacts and management of global challenges. You will be introduced to a range of natural hazards such as flooding, tsunamis, cyclones and earthquakes, then focus on climate change and global warming, and the related issues of population change and migration.
Geographical Investigations: Through an analysis of, and practice at, methods of geographical investigation, you will study one physical geography topic: either extreme weather or coastlines; and one human geography topic: either the causes and consequences of urbanisation or the regeneration of rural and urban areas.
A2 Units 3 & 4
Contested Planet: This unit focuses on the use and management of resources such as fuel and fresh water between wealthy and less wealthy nations, and gives you the opportunity to consider whether priority should be given to conservation or development, and whether economic policy should focus on wealth creation or wealth redistribution.
Geographical Research: You will complete a research project on one of the following options: Tectonic Activity and Hazards; Cold Environments — Landscapes and Change; Life on the Margins — the Food Supply Problem; The World of Cultural Diversity; Pollution and Human Health at Risk; Consuming the Rural Landscape — Leisure and Tourism.
How will I be assessed?
2 exams in the AS and 2 in the A2, based around a mixture of data response, short-answer questions and essays.
Do I need to have studied Geography before?
It is not necessary for you to have studied Geography GCSE, but you should have a good level of interest in the subject and be comfortable writing essays and handling data.
Who will teach me?
Martin Lailey has taught Geography A Level for almost 20 years. He has worked at London University as a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant and visiting lecturer, lectured at international conferences, and published research in international journals. He continues to work in oil and gas prospects in Indonesia, NW Scotland and Norway, and on technical aid projects in less economically developed countries.
Andy Reeves is a BSc (Hons) graduate from Central Lancashire University in Geography and Environmental Management, and a PGCE in post-16 education. He has twelve years experience of teaching A Level and a particular interest in the process of teaching and learning..
What subjects complement Geography?
Geography bridges the physical and social sciences and interrelates with other academic disciplines such as Geology, Biology, Chemistry, Sociology, Economics, Government & Politics and Mathematics.
What careers can Geography lead to?
Geography A Level is valued by universities and employers, as it requires you to demonstrate the ability to understand theoretical models and apply them to reality. Geography is relevant to a broad range of careers – a few examples might include oceanography, mineral and mining engineering, environmental consultancy, development and aid work, meteorology or the oil industry.