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Geography

A LEVEL

The most important subject on earth.

Geographers have in their sights some of the modern world’s greatest challenges.

  • Keeping people fed as the global population continues to rise
  • Managing an ever-increasing demand for clean water
  • Curbing climate change
  • Identifying the key sources of pollution ravaging city streets
  • And preventing the extinction of wildlife

Human geography takes a close look at how we create and manage space – our built environment – and the patterns and processes shaping society. 

We’ll investigate the impact of tourism, how politics shapes our world, and how our lives are increasingly affected by the changing planet.

Through the Earth science of physical geography we’ll study the natural environment, looking closely at organisms, climate, soil and water, and what happens when they get together.

What happens when humans and the natural environment interact? That’s environmental geography.

How climate change is accelerating – and the role humans play in it. Which you’ll learn more about in today’s lesson, below.

Geography is about understanding the greatest challenges of the modern world – and our place in the Universe. 

You’ll bring to this course an open mind and be looking to develop problem-solving skills and an analytical approach to all we discuss and debate. And in doing so, we’ll show you the world.

LESSON TIME!

We’re about to dive into glaciers.

Glaciers carve out landscapes. The water they provide keeps billions of people alive providing clean water, irrigation, and hydro-electric power.

This lesson is a fascinating introduction to glaciers and their fascinating rhythm of life through ablation and accumulation.

At high ground the glacier gains mass, through snow, freezing rain or de-sublimation – water vapour in the air that transitions into solid ice.

Eventually it starts to make its descent, entering warmer temperatures when ablation occurs – and the glacier starts to melt. 

And then winter comes. And the glacier rescinds, returning via the equilibrium line to a position of accumulation. And that’s how it’s always been. Except geographers are now seeing glaciers coming back thin. Less overall ice, more melting.

  • In the last 60 years 10,000 billion tonnes of glacier ice has been lost, raising sea levels by 2.6cm.
  • There are 198,000 glaciers on earth – covering an area of nearly three-quarter million kilometres. If they all melted it would raise global see levels by 4m, submerging global cities including New York, London and Bangkok.

Glaciers are an essential instrument of understanding climate change. And after this lesson you’ll have a new respect for both their beauty and as a barometer for the future of life on our planet.

Play Video

What’s next?

Accordion Content

Geography is among employers’ favourite degrees because of the subject’s breadth – and graduates possess a raft of transferable skills including problem-solving, critical thinking, data analysis, technical computing, and teamworking.

And by the very nature of this course you studied here at Xaverian, you’ll be worldly-wise.

Seeking a job where you can put your Geography experience to the test? How about town or city planning.

As the world continues to change, and populations continue to grow, there are an increasing number of roles in this area.

Other roles for geographers include:

  • Astronomer
  • Cartographer
  • Conservation officer
  • Environmental consultant
  • Geographical information systems officer
  • International aid worker
  • Landscape architect
  • Social researcher
  • Sustainability officer
  • Teacher
  • Tourism officer
  • Transport planner

During this course you’ll probably favour either the human or physical geography route. If you choose to specialise in physical geography, you’ll be studying on a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree. Human geography is often a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

Topics you’ll study on a Geography degree may include:

  • Environmental change
  • Health, space and justice
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Wilderness and habitats
  • Natural resource management
  • Water science and management
  • Sustainable development
  • Globalisation, and regional development
Unit 1 – Physical Geography – Examination (30%)

Tectonic processes | The Water Cycle and hazards and water insecurity | Glaciated landscapes | The carbon cycle and change and energy security

Unit 2 – Human Geography – Examination (30%)

Globalisation | Regenerating places | Superpowers | Migration, Identity and Sovereignty

Unit 3 – Synoptic Exam (20%)

Based on a geographical issue using unseen resources

Unit 4 – Internally assessed coursework (20%)

Students complete an independent investigation

 
Entry requirements:

Six good passes at GCSE including two at grade 6 or above

Course specific entry requirements:

Grade 5 from English and Maths (4s will be considered) 5 from Geography if taken

Course duration:

2 years

Assessment methods:

3 exams and independent investigation

Course type:

Linear A-level

Exam board:

Edexcel

Our provision of fieldwork has for some years been the highlight of the academic year for students as we travel both within the UK and abroad. Beyond the residential trips to Spain and the Lake District there are many other events and areas in which students can get involved aiding their UCAS statements and improving their knowledge. Including Model UN debate, Local lectures and internal lectures given by leading Geographers. Last year’s students met with Dr. Iain Stewart and listened to him discuss tectonic events. We now spend 5 days in Northern Spain where we consider the impacts of rising Catalan identity, water security and regeneration in a city of nearly 8 million people. Students stay in the beautiful coastal resort of Sitges.

I’ve loved studying Geography so much that I plan to study the subject combined with Biology at Durham University. I’ve really enjoyed how relevant it is to current events but also how broad it is covering a variety of topics from human to physical. I even did my EPQ related to Geography.

Niamh Boyle, Geography

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