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International Baccalaureate - Geography - Higher & Standard Level at The Rochester Grammar School

Course description

If you are curious about the world around you, in physical and human terms, you’ll find this a fascinating course. Geography is relevant to many of the major problems that now face the world. Interaction between humans and their environment has always been a key issue for humankind and the answers to the broad and complex questions faced by geographers require the use of many approaches from different academic areas. In contemporary society issues such as urbanisation, population, development and environmental quality are increasingly important. Geography is effectively a “bridging” subject between the Arts and Sciences.

Course content

All candidates are required to study the core theme of “Patterns and Change”.  This considers the likely causes and impacts of global climate change and the necessity for sustainability.  At standard level candidates study two optional themes, and at higher level candidates study three of the optional themes.  Throughout their studies candidates integrate the use of key geographical skills such as the interpretation and creation of maps, statistical analysis, graphical presentation and geographical investigation.  All candidates undertake a geographical investigation that is based on fieldwork.  Fieldwork provides an in-depth study of a situation and adds to knowledge, understanding and awareness of the environment.

Higher level students will also study an extension unit – Global Interactions.  This focuses on the global interactions, flows and exchanges arising from the disparities that exist between places.  There are seven topics which are investigated:  measuring global interactions; changing space and the shrinking world; economic interactions and flows; environmental change; socio-cultural exchanges; political outcomes; and global interactions at a local level. 

Optional themes:

  • Freshwater – issues and conflicts
  • Oceans and their coastal margins
  • Extreme environments
  • Hazards and disasters
  • Leisure, sport and tourism
  • The geography of food and health
  • Urban environments

Entry requirements

Geography a GCSE grade B in Geography is required to study both Higher and Standard.


In order to gain access to The RGS Sixth Form, students must obtain 5 GCSE grades at A*-B (5+) including English Language and Mathematics.


Both Higher and Standard candidates will take Paper 1 (1 hour, 30 minutes), examining the core theme.  Both will also take Paper 2 which examines the optional themes.  For Standard level candidates this paper (1 hour, 30 minutes) will examine two of the optional themes and for Higher level candidates (2 hours, 30 minutes) it will examine all four optional themes.  At both levels candidates will also submit an assignment for internal assessment.  At Higher level this will be up to 2,500 words and 25% of their total marks.  At Standard level it will be up to 2,500 words and 25% of the total marks.

Future opportunities

Geographers acquire a wide range of knowledge and skills that are appreciated by many employers.  They find their subject useful in many career paths, including urban design and planning, civil engineering or environmental analysis.  It also provides good preparation for those considering medicine. Geography is a subject which bridges the physical and social sciences and thus provides a valuable basis for many courses in higher education.

Further information

'The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.'

IB learners are:

- Enquirers
- Knowledgeable
- Risk-takers
- Thinkers
- Good communicators
- Principled
- Open-minded
- Reflective

The ideal IB student will also have acquired a sense of caring and compassion, and will recognise the importance of a balance between his/her intellectual, physical and emotional needs.

If you require any further information please contact Miss Hemming at The Rochester Grammar School.

If you wish to study at The Rochester Grammar School, please apply directly to the school. 





How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Rochester Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 02 December 2016
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