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Geography A-Level at The North Durham Academy

Course description

Why study Geography?

The Geography course enables students to gain a thought-provoking insight into the impact on humanity on both the global and local scales and the relationships that exist with the physical environment. The central themes of physical and human processes, present opportunities to discuss and analyse contemporary issues related both to our global impact upon the environment and the power of the planet itself. Overall, this course aims to develop your awareness of our planet, not only the tremendous impacts made by ice, water and the sea, but also the effect of population growth and resource exploitation.


Course outline:

At AS, this course will develop your knowledge and understanding of both the physical and human environments in terms of change and development over space and time. AS has 2 units:

Unit 1 Physical and Human Geography

This involves the study of the core topics, Rivers and Population plus the option topics of Coasts and Health.

Unit 2 Geographical Skills

This unit will test the geographical skills (ICT, graphical and mapping) you have acquired in Unit 1. You will also be expected to complete a short geographical investigation based on either Rivers or Population, to assess your fieldwork and research skills.

At A2, the course enables you to further develop your skills and understanding on how our planet functions. Consequently, you will examine Plate Tectonics and Ecosystems plus the Human Geography topic of World Cities.

Unit 3 This unit has 3 components:

(i) Physical option - Plate Tectonics, Volcanoes and Earthquakes

(ii) Human option - World Cities and the urbanisation process

(iii) Physical option - Ecosystems on local and national scales Unit 4

This is a skills based paper with questions related to a piece of fieldwork research you have carried out on a Sand Dune Ecoysystem. Skills tested include the ability to collect and present data, analyse geographical information and communicate findings effectively.



Year 12

AS Unit 1: The exam paper is 2 hours in length, worth 70% (of AS marks) and is composed of structured short and extended questions.

AS Unit 2: A skills based paper, 1 hour in length, worth 30% (of AS marks) and is composed of structured skills and general research/fieldwork questions.

Year 13

A2 Unit 3: This is an issues based paper, 2 hours 30 minutes in length, worth 60% (of A2 marks) and is composed of structured short and extended questions plus one essay.

A2 Unit 4: A skills based paper, 1 hour 30 minutes in length, worth 40% (of A2 marks) and is composed of structured short and extended questions based on the candidates own fieldwork investigation.


How to apply:

To apply for a place at NDA16+ students should complete the application form available on our website.

Applications should be submitted as soon as possible. All applicants will be invited to discuss the course/courses applied for with a senior member of staff to ensure students are selecting the right course/courses. To help with the process we will also look at recent student reports and the attainment information provided by subject staff. Any offer of a place at North Durham Academy may well be dependant on students achieving specified GCSE grades.


Entry requirements

General Entry Criteria

The general criteria for entry to Year 12 of North Durham Academy’s 16+ courses are as follows:

  1. Most A Level and BTEC Level 3 courses: 5 separate GCSE subject passes at grades A* to C, including Maths and English.
  2. Meet the additional subject-specific requirements which are needed for some courses.
  3. For Maths, Science and Psychology courses, students will be required to complete a ‘Maths for Sixth Form’ course.
  4. Level 1/2 VRQ Courses: 4 GCSE grades at D or above preferably including Maths or English.
  5. Attend the Induction course in July and complete the Summer Bridging study packs relevant to the courses you want to study prior to enrolment.
  6. Agree to the conditions of the Sixth form Learning Agreement.

Any personal issues regarding entry criteria and extenuating circumstances can be raised and discussed at interview.


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The North Durham Academy directly.

Last updated date: 16 March 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1-2 years