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Geography A-Level at Priestley College

Course description

A level Geography encourages students to apply geographical knowledge, theory and skills to the world around them. In turn this will enable them to develop a critical understanding of the world’s people, places and environments in the 21st century.  Our Geography students will develop both knowledge and understanding of contemporary geographical concepts together with transferable skills that will enable them to progress to higher education and a range of employment opportunities.

Course content

There are core topics that will be covered in Geography and they focus on the major stores of water and carbon at or near the Earth’s surface and the dynamic relationships associated with them. Also included on the course is the study of tectonic processes, impacts of hazards and their mitigation. Other core topics include global governance and global systems; this covers a range of contemporary issues associated with globalisation and the global governance of the earth’s oceans and Antarctica. Geopolitics is also taught along with study of economic superpowers. World cities are considered in detail along with how and why places change. Optional topics may include hot deserts, coasts, ecosystems, cold environments, development issues, health and human rights. A-Level Geography will very much focus on the enquiry process collecting, presenting and analysing data  from the field  and to this end all  A-Level students must complete a minimum of four days of fieldwork.

Entry requirements

To study this course your average GCSE grades will need to be Cs and Bs or above. Geography students should be confident in the use of statistics and be able to construct longer written answers so GCSE passes in English and Maths are also essential along with a GCSE pass in Geography.

Our minimum entry requirements remain 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, however there are now a number of restrictions on the type/range of programmes you can take at Priestley which will reflect your overall GCSE grade profile.

If you do not have a GCSE Grade 4 or the old Grade C in English Language and/or Mathematics by the time you join Priestley you will be required to continue working to improve in these subjects so you may find your programme options more limited.


At the end of the first year students may sit the AS examination; this involves two examinations focusing on the core topics and questions on fieldwork.  To achieve the full A-Level qualification students will sit three examinations at the end of the second year of study and in addition they must produce a 3,000 to 4,000-word individual piece of coursework worth 20% of the final marks.

Future opportunities

Geography combines well with both arts and science subjects. Geography is highly valued by universities as an A-Level choice. The Russell Group names Geography as one of the eight facilitating subjects (those preferred by universities when students are applying). Statistics for employability consistently show that Geography students are highly employable. The most recent HECSU report reflects this with Geography graduates experiencing some of the highest rates of employment of all graduates. This reflects both the flexibility that geographers have to gain entry to careers across a wide range of employment sectors and the success of geographers at the application and interview stage.

Further information

Geography offers a range of practical and fieldwork experiences, including biennial visits to Iceland and to Sicily. We have strong links with local universities and often host visiting speakers in College. In addition our students have the chance to visit universities to take part in student conferences. The department is a member of the Royal Geographical Society so all our students can access their online resources.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Priestley College directly.

Last updated date: 10 October 2016
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