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Geography AS/A2 Level at South Downs College

Course description

This is a challenging course for students who are interested in the world in which they live.

Geography involves the study of places and explains why they are different, but also how they are linked.

It answers important questions about the relationship between people and the environment. It looks at a variety of world issues such as, climate change, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, health studies and how many people the earth can support.

If you are interested in current human and environmental issues then this course may be for you.

Course content

AS level – Year 1 (two units)

  • Unit 1: Physical Topics – Rivers, floods and management plus Coastal environments. In this module you will study processes, landforms and management of the river and coastal environment. This includes a compulsory fieldtrip in the last term. During the spring term there is an optional fieldtrip to study coastal geography.
  • Unit 1: Human Topics – Global population change plus Health issues. Within these topics you will study population patterns and population management strategies with particular emphasis on case studies. Health includes investigation into diseases of affluence and poverty, on a global scale. You will also investigate the regional and local provision of health care via a comparison study which involves a second compulsory fieldtrip.
  • Unit 2: Structured skills and generic fieldwork questions. This is examined in the summer and will use the skills and knowledge gained on the compulsory river fieldtrip. This topic includes the application and use of statistical tests. You will need to be confident using a calculator, constructing graphs and using maps.

A2 level – Year 2 (a further two units)

  • Unit 3: Physical topics – Plate tectonics and associated hazards (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis) and Weather, climate and associated hazards (e.g. hurricanes). This is a popular topic as past students have enjoyed studying the processes, landform and management of volcanic and earthquake hazards. You can attend an optional fieldtrip to the Natural History and Science Museum.
  • Unit 3: Human topic – World Cities. Within World Cities you will study the characteristics of cities and investigate the management strategies employed by planners. This also includes an optional fieldtrip to London’s East End area of Stratford and the 2012 Olympic site, an optional trip to Bluewater, Kent and a compulsory trip to West Quay, Southampton to study regeneration.
  • Unit 4B: Geographical issue evaluation – this is a topical geographical issue that is presented in a booklet that is issued during March for the summer exam. You will receive three weeks of tuition on the booklet in preparation for the exam. This will require you to carry out individual research and to become familiar with the content of the booklet. You will usually be required to evaluate an issue and reach a decision following your analysis. Past topics have been very varied such as, a study on cycling in Guildford to tourism in the Himalayas.

Teaching is in a specialist Geography area where students have access to the variety of resources required for such a wide subject, as well as the necessary text books.

Students work independently and in small groups. Formal teaching and small teaching groups allow discussion and debate to flourish.

You will also be able to take part in an optional fieldtrip to Iceland in the second year of the course.


Entry requirements

A minimum of five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English Language and usually Mathematics.


AS level – two written exams both taken in the summer of the first year.

  • Unit 1 (2 hours) 70% of the total AS marks, 35% of the total A level.
  • Unit 2 (1 hour) 30% of the total AS marks, 15% of the total A level.

A2 level – two written exams both taken in the summer of the second year.

  • Unit 3 (2.5 hours) 60% of the A2 Level marks, 30% of the A level marks
  • Unit 4B (1.5 hours) 40% of the A2 Level marks, 20% of the A level marks

Financial information

You will be required to pay the full cost for the fieldwork residential to the New Forest.

Future opportunities

A good A level pass in a range of subjects will assist you to progress to higher education or appropriate employment.

Geography is a very useful subject for a broad wide range of degree courses and job opportunities.

Many universities class it as both a humanities and a science subject.

A significant proportion of students go on to study geography at degree level, however, some other progression routes have been degrees in ocean science, architecture, economics, engineering, sport science, and land economics, also employment in the armed services, the travel and retail industry.

This subject allows for a very varied progression route.

Further information

You should allow 5 hours personal study per week to support this A level.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 05 May 2016

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