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Geography A Level at West Somerset College

Course description

Geography is the study of Earth’s landscapes, peoples, places and environments. It is, quite simply, about the world in which we live. It is a unique subject that includes both social sciences (human geography) with the natural sciences (physical geography). Human geography concerns the understanding of the dynamics of cultures, societies and economies, and physical geography the dynamics of physical landscapes and the environment. Geography puts this understanding of social and physical processes within the context of places – recognising the differences in cultures, political systems, economies, landscapes and environments across the world, and the links between them.

Geography is truly a multi-disciplinary subject which not only makes it varied and exciting, will help provide a framework for relating to other fields. As well as expanding your geographical knowledge the course will also develop many transferable skills; team work, questioning, analysing, investigating, decision making, evaluating, ICT, data manipulation, statistical analysis as well as enhancing spatial, social and environmental awareness. It will provide insights into the contemporary issues facing the world today.

Course content

As varied as the discipline, so are the approaches in Geography including independent study, group work, practical skills, decision making, and debates and of course practical skills including working in the field as often as possible; whether it be getting out to visit local woods and rivers or venturing further afield. The new and exciting two year course on offer will include the following topics:

  • Water and Carbon Cycles
  • Coastal Systems and Landscapes
  • Global systems and Global Governance
  • Population and Environment
  • Ecosystems under stress or Hazards
  • Changing Places
  • Individual fieldwork investigation based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student relating to any part of the content

Entry requirements

Anyone with an interest in the world around them whether it is the landscape or the people in it.

It is not necessary that you have studied Geography at GCSE to take the A level course. It is however important that you demonstrate the necessary skills e.g. by having 5 GCSEs at grade C/5 or above including English and Maths and grade C or above in Geography, English or History.


The A level Geography course is assessed by sitting two externally examined written papers at the end of the second year (Year 13); two 2½ hour papers, one on Human Geography and the other on the Physical Geography, both worth 40% of the qualification. You will also complete an individual fieldwork investigation based on a question or issue relating to any part of the specification. It will be 3,000-4,000 words, worth 20% of the qualification and marked internally,

Future opportunities

  • Further Education:
  • As the course is multifaceted it means that this course is an excellent foundation for many higher level courses both academic and vocational. Students who have taken A Level Geography have gone on to study a diverse range of courses. As well as Geography and related subjects such as Environmental Science and Geology, others have included; Law, Medicine, Veterinary Science, English and Engineering.
  • Careers:
  • The skills you develop studying Geography make you of potential interest to a wide range of employers. The close link between the subject and the world around us makes for a long and varied list of related careers for example working with development or aid agencies, within the environment eg Environment Agency, using Geographical Information Systems, working for the Census Office, in tourism and recreation and a whole host more. However, most of these areas involve only one part of the broad subject of geography.

Further information

Fieldwork is an essential part of the course and you will undertake two individual days of fieldwork in Year 12 and a two–five day residential in Year 13. These will incur additional costs for which voluntary contributions will be requested and various funds can be applied for. You will be provided with a large range of text books which you can be kept at home for the two years.

The Geography team at WSC have a long history of success and are proud of the positive working relations established with students. You will be given frequent opportunities to practice exam techniques and apply your knowledge and understanding through regular topic tests. Written and verbally feedback of these topics test, along with your class and homework, will be given to ensures you are informed of your progress throughout the two years.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 03 October 2017

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years