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Geography AS & A Level at St Brendan's Sixth Form College

Course description

Geography is one of the most cutting edge subjects available for study. This course will give you an understanding of some of the key issues that humanity faces.

You will study a range of contemporary geographical issues which focus on the inter-relationship between people and their environment. You will gain a deep understanding of local and global issues and enhance your ability to be analytical. You will develop your investigative skills and have many opportunities to participate in both day visits and residential trips.

Geographers need to have a natural curiosity about the world around them. During the course you will develop a wide variety of transferable skills, in particular those linked with the analysis and presentation of data. Your numeracy skills will be developed, however it will be important to have a strong starting point.   You will develop a critical awareness of a wide range of literature and sources and be able to assess them in an increasingly independent way. 

Course content

In the first year your study of physical geography includes rivers, flood management and hot desert environments and their margins. Human geography topics include global population change and its implications as well as the geography of food, gaining an understanding of the geographical issues surrounding food that occur both locally and globally. In each topic you will consider your own values and attitudes toward the issues being studied and support your learning the study of specific case studies.

You will also develop a vast range of investigative, cartographical, graphical and statistical skills and have the opportunity to take part in fieldwork.

Students can choose to progress to the full Advanced Level [A2] in the second year of study.

At A2 you will continue to study a combination of human and physical geography with an emphasis on contemporary geographical issues. You will examine global topics including tectonics and weather related hazards, as well as issues of development and globalization in the context of world cities. You will also have the opportunity to take part in some in depth fieldwork on coastal geography.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of 5 GCSE’s at Grades A*-C or at point 4-9 (including English Language). Level 2 vocational qualifications (e.g. BTEC/OCR) must be a merit grade or above and will count as 1 GCSE equivalent.
  • If GCSE Geography has been studied a grade C /point 4 or above in the Higher Tier is required.


Assessment is by two written exams in each year. Geog1 is an assessment of knowledge, skills and evaluation and is worth 70% of your marks at AS and Geog2 is an assessment of your geographical skills including fieldwork and is worth 30% of your AS level. It is the same format at A2 whereby Geog3 is woth 60% and the skills exam Geo4a is worth 40%.

Future opportunities

Geography is recognised as both a Science and an Arts A-level and therefore complements an wide variety of subjects. Many students combine geography with the pure sciences and maths and this gives them an essay based subject, whereas others use it to add scientific understanding to their other highly literate subjects.

Geography is one of the 'facilitating' A levels because of its academic rigour and the skills it arms students with and as a consequence is often appreciated as one of the three A levels that a graduate should have. The breadth that geography offers makes it a very desirable subject for a wide variety of careers, including environmental management, humanitarian and development work, engineering, architecture and town planning, journalism, law and business management and GIS applications (digital mapping).

Further information

Our aim is to ensure that every geography student reaches their potential. The department endeavours to support a student regardless of their starting point. We pride ourselves in our commitment to our students and offer a range of workshops and individual tutorials in order to help them beyond the class room.  Our teaching and subject expertise allow us to give students the individualised support that they need.

We have close links to a number of businesses, charities and universities, and during the year students have the opportunity to hear from these subject experts. Most recently we were visited by CAFOD's climate change advisor.

The department offers day visits to a range of locations. There is one fieldwork investigation in each year; the AS students carry out primary research along the River Holford and the A2 students investigate the geography of Porlock Bay. We also visit a number of other locations including London, Cardiff and the Dorset coastline.

In the past we have undertaken a number of residential fieldtrips, most recently students spent a week studying volcanic activity and landscape in Iceland. Next year we aim to study the volcanism of the Amalfi Coast, Italy. We are also currently investigating the possibility of a trip to Morocco, so that students can experience a hot desert environment.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Brendan's Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 24 October 2016

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