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Geography A level at Esher College

Course description

Here at Esher College we firmly believe that geography is truly one of the most exciting, cutting edge and relevant subjects to study in today’s ever changing world. In 2015 it was referred to by The Guardian newspaper as ‘the must have topic at A Level’.

Issues that are currently in the news form a central focus to learning and you will be encouraged to deepen your understanding by making connections between different aspects of the subject. The new Pearson syllabus offers an issues based approach to studying geography, enabling you to explore and evaluate contemporary geographical questions and issues such as water insecurity and climate change. You will be given the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of physical and human geography, the complexity of people and the environment, and to become critical, reflective and independent learners. Geographical skills are developed and there are two compulsory fieldwork days each year.

Course content

The first year is split between Dynamic Landscapes and Dynamic Places. Dynamic landscapes comprises Tectonic Processes and Hazards and Coastal Landscapes. Although many of you will have studied these topics at GCSE, the A Level syllabus, whilst deepening your understanding, also focuses on disaster management and your ability to critically assess the effectiveness of a variety of management strategies including statistical analysis. Dynamic Places examines Globalisation and its impacts and consequences, and possible responses to it, in addition to how it shapes places. Here you will use two case studies to examine how and why places vary and you will critically assess attempts at regeneration and rebranding.

The second year comprises Physical Systems and Sustainability together with Human Systems and Geopolitics. Physical Systems includes the hydrological and carbon cycles, water and energy insecurity – key issues in today’s world. Human Systems explores the impacts and sphere of influence of global superpowers, in addition to the Global Development and Connections topic. This looks at Health, Human Rights and Intervention, including conflict and aid, and how these issues can be resolved. You will also develop the skills needed to complete the Issues Evaluation Paper and two more fieldwork days will feed into your Independent Investigation.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement for study at Esher College is 5 GCSEs at A* - C (or 9 – 4 in Maths and English).  We encourage students to aim significantly higher than this to ensure that study programmes are successfully completed.

In addition to the general entry criteria that the College requires, you will also need to achieve at least a Grade 4 in both GCSE English Language and GCSE Mathematics. If you are taking GCSE Geography you need to have at least a C grade and preferably higher. However it is possible to take Geography without having studied it at GCSE, providing you have a strong interest and enthusiasm for the subject.


Assessment will be by written exams (80%) and an individual project based on fieldwork (20%). 

Financial information

There will be two fieldwork days at a local fieldwork centre (please note there will be a cost of approximately £120 for these days).

Future opportunities

This subject is considered a competitive one in terms of university entrance. It attracts a lot of applicants for university as it combines the academic, creative and analytical skills which are so valued in many careers. Geography related jobs include cartography, surveying, environmental consultant, GIS officer and teaching. However, the transferability of geographic knowledge and skills make it one of the most sought after qualifications for many other careers such as international aid, logistics and distribution, finance, tourism and transport. Employers include local government; the Civil Service; the armed forces; Ministry of Defence; police service; private companies; environmental consultancies and protection agencies; utility companies; charities; information systems organisations.

Further information

Please note that this subject is in the process of being reformed. The current information reflects what is known about the new course and further details will be available on the website when the specification (syllabus) has been finalised and published.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 12 October 2016
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