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Geography AS/A2 Level at Alton College

Course description

Geography is an intrinsically dynamic and exciting subject which, according to the Guardian newspaper, is the ‘must have A level’ (13/08/2015). Using the latest geographical information systems, a wide range of resources and independent research you will examine the crucial issues facing our world right now. Geography explores the relationship between people, places and the environment.

Geography has the advantage of being a science and an art. It raises concerns, which might be considered part of social sciences, yet it has a scientific slant. Field investigations are an essential part of the course.

Geography naturally combines with a variety of other subjects and lessons are varied providing a range of skills which are useful for both higher education and boosting employability.

Course content

Staff support your quest to learn at every stage.

The course is carefully structured and with time you will be given more responsibility for managing your learning. There is every opportunity for students to develop the topics in great depth. In Physical Geography there is a great deal to understand which will require taking notes and writing essays. There will be a need to interpret maps and data.

In Human Geography there will be learning through discussions, topics to explore and classroom presentations to prepare. You will be expected to play your part by working 4/5 hours per week outside of classroom teaching, ready to contribute to classroom discussions. IT research and wider reading is a large part of this course and we are fortunate to have superb facilities to allow for this.

Entry requirements

Students studying a 3 or 4 A level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade 5 in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and A levels.

We would expect students to have taken either Geography or another Humanites subject at GCSE Level.


2016 is a year of exciting change for A level Geography nationally as the new specification begins. Here at Alton College we will study AQA A level Geography.

The course is now linear with final exams at the end of the 2 year period and a fieldwork project taught over the 2 years.

Year 1

  • Hazards: We investigate how natural processes intermittently but regularly present natural hazards to human populations, often in dramatic and sometimes catastrophic fashion: tectonic hazards’ storms and fires in nature.
  • Physical landscapes: Coastal systems and landscapes. We study the beauty and diversity of different landscapes and their importance as human habitats.
  • Changing Places: How are our own lives and those of others are affected by continuity and change in the nature of places?

Year 2

  • Water and Carbon Cycles: Earth’s essential life support systems
  • Contemporary Urban environments: As the world’s population becomes increasingly clustered in our towns and cities what issues and challenges does that create?
  • Global systems and global Governance: What are the driving forces of our increasingly global economy and society?

You will have 2 examinations at the end of the 2 year period:

Physical Geography                                                        40% of total 
Human Geography                                                          40% of total 
Independent Investigative Geography (course work)      20% of total

Financial information

All students will be expected to provide their own textbook, stationery, data sticks and calculators (where appropriate). Any further costs are outlined below. Please note these are approximate and subject to change:

Essential: textbook and course booklets £40 over the 2 year period

Day field trips to East London and Hayling: £20

Proposed Residential Field Trips (approximate): Field study council residential trip to North Wales or Juniper Hall: £295
Various day trip to conferences in London: £25, excluding travel.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Future opportunities

Each year we are delighted how many of our geographers study Geography or related subjects at university. Geography is considered one of the eight facilitating subjects by the Russell Group of universities. It is also a subject accepted to gain entry into the world of business, science, and technology and beyond! We have students who have progressed to Oxbridge, studied Geography to doctorate level and enjoyed Earth Sciences courses. The Royal geographical Society provides further information.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 05 August 2016

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