What is Geography?
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.
Is Geography suitable for me?
Geography is a demanding, yet exciting subject dealing with matters that concern each and every one of us. The subject is suitable for someone who has a genuine interest in global issues at all levels from local to international. You need to have a willingness to understand how the natural world ‘works’ and what part we, as individuals, play in this global closed system!
Below are some students’ comments on the course:
"I love geography because we can change the world for the good." Amy Wood
"Geography is everything that matters." Katie Whicher
"Where would we be without Geography?" Tom Cox
How will I learn?
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.
A minimum of 4 days of fieldwork are compulsory for the new specification.
There will be several visits to investigate classroom theory, comparing with reality. A visit to Hayling Island and another one to East London will encourage you to set yourself realistic goals for successful enquiries for your own chosen areas of study in your own independent investigation.
There will be a residential trip to a Field Study Council Centre in The Lake District in June and we also offer a visit to Juniper Hall in the Surrey Hills. This enables students to carry out a detailed, evaluative investigation which can be used in their independent write up.
Possible cross College trips to China are also possible.
How will I be assessed?
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.
- 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?
- 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
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.
Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C. We would normally expect you to have studied GCSE Geography. You must genuinely enjoy reading widely to achieve in this subject.
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.
- Sixth Form Course: