A Level

Awarding Body: Pearson

Course Description

Geography is one of the highly regarded A Levels preferred by the top universities. It addresses many of the challenging issues facing the world today and is an engaging subject for students who enjoy exploring a wide diversity of topics and places. An A Level in Geography can lead to careers in commerce, industry, transport, tourism and the public sectors. It engenders many transferable skills which enables careers in less directly related fields, e.g. Law.

Grade 5 in GCSE English and Grade 4 or above in GCSE Geography if taken at GCSE.

As an international student you must:

  • Demonstrate a suitable level of academic English, normally at CEFR level B1. For Student Visa applications Portsmouth College recommends a minimum IELTS score of 5.5 overall (with no component lower than 5) to best succeed in your studies.
  • Demonstrate that you are competent to study at Level 3 in your chosen subjects during your application, including certificates of your qualifications and subject specific requirements such as evidence of an art portfolio for entry on to one of our Art courses.
  • Successfully complete a Skype interview with the College to discuss and assess your subject choices.

You will study a combination of physical and human geography, including: tectonic hazards; the water cycle and issues relating to variations in water supply; the carbon cycle and issues relating to the supply and use of fossil fuels; globalisation – its causes and consequences for people and the environment; population change and migration at different scales; the contrasts between different places within the UK; the changing power of countries; global variations in health, human rights and conflict, and how they are addressed. Four days of fieldwork in human and physical geography is a compulsory part of the course.

Geography is a wide-ranging subject that enables you to develop a broad set of skills that are useful in many occupations. These skills include: problem solving, decision making and reasoning; numeracy and ICT literacy; written, oral and graphical communication; alongside interpersonal skills, teamwork skills, self-management and time-management. Throughout the course you will work with others and autonomously through classwork, fieldwork and independent study. You will engage with a broad range of current issues at a range of scales, thereby deepening your knowledge and understanding of the world in which we live.

Geography has three written papers and one Independent Investigation.

  • Paper 1: Physical Geography (30% of the overall assessment)
  • Paper 2: Human Geography (30% of the overall assessment)
  • Paper 3: A synoptic assessment, covering all aspects of the course (20% of the overall assessment)

The Independent Investigation is a report based on field work you conduct independently, on a topic of your choice (20% of the overall assessment).

You will have the opportunity to participate in a range of residential visits that enhance your study of geography. Recent visits have included trips to Iceland, Rome and Berlin. The E6 Programme will provide you with a solid foundation for what you plan on doing next with your life – whether this is progressing onto higher education or employment.

As it is a broad subject, A Level Geography provides you with many opportunities. If you choose to study geography at degree level, it is likely you will choose a pathway that suits your interests and skills, which can then open up opportunities that are either directly or indirectly related to geography. Directly related careers include cartography, surveying, environmental management, market research, teaching, transport and city planning. Indirectly related careers include banking, social research, cyber security and risk management.

Mock exams will be announced to help you prepare for the final exams. The Independent Investigation is to be completed by the end of the Autumn Term of the second year. You will participate in a four day residential field trip to Swanage in either March or April of the first year.