A Level Geography


If you would like to understand our planet and play a positive role in securing its future, Geography offers the knowledge and skills you need to make a difference. Covering human and physical topics, you’ll gain independent research, critical thinking, practical and creative skills – all part of the uniquely broad geographer’s skill set.

Why St Mary’s

Supported by dedicated teachers, you will explore relevant, important questions about today’s world. One day we could debate: "Fish and Chips worry caused by curry: Is British identity being changed by globalisation?" and the next we might ask: “How are humans impacting our coastal landscape systems?” From moral philosophy, gritty geology and mathematics, to maps, essays and ethical debate – there is something for everyone in geography.

Topics studied range from understanding how tectonic and marine processes shape the Earths’ surface, to debating issues of how migration impacts nationhood and sovereignty. You will also complete a geographical investigation on a topic of your own choosing – gaining independent study skills highly relevant to university study and the world of work.

Our enriched learning opportunities can include:

Enabling your transition from GCSE

A Level Geography builds on many of the themes established at GCSE level, whilst also introducing some fresh, engaging topics. Throughout Sixth Form, learning is supported by team activities, independent research, review questions and student guides on every topic. 

Course overview

A Level content

Geography A Level (OCR) covers a balance of both physical and human topics, alongside fieldwork and investigative skills.

In St Mary’s Sixth Form, we cover the following topics:

  • Landscape Systems in coastal environmentsprocesses, landforms, changes due to sea level changes and the impact of human activity.
  • Earth’s Life Support Systems water and carbon cycles in Tropical Rainforests and the Arctic tundra.
  • Changing Space, Making Placesour experience of place, the role of place in society, social inequality and space and architecture’s role in urban spaces.
  • Global Migration / Power and Borderstopical exploration of global migration, sovereignty with relevance to current UK politics.
  • Geographical Debates: Disease Dilemmashow disease spreads and how it is mapped, treated and eradicated, through exploration of the recent Ebola outbreak.
  • Geographical Debates: Hazardous Earthhow plate tectonics cause volcanic and seismic events and the impact they have in societies with different levels of economic development.
  • Independent investigationexploring appropriate techniques to collect, analyse and present original fieldwork data, to produce a 4000 word report on a topic of your choice. This is supported by a four-day field trip.


A Level assessment


  • Physical Systems paper (22% of total marks)
  • Human Interactions paper (22% of total marks)
  • Geographical Debates paper (36% of total marks)

Non-exam assessment

  • Independent investigation (20% of total marks)
At a glance
  • Syllabus: OCR H481
  • Physical systems (2 topics)
  • Human interactions (2 topics)
  • Geographical Debates (2 topics)
  • Fieldwork skills trip (Coastal processes)
  • 3 exams (80% of A Level)
  • Independent investigation (20% of A Level)
  • Small class sizes

Entry requirements

GCSE grades (or equivalent)

  • Subject 1: Geography: 6+
  • Subject 2: English Language: 6+ (CEFR B2.2)
  • Subject 3: Mathematics: 5+
You will enjoy this course if you...
  • Are engaged in topical issues
  • Like problem-solving
  • Want to apply mathematics to real-life
  • Can communicate ideas
  • Are a good team player
  • Are keen to develop independent research skills

What our teachers say...

“Geography is so topical and always changing. The planet is ours to look after and more than ever we need to understand how it works in order to use it better and live sustainably.

We also need to make our development goals global ... Earth is a shared resource!”

“Where we come from, what we do, what we eat, how we move about and how we shape our future are all directly the province of the geographer. More than ever we need the geographer’s skill and foresight to help us learn about the planet – how we use it and how we abuse it.” Michael Palin

Michael Palin, famous world-traveller and actor neatly captures the vital role geographers will play in coming years, as we rise to the challenge of shaping a better, more sustainable planet. The world needs to change and with geography, you can become a global ambassador to the future of our planet!

GCSE Geography provides a strong foundation for A Level study. Many of our A Level Geography students go on to study this popular subject at degree level, at leading UK universities. Often they combine their studies with a particular area of interest, such as international studies or environmental studies.

Geography excels in developing a broad, transferable skill-set – ideally suited to the future direction of working life. Employers value the strong communication, ICT, research and team work skills that geographers bring to the work place.

Geography degree students report some of the highest levels of satisfaction with their course (Royal Geography Society). Their employment rates out-perform many other subjects including politics, physics and history (Institute of Fiscal Studies) and Geography graduates earn more than graduates in other subjects such as biosciences, technology and history (Institute of Fiscal Studies).

Leaver destinations

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