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Why study Geography?

On Geography, Sir Michael Palin - English actor, comedian, writer​ and public speaker – wrote: “Geography is not only up-to-date and relevant, it is one of the most exciting, adventurous and valuable subjects to study today. So many of the world's current problems boil down to geography and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them.” Former US President, Barack Obama, said in 2012: “The study of geography is about more than just memorising places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents”.  

Both of these comments not only highlight the importance of Geography but also its appeal as arguably the most relevant and engaging A-Level course.  

Geographers are excited to find out about the world they live in, and they have an adventurous streak. They are keen to develop a valuable understanding of the physical and human processes which produce the landscapes of today, and they are interested in tackling the world's current problems. 

If you want to know the answers to questions like ‘Why was the 2020 wildfire season one of the worst in history?', How will recent and predicted climatic change impact our coastlines?', ‘How can we build more liveable and sustainable cities?’ or 'What are the problems caused by unequal flows of people, money, ideas and technology?' then Geography is the subject for you. 

What will I study? How will I be assessed?

The AQA A-level 7037 specification has three units: 

  1. Physical geography: water and carbon cycles, coastal systems and landscapes and hazards. 
  2. Human geography: global systems and global governance, changing places and contemporary urban environments 
  3. Geography fieldwork investigation: non-examination assessment (NEA) 

Unit 1 and 2 are assessed by examination whilst Unit 3 is a coursework assignment of 3,000 - 4,000 words long, which will present your independent analysis of data findings based on a project you have designed from start to finish.  

What skills do I gain from Geography? Where can Geography lead?

Geography is an academically robust subject that will help you in your future studies and the world of work. You will develop an understanding of physical, social and economic processes and be able to plan, research, develop and test hypotheses and write reports. Geographers are numerate, literate and good team workers. You will learn to think analytically and critically as well as developing valuable computer skills. Moreover, The Department for Education found that female Geography university graduates earn over 10% more than the average female graduate.  

You will find geographers working in a wide range of jobs, from finance to planning, working for environmental organisations to travel and tourism, law to international charities.