S5 / S6 Geography

Geography Higher
Geography Advanced Higher

Geography - Higher

Entry level : Students choosing this course should have at least Grade 2 in Standard Grade Geography. Prospective “crash” Higher students will have to show evidence of very good grades in other courses, be committed to extra study time and should initially consult Mr. Harnden.

The Course : The course is split into Physical Environments, Human Environments and Environmental Interactions (1 credit each).

Physical geography studies the evolution of natural landscapes and environments. This includes topics such as coastal, limestone and glacial scenery, soil forming processes, oceanic currents, world climate patterns and climate change such as global warming.

Human geography studies our response to the natural environment. This section of the course includes topics such as traffic problems in Edinburgh, urban land use, urban change and deprivation, industrial studies, population control in China and a comparative study of subsistence farming in India with commercial prairie agriculture in the USA.

Environmental Interactions builds on the core units and involves in depth study of selected geographical issues. These may include the impact of tourism on fragile landscapes such as the Yorkshire Dales, managing coastal erosion in the UK, environmental factors involved in the spread of diseases such as malaria and a study of regional economic differences within Italy and the EU.

The course should be of particular interest to students who would like to become more environmentally aware and who enjoy finding out about other places and foreign cultures. Gathering and processing geographical data forms an integral part of the course.

Assessment : Candidates must pass internal assessments in each unit. External assessment is based entirely on two written exam papers.

Further Education and Careers : Geography is accepted by universities and colleges as a subject which may fulfil part of the entry requirements for a wide variety of courses. As well as the many degree level geography courses which continue to be popular, geography can be useful for courses in areas such as business management, psychology, architecture, geology and town and country planning.

There are a number of careers where geography provides a useful background. These include advertising, management, the oil industry, surveying, planning, travel and tourism, forestry, agriculture, journalism and nature conservation. In addition, a geographical background is helpful in the interpretation of data generated by geographical information systems used by an increasing number of companies and organisations in their decision making.

Geography - Advanced Higher

Entry Level : Advanced Higher provides an opportunity for students who have a particular interest in Geography to further investigate some aspects of it. Candidates will be expected to have gained an A or B grade in Higher Geography.

The Course : The course is divided into three main sections. Much of the course will depend on individual study and fieldwork. For highly motivated and committed students the course should prove challenging and rewarding.

In unit one, students will learn about various fieldwork methods and techniques. This will include field based activities as well as time in the classroom. Some class time will also be devoted to processing and interpretation of statistics gathered in the field, from maps, or supplied by geographical information systems. Quite a lot of time is spent learning about statistics.

In the second unit candidates must carry out a detailed Geographical Study which will involve the gathering, analysis and presentation of information collected. For example students may choose to investigate depopulation or transport issues within Orkney and will present a 3000 word written report not exceeding 25 A4 sides in length. Work on the Geographical Study must be undertaken on a regular basis throughout the year.

In the third unit candidates research a current geographical issue and present their findings in the form of a Critical Evaluation, of no more than 2000 words and 12 A4 pages. Topics for research are based on the six Environmental Interactions at Higher Level. For example students might study the effect of human activities on rainforest or hot desert environments (land degradation), the impact of tourism on fragile landscapes such as the Cairngorms (rural land resources), the link between disease and lack of safe water supplies in developing countries (development and health) or the introduction of congestion charging into UK cities (urban change).

Assessment: The final grade awarded will be based on each of the three units described above. The written exam at the end of the course will consist of questions which test map interpretation and data handling skills as well as knowledge of fieldwork methods and techniques. It accounts for 30% of the total available marks.

The Geographical Study is submitted to SQA for assessment and accounts for 40% of the available marks. The Critical Evaluation of a geographical issue must also be submitted to SQA for assessment. It accounts for 30% of the marks available. Success at Advanced Higher Geography is therefore highly dependent on work carried out on an individual basis throughout the session.

Further Education and Careers: Geography is accepted by universities and colleges as a subject which may fulfil part of the entry requirements for a wide variety of courses. As well as the many degree level geography courses which continue to be popular, geography can be useful for courses in areas such as business management, psychology, architecture, geology and town and country planning.

There are a number of careers where geography provides a useful background. These include advertising, management, the oil industry, surveying, planning, travel and tourism, forestry, agriculture, journalism and nature conservation. In addition, a geographical background is helpful in the interpretation of data generated by geographical information systems used by an increasing number of organisations in their decision making.