Geography A level Edexcel 9GEO


What is Geography A level and why study it?

In A-Level Geography you study the interaction of processes that shape our world. This is complex and dynamic and varies from place to place depending on people’s resources, technology and culture. The units which are studied for Edexcel Geography A Level are in the table below. Students also conduct an extended piece of research of their choice. Every A level Geography student will undertake a minimum of 4 days working outside the classroom on educational visits.  
Human Systems and Geopolitics 25% Dynamic Places 25%
  • Superpowers - What are superpowers and how have they changed over time? What are the impacts of superpowers on the global economy, political systems and the environment? How is the influence and power of superpowers changing?


  • Global Development and Connections: Health, Human Rights and Intervention  -  This topic questions traditional definitions of development and considers the importance of human health and human rights as an indicator of development. Why are there differences in human rights in different places and the organisations/agreements that have been set up to monitor human rights. How human rights are used as an argument for geopolitical intervention looking at development aid and military intervention. Consideration of the outcomes of geopolitical interventions in terms of human development and human rights.


  • Globalisation - The causes of globalisation and why it has accelerated, the impacts of globalisation on different groups and different places, its consequence for global development and how different players respond to its challenges.


  • Shaping Places: Regenerating Places – The economic change and social inequalities of London. Students will then put this local place in context in order to understand how regional, national, international and global influences have led to changes there.  Students then study one further contrasting place through which they will develop their wider knowledge and understanding about how places change and are shaped. Students explore why regeneration is needed, how regeneration is managed and how successful it is.
Dynamic Landscapes 25% Physical Systems and Sustainability 25%
  • Tectonic Processes and Hazards - Why some locations are at risk of tectonic hazards, the causes of tectonic hazards, why some tectonic hazards turn into disasters and the success of management of tectonic hazards.


  • Landscape Systems, Processes and Change:  either Glaciated Landscapes or Coastal Landscapes - An in-depth understanding of physical geography processes, the ways in which physical processes cause changes to the physical environment/landscape and to human activities, and the human responses to these changes.


  • Water Insecurity - The factors controlling the cycling of water. The natural and human factors that lead to a surplus and deficit of water and the role of climate change. The issue of water insecurity, its consequences and strategies for managing this issue.


  • The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security - The natural and human factors that lead to changes in stores of carbon. The consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels. How the carbon and water cycles are linked to the global climate system. .



The course is designed to encourage plenty of discussion and extended research. By the time students get to their exams, they will be able to show their understanding of a range of opinions and be able to illustrate their answers with local, national and international examples. Students learn in a wide variety of ways, such as by reading articles, developing GIS skills, data analysis, studying photos, maps, videos, as well as attending lectures and field trips. Students are encouraged to frame their own questions and show their grasp of complex issues through report and essay writing.


Assessment overview

Paper 1, 30% of qualification, assessing physical geography content: Dynamic Landscapes, Physical Systems and Sustainability. 2 hrs 15 mins

Paper 2, 30% of qualification, assessing human geography content: Human Systems and Geopolitics Human Systems and Geopolitics, Dynamic Places. 2 hrs 15 mins

Paper 3 20 % of qualification, a synoptic investigation of a geographical issue that is rooted in one of the compulsory topics. 2hrs 15 mins  

Independent Investigation, worth 20% of the qualification.


Summer IL   


Your aim is to research three different countries which have been affected by globalisation in different ways and therefore have different types of connections. You should focus on trying to analyse:

  1. Length of connections (the spatial spread of countries they interact with)
  2. Depth of connections (whether these connections represent full integration or more superficial links)
  3. Speed of connections (whether this is instant or with a time delay)

The research will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Clear understanding of concept of globalisation, including use of key terms
  • Detailed research with specific details about that country and globalisation
  • Well presented

The following articles are essential reading in beginning your research:

In order to investigate the connections you should consider the following factors in relation to the countries, but you also need to add your own ideas:

  • Extent and nature of immigration and emigration
  • Trade links
  • Membership of trade blocs and intergovernmental organisations
  • Extent of TNC involvement
  • Social interconnections
  • Level of ‘global culture’ within the country (music, food, media)
  • Tourism
  • Digital connectivity


Tectonic Processes and Hazards

Books you could read: Richter 10 by Arthur C. Clarke and Mike McQuay, The day the island exploded by Alexandra Pratt, Volcano by James Hamilton  

Films to watch: Pompeii, San Andreas, The impossible, The day after tomorrow, The Perfect storm,  Magma: Volcanic disaster

Video clips and other useful resources:

Task: Research physical processes that affect tectonic hazards and the devastating impacts they have on countries:

  • Causes of volcanoes and earthquakes at different plate boundaries with examples
  • How geology of the land creates liquefaction (Christchurch, New Zealand), while in some areas landslides are more common (California and Nepal)
  • Research and make brief notes on the secondary impacts of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland, Mount St Helens for pyroclastic flows and Japan’s Mount Ontake 2014, Nepal and Haiti earthquakes