These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.
Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.
Geography is the study of people, their environment, and the interaction between the two. The course follows from Junior Cert Geography, and covers very similar topics (such as rocks, soils, oceans, population movements, map-reading, and economic activities) in a lot more detail. There are a large number of optional sections on the course, allowing students to focus on the sections of the course which they like.
What kind of student might Geography suit?
Geography is a very popular subject choice. Up to 20% of the final grade is achieved before sitting the actual examination by completing a report on a geographical investigation - this is a great advantage for students.
The syllabus is divided into 4 main units. All students study the Core Units 1-3 and Elective Unit 4:
Core Unit 1 - Patterns and processes in the physical environment
This unit examines the relationship between the tectonic cycle, the rock cycle and the processes of landform development.
Core Unit 2 - Regional geography
This unit examines how economic, human and physical processes interact in regional settings.
Core Unit 3 - Geographical investigation and skills
This unit encourages the development of skills in handling spatial information leading to the completion of an individual geographical investigation.
Elective Unit 4 - Patterns and processes in the economic environment
This unit examines patterns in economic development and the growth of a single interdependent global economy.
Students taking the Higher Level also study Optional Unit 6 Global Interdependence. This unit examines the interdependent nature of global economic, social and political processes and challenges the differing views of development
The teaching and application of skills is integrated into each of the units where appropriate
- Map and aerial photograph interpretation
- Satellite imagery
- Figure interpretation
- Census of population data
- Weather maps and data.
Leaving Certificate Geography is assessed at Ordinary and Higher level in ascending order of difficulty. There are two assessment components:
Students complete two questions on the core units, one question on an elective unit, and one question on an optional unit.
1. Patterns and processes in the physical environment
2. Regional geography
3. Geographical investigation
Two Elective Units (pick one)
4. Patterns and processes in economic activities
5. Patterns and processes in the human environment
Four Optional Units (pick one; higher level only):
6. Global interdependence
8. Culture and identity
9. The Atmosphere-Ocean environment
The teaching of geographical skills is an important element of the course; students are encouraged to improve their ability to gather information (from map-reading, statistics, charts), present information (using diagrams, maps, and writing), and evaluate information (separate fact from opinion, make informed judgements, propose sensible solutions to problems). These skills are assessed in the Geographical Investigation.
Geography can be studied at third level as a science subject, or as an arts subject.
It is useful in a wide variety of careers such as cartography, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), town planning, environmental science, engineering, travel/tourism, meteorology/weather forecasting and in global/development work.
Visit Geographical Society of Ireland - Careers in Geography
TCD accepts geography as a science subject for entry into both the science and pharmacy faculty.This subject is not an essential requirement for any courses in the CAO system.