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Subject Choice

Leaving Certificate

Geography

Career Zone
QQI
NFQ Level
Duration
2 Years

Summary

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?

  • Students considering further study in areas such as geography, economics, environmental science, or politics.
  • Students who achieved solid results for Junior Cert Geography.

Recommendations/Tips

  • Students must think abstractly and in 3-D (Be careful about studying Geography if you have any problems with this).
This subject builds skills and knowledge that are particularly useful for careers in the following Career Sectors:

Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2019:

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 19983 students who sat the Higher Level Geography exam in 2019.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 4139 students who sat the Ordinary Level Geography exam in 2019.

 

Explore Marks Distribution for all Subjects:

Course Overview

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.

Course Content

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.

Higher Level
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

Geographical skills
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.

Exam Structure

 Exam Structure

Leaving Certificate Geography is assessed at Ordinary and Higher level in ascending order of difficulty. There are two assessment components:

  1. Written Examination (80%)
  2. Geographical Investigation Report (20%)

Students complete two questions on the core units, one question on an elective unit, and one question on an optional unit.

Subject content:

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
7.  Geoecology
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.

Career Possibilities

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

Career Guidance

Subject Group: Social

These subjects explore common issues faced by all people living in society. They develop the skills and knowledge used to manage personal resources and guide human behaviour.

Required for 3rd Level?

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.

Interviews

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

Maria O'Neill, Civil Engineer

In hindsight, I am happy to say I wouldn't have done anything differently to date! In my Junior Cert I did 9 subjects ; Maths, Irish, English, History, Geography, Science, Business Studies, French and Tech Graphics. I liked Languages and history the least. I won't lie, Maths, Geography, and Tech Graphics were the ones I enjoyed the most.

When I was choosing for my leaving Cert I still hadn't decided what I would do when I was finished. I was thinking of Engineering, Teaching or Physiotherapy. I wanted to leave my options open. To do physio you need a language (to get in to UCD) and 2 science subjects. I decided to do Maths, Irish, English, French, Geography, Physics and Chemistry for my leaving. That left all the options open.

I was good at Business Studies, but after looking at courses in college, I discovered you don't usually need a business subject to get into a business course. This is not the case for Science based courses. In 6th year I took up Applied Maths. Since I was doing Physics and Maths I had a good background for the subject. Twenty classes and just homework, and I got an honour. If anyone was to ask me if they should do it, if you like maths, its a great subject!

... View Full Interview

Alan O'Neill, Fisherman
For my Leaving Cert, I took English, Irish, Maths, Physics, Engineering, Construction and Geography. Engineering proved useful as it introduced me to the different mechanisms needed to run basic engines.

This basic information helped me in my Skippers tickets. Geography was also useful for correct geographical terms and maths was essential for the Skippers ticket as it is very mathematically orientated - I would advise people to do Honours Maths, if possible.

... View Full Interview

Mary Joyce, Secondary School Teacher
In school I studied Geography, German, History and Economics along with the three core subjects. Geography is the only subject that has influenced by career as it was my elective subject in college and I am now teaching it along with PE. You need to consider the subject choices available with PE in your chosen course and college as it will be affected by your chosen subjects at leaving cert.

... View Full Interview

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