Learner Pathway

The following Learner Pathway is available for Geography: 

Course Information

Please click on the + to reveal the course information for each level:

National 4 & National 5 Geography

What will I learn in this subject?
The National 4/National 5 Geography course presents learners with the opportunity to learn more about the world they live in and to study issues which affect their lives and those of others. Learners will acquire learning and social skills through the study of 4 underlying themes:

The Physical Environment
  • The British Isles;
    Erosional and depositional features such as sea caves, arches, stacks, spits, sandbars and tombolos, land uses including conflicts and solutions. Erosional features such as corries, arêtes and pyramidal peaks, land uses including conflict and solutions.
  • Weather in the British Isles.
The Human Environment
  • The Developed and the Developing World:
    World population, factors affecting birth and death rates, population distribution and change.
  • Contrasts in Development, social and economic indicators.
  • Characteristics and issues in changing urban and rural landscapes.
Global Issues
  • Climate change: - Focusing on the causes, effects, management and sustainability.
  • Health Geography – Looking at the distribution, cause, impacts and solutions to diseases such as Heart Disease, HIV/AIDS and Cholera.
  • Mapping using Ordnance Survey
  • Research skills including Fieldwork
  • Extracting, interpreting and presenting numerical information and graphical information.   
How will I be assessed?
Assessment for National 4 Geography
National 4 courses are not graded, and to achieve a pass in Geography learners must successfully complete assessments in the following 4 units:
  • Physical Environments
  • Human Environments
  • Global Issues
  • Added Value Unit
At National 4, the Added Value Unit focuses on challenge and application. The learner will draw on and extend the geographical knowledge and skills they have learned during the course. This will be assessed by a project (based on a topic of their choice).
Assessment for National 5 Geography
National 5 Geography is graded A–D. The grade is determined by two components:
Component 1 = An External Exam - 80% of the total mark
Component 2 = An Assignment (topic of the candidate’s choosing) - 20% of the total mark 
What are the entry requirements for this subject/level?
By negotiation with Department.

Higher Geography

What will I learn in this subject?
Geography is the most interdisciplinary subject, sitting in a unique position between the social sciences (Human Geography) and the natural sciences (Physical Geography). Human Geography topics are concerned with understanding cultures, societies and economies, and Physical Geography topics investigate the environment and the processes that shape the Earth’s landscapes.
This course aims to develop awareness of the impact of human activity upon the environment and scarce resources and foster positive life-long attitudes of environmental stewardship, sustainability and global citizenship.
The course is divided into three sections:
Physical Environments
  • Biosphere – soil types and profiles
  • Lithosphere – glacial and coastal landforms, land use management and conflict
  • Hydrosphere – the hydrological cycle, storm hydrographs, river features and the hydrological cycle
  • Atmosphere – global heat budget, atmospheric and oceanic circulation, ITCZ   
Human Environments
  • Population – population pyramids, demographic transition, census and migration
  • Urban – reasons for urban growth, traffic management, housing problems and retail
  • Rural – Impact and management of rural land degradation
Global Issues
  • Development and Health – indicators of development, explaining the differences between countries, malaria and primary health care
  • River Basin Management - physical characteristics of a river basin, water management, selection and development of sites and consequences of water control projects
Throughout this course there is emphasis on developing geographical knowledge alongside the development of many transferrable skills. These skills include map skills (interpretation, synthesis and analysis), research skills (gathering, processing, interpreting and evaluating), numerical and graphical information (statistical, graphical and tabular).
How will I be assessed?
  • SQA Exam Paper 1 – Question paper on physical and human environments
  • SQA Exam Paper 2 – Question paper on global issues and geographical skills
  • Assignment – Write up of a researched geographical topic – pupil’s choice
What are the entry requirements for this subject/level?
Achieved grade C or above at National 5 Geography and/or at least a Grade C in National Modern Studies or History or English. Pupils who have never studied Geography must discuss this further with Mr Kelly and/or the Geography Department.

Advanced Higher Geography

What will I learn in this subject?
The Advanced Higher qualification in Geography gives an in-depth understanding of complex ideas about how the world works and also gives the opportunity to carry out research, with an emphasis on fieldwork.
The study of Geography at Advanced Higher level also gives the opportunity to develop a high level of skill in independent study, co-operative learning, objective thinking and the ability to communicate clearly and confidently. Pupils will gain expertise in the use of a range of maps, diagrams, fieldwork techniques, report writing and IT.
Within the course a variety of teaching and learning approaches are used including, cooperative learning, group work, class discussions, individual written work, presentations, debates, model making and role play. Pupils have the opportunity to develop their communication and ICT skills throughout each unit by getting involved in both group led and individual projects.
How will I be assessed?
To gain the award for Advanced Higher Geography course, you must sit a final SQA exam and send in your Geography Project for the exam board to mark. You must also pass all the internal assessment for each of the three units.
The Advanced Higher course assessment will consist of an exam paper which will account for 30% of your final grade and the Folio of work which consists of the Geography Study and Issues Essay will contribute towards 70% of your final grade. The course assessment is graded A-D.
What are the entry requirements for this subject/level?
Achieved A-C grade in Higher Geography.