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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG): the heart of geography
Thinking about taking GCSE geography
Thinking about taking A Level geography

Progressing with geography at school

Are you thinking of choosing to take geography to the next level? You are on to a winning formula

Geography is a broad based academic subject which will open up options for you in your future. Employers and Universities see geography as a robust academic subject rich in skills, knowledge and understanding. As a subject linking the arts and the sciences it is highly flexible in terms of what you can combine it with both at GCSE and A Level. If you choose to take geography on to university there are literally hundreds of courses to choose from and the range of career areas accessed by graduates of geography will probably surprise you.

Do not just take our word for it. The importance of the subject to your education is evident:

At GCSE level

Pupils choosing GCSE courses are now often encouraged by schools to include courses which will enable them to achieve Ebacc as part of their Key Stage 4 education. This means that in addition to English, maths and science pupils choose a modern foreign language and either geography or history. In addition to these choices pupils will continue to have additional option choices enabling them to pick more level two options which may include arts, technologies, additional languages, additional humanities subjects and vocational subjects.

At A Level

Geography combines well with both arts and science subjects. Geography is highly valued by universities as an A Level choice. The Russell Group report (PDF) published in 2011 names geography as one of the eight facilitating subjects. This is a subject most likely to be required or preferred for entry to degree courses and choosing facilitating subjects will keep more options open to you at university.

At university level

Geography is a popular choice and there is strong competition for places. Statistics for employability consistently show that geography graduates are highly employable. The most recent HECSU report reflects this with geography graduates experiencing some of the lowest rates of unemployment of all graduates; coming only behind law and sports science compared to all other disciplines. This reflects both the flexibility that geographers have to gain entry to careers across a wide range of employment sectors and the success of geographers at the application and interview stage.

In terms of employment geographers work in such a wide range of sectors and roles that it is true to say that there is no such thing as a geography job, there are jobs that geographers do.  Employers seek a mixture of skills, qualifications and experience when they recruit for a post.

As a graduate (this is someone with a degree or university qualification) you will be in demand for your transferable skills such as being:

  • A good Communicator with strong presentation skills
  • Competent with ICT
  • Able to carry out research
  • Used to working effectively in a team and taking a variety of roles in a team
  • Able to manage your time by juggling commitments, meeting deadlines and managing stress
  • Good at combining information from a variety of sources with excellent writing skills

As well as the specific skills and understanding that being a geographer helps you to develop including:

  • Scientific and lab skills
  • Producing and interpreting maps
  • Research and interpretation of data Inc GIS
  • Debate and enquiry
  • Environmental and Social awareness
  • Team based project work
  • Fieldwork techniques

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