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From coastlines to global crises

Welcome to Geography at RIC, where we unravel the planet's complexities and make the intricate understandable. As Michael Palin said, "Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future." Here at RIC, we embrace this, looking ahead to the future while learning valuable lessons from the past and present.

Creating sustainable coastal management strategies in the UK? We’re on it. Understanding whether human impact in fragile environments is intrinsically negative? That’s the kind of questions we ask. Geography at RIC is all about diving into the deep questions and coming up with real-world solutions.

Our dynamic discipline constantly evolves, reflecting the ever-changing world around us. We explore how technological advancements and social upheavals shape the interaction between people and their environments. Geographers think holistically about social, economic, and physical issues to tackle global concerns.

From pondering whether the most deprived societies benefit more from aid or trade, to debating our moral duty to preserve genetic diversity amidst environmental destruction, we cover it all. As Doreen Massey puts it, "Geography matters because it opens up the world to us." So, join us at RIC, where we make sense of the data, address pressing issues like global warming and the development gap, and prepare to shape the future of our planet.


Exam Specifications


80% exams 20% coursework 

3 x 2 hrs 15 minutes.

An issues-based approach to studying geography, enabling students to explore and evaluate contemporary geographical questions and issues such as the consequences of globalisation, responses to hazards, water insecurity and climate change.

Topic 1: Tectonic Processes and Hazards 
Topic 2B: Coastal Landscapes and Change Topic 3: Globalisation
Topic 4A: Regenerating Places
Topic 5: The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity
Topic 6: The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security.
Topic 7: Superpowers
Topic 8: 8A Health, Human Rights and Intervention or 8B Migration, Identity and Sovereignty

Students will also complete an independent coursework investigation focused around a specific geographical issue. This will enable them to plan and carry out fieldwork and data collection and present, analyse and evaluate data to reach their own valid and supported conclusions. This coursework will be internally assessed and will constitute 20% of the overall qualification.

The specification content gives students the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of physical and human geography, the complexity of people and environment questions and issues, and to become critical and reflective learners.

Students gain understanding of specialised concepts relevant to the core and non-core content. These include the concepts of causality, systems, equilibrium, feedback, inequality, representation, identity, globalisation, interdependence, mitigation and adaptation, sustainability, risk, resilience and thresholds.

Students will also become confident and competent in selecting, using and evaluating a range of quantitative and qualitative skills and approaches, including observing, collecting and analysing (using mathematics and statistics) a range of data.


72.5% examination (papers 1 & 2)

27.5% coursework

Paper 1 (Geographical Themes) = 1 hour 45 minutes

Paper 2 (Geographical Skills) = 1 hour 30 minutes

Unit 1: Geographical Themes

Students will study three core themes, each encompassing a range of geographical topics and issues.

Population and settlement – This unit investigates the factors that affect population growth and decline and the impacts of over and under population on countries at contrasting levels of development. It also looks at the ways in which population structures change over time and how these changes can influence the size, function and location of different settlement types, as well as the problems this can cause and the ways in which these issues can be sustainably managed.

The natural environment – This unit looks at various aspects of physical geography including;

Plate tectonics

Marine and river processes

Weather and climate

For each of these topics students investigate the physical processes that shape the natural environment as well as the ways in which human actions and the natural environment interact and their associated impacts.

Economic development and the use of resources – This unit looks as various aspects of human geography including;

Agricultural systems

Industry and technology

Leisure and tourism

Energy and water resources

Resource conservation & management

For each of these topics students will investigate the ways in which economic development is affected by both human and natural processes, and the impacts these interactions have at a range of scales. They also consider the various ways in which these resources and activities can be sustainably managed.

Unit 2: Geographical Skills

This unit develops students’ core geographical skills including map reading, interpreting and creating basic and complex graphs, analysis of geographical data and responding to written and visual sources. This unit will not require specific information of place as specific resources will be provided in the exam where one question is based on a 1:25 000 or 1:50 000 topographical map of a tropical area such as Zimbabwe, the Caribbean or Mauritius.


This unit allows students to investigate a geographical issue as set by the exam board and selected by their subject tutor. Students attend a compulsory field trip to carry out fieldwork and data collection and use their findings to produce a 2000 word report, which is worth 27.5% of their overall iGCSE grade. This coursework will be assessed on the following criteria:

Knowledge and understanding of geographical concepts (12 marks)
Observation and data collection (12 marks)
Organisation of data and presentation of data (12 marks)
Analysis of data (12 marks)
Conclusion and evaluation (12 marks)

Curious about Geography?


"Prisoners of Geography: Ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about Global Politics" by Tim Marshall (2016) explains how the USA became a superpower, why some countries go to war, why are some areas rich or poor, why are some countries more globalised than others, and helps you gain insight to the complex geopolitical play field.

"There is no planet B: A handbook for the make or break years" by Mike Berners-Lee (2019) provides an 'entertaining and accessible' book filled with intriguing facts and analysis into the complex economic- environmental challenges faces today, combined with inspiring solutions.

Online An online magazine from the Royal Geographical Society with various news, articles and competitions.

https://www.nationalgeographic... - A well known online magazine with news and articles about topical and historical geographical issues - Scientific and climate change news and articles - a range of interesting articles and blogs about the use of geographical intelligence and GIS to address global concerns and shown the importance of GIS in the workplace

Listen - Although this business page, it also includes a variety of topical discussions which include ‘Fast Growing Mozambique’, ‘Paris Climate Pact: Corporate Winners and Losers’ ‘Gold and Oil in Ghana’, ‘California: Fruits, Nuts and Drought’ and ‘The Economics of Migration’.

This includes analysis from BBC Correspondents about various stories in the news. - a wide range of podcasts from a variety of world leading thinkers. - The Inquiry is a BBC based podcast which explores questions from recent news events. - looks at stories behind the news agenda

Watch - Geography Now! Is a series of short 15-20 minute videos about the geography of counties from A-Z - Time for Geography - a wide range of geographical videos about various processes and theories