Geography International GCSE

Geography deals with the big themes that affect how we live. Study geography to develop skills in research and analysis, including map reading and field work. You will learn about the relationship between humankind and the planet we inhabit.



Course requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course, but you need to be able to read and write in English. This is an online course so you will also need access to the internet.

Duration of study

It's really up to you but, as a guide, a GCSE course takes about 120-150 hours plus extra time for assignment work you submit to your tutor. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 18 months from the date of enrolment.


This course follows specification 0460 from the awarding organisation CAIE (formally CIE). Full details of the specification can be obtained from CAIE's website.


Section 1 - Introductory skills
  • Map reading

Section 2 - Population
  • World population growth
  • Factors influencing natural change
  • Population structure
  • Population distribution and density
  • Migration
  • Population and resources

Section 3 - Settlement topics
  • Distribution and location of settlements
  • Settlement function
  • Urbanisation
  • Urban land use
  • Problems of urban growth
  • Environmental problems caused by urban growth

Section 4 - Tectonic processes
  • Why does the Earth's crust move?
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes

Section 5 - Geological processes
  • Rocks and weathering
  • Rivers
  • Coasts

Section 6 - Environmental processes
  • Weather
  • Climate
  • Ecosystems
  • Human use of ecosystems
  • Natural environments: benefits and hazards

Section 7 - Economic activity
  • Development and globalisation
  • Agricultural systems
  • Industry
  • Leisure activities and tourism

Section 8 - Resources
  • Food resources
  • Water resources
  • Energy resources: supply and demand
  • Alternative energy resources

Section 9 - Impact of economic development
  • Climate change
  • Economic development: advantages and disadvantages

Section 10 - Investigative skills
  • Investigative skills

Exams and assessment

Three exams:
  • 1 hour 45 minutes, 45% of marks
  • 1 hour 30 minutes, 27.5% of marks
  • 1 hour 30 minutes, 27.5% of marks

Non-exam assessment (NEA):
  • None


Assignments do not contribute towards your final grade but provide you with an opportunity to submit work to your tutor for marking and feedback. This will help you to gauge your progress as you work through the course.

This course has:
  • 1 introductory assignment
  • 10 assignments

Set texts and resources

Additional texts:
  • Essential Mapwork Skills 2, S Ross, Nelson Thornes 2007

Using learn@nec

Your course is delivered online through learn@nec, so it’s important that you have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend that your computer is using one of the following operating systems and browsers to improve your experience of using learn@nec:

Operating systems:
  • Windows 7 or later
  • Mac OSX 10.7 or later
  • Google Chrome OS
  • Android 4.4 or later, using the Chrome browser
  • iOS 6 or later, using the Safari browser

  • Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari 6 or later
  • Internet Explorer 10 or later (excluding IE11)

learn@nec may work on other operating systems and browsers with some restrictions. You can see full details of the system requirements by clicking here.

How to enrol

There are several ways to enrol with NEC:
  • Click the ‘Enrol now’ button above.
  • Telephone us on 0800 389 2839 or +44(0)1223 400200 and speak to our course advice team.
  • Ask us to send you an enrolment form which you can complete and return by post.

Paying in instalments

It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over monthly instalments with our finance offer. To pay in instalments you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative example:
Course fee:  
Amount of credit:  
Monthly payment:  
Duration of agreement:  
Total repayable:  
Rate of interest:  
0% APR representative.  
  6 months
  0% (fixed)

The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.

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Including area code and country code (if outside of UK)

What our students say...

Home study student Alice Neal completed four GCSEs and IGCSEs, including geography, with NEC, and said she enjoyed the versatility of distance learning as a method of study. “I liked the flexibility to study at my own pace so that I could do my GCSEs in a year,” she said. Alice achieved an A* and three As.