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Geography A Level


A level Geography

From coastal landscapes to human rights, A level Geography will provide you with observational and analytical skills to take into a wide range of higher education or career opportunities.

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Studying A level Geography will give you a deeper understanding of the world around you. This innovative course is packed with interactive activities, tips for field work and tutor-marked assignments to give you the best chance of success.

Why study A level Geography?

From Arctic tundra and volcanoes to urban landscapes and human habitats, this course has been designed by subject experts to introduce you natural wonders both far-flung and in your local area, and how we as humans interact with the world. This A level course has been designed to give you context around sociological inequality, climate change and human rights through a geographical lens.

As a subject, geography opens up and informs a wide range of career fields and jobs including:

  • Teaching
  • Law
  • Sociology
  • Human rights advocacy
  • Climate change and environmentalism
  • Oceanography
  • Travel and tourism
  • Photography
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Urban development
  • Politics

Course content

Section 1 Coastal landscapes

  • Topic 1 The coastal landscape as a physical system
  • Topic 2 Processes in coastal landform development
  • Topic 3 Coastal landforms
  • Topic 4 Coastal case studies
  • Topic 5 Coastal landforms and climate change
  • Topic 6 Managing coastal landscape systems
  • Topic 7 Effect of economic development on coastal landscape systems
  • Section 1 Fieldwork
  • Assignment 1

Section 2 Earth’s life support systems

  • Topic 1 The water cycle
  • Topic 2 The carbon cycle
  • Topic 3 Water and carbon cycles in the tropical rainforest
  • Topic 4 Water and carbon cycles in the Arctic tundra
  • Topic 5 Changes in the water and carbon cycles over time
  • Topic 6 Managing the global water and carbon cycles
  • Section 2 Fieldwork
  • Assignment 2

Section 3 Changing spaces; making places

  • Topic 1 What is a place?
  • Topic 2 Perceptions of place
  • Topic 3 Social inequality
  • Topic 4 Social inequality: two case studies
  • Topic 5 Who influences economic change?
  • Topic 6 Making a place
  • Section 3 Fieldwork
  • Assignment 3

Fieldwork assignment

  • Fieldwork assignment

Investigative geography: NEA

  • Topic 1 Planning, purpose and introduction
  • NEA Proposal submission
  • Topic 2 Data collection and sampling
  • Topic 3 Data presentation techniques
  • Topic 4 Data analysis and explanation
  • Topic 5 Conclusions and investigation evaluation
  • Topic 6 Overall quality and communication
  • NEA submission

Section 4 Global migration

  • Topic 1 Global migration patterns
  • Topic 2 Factors influencing global migration
  • Topic 3 Migrant flow corridors and interdependence
  • Topic 4 Unequal migration flows
  • Assignment 4

Section 5 Human rights

  • Topic 1 What are human rights?
  • Topic 2 Women’s rights
  • Topic 3 Global governance of human rights
  • Topic 4 Human rights and development
  • Assignment 5

Section 6 Climate change 1

  • Topic 1 Earth’s dynamic climate
  • Topic 2 Industrialisation and the global climate
  • Topic 3 The climate change debate
  • Assignment 6

Section 7 Climate change 2

  • Topic 1 Climate modelling
  • Topic 2 Implications of climate change
  • Topic 3 Mitigation and adaptation strategies
  • Topic 4 The geopolitics of tackling climate change
  • Assignment 7

Section 8 Hazardous earth 1

  • Topic 1 Theories of continental drift and plate tectonics
  • Topic 2 Features and processes at plate boundaries
  • Topic 3 Variety of volcanic activity
  • Topic 4 Hazards from volcanic eruptions
  • Topic 5 Variety of earthquake activity
  • Topic 6 Hazards from earthquakes
  • Assignment 8

Section 9 Hazardous earth 2

  • Topic 1 Human impact of volcanic eruptions
  • Topic 2 Human impact of earthquake activity
  • Topic 3 Strategies to manage hazards from volcanic activity
  • Topic 4 Strategies to manage hazards from earthquakes
  • Topic 5 Hazardous earth: change over time
  • Assignment 9

What you need to know

Exam board

  • OCR A level Geography H481


  • Online learning with tutor-marked assignments


  • Complete at your own pace
  • Approx. 250-300* hours plus time for completing assignments

*The specification suggests that 300 hours is needed. You’ll also need time to complete assignments and prepare yourself for exams and some courses like English literature involve a lot of reading. Everyone is different so it’s impossible to say with certainty how long a course will take you, but you should expect to spend longer than 300 hours. Taken across the length of time we recommend, this equates to approximately 5 hours per week. This will increase if you choose to take it over a shorter time frame or may be less if you are retaking a subject and have covered a lot of of the course content.


  • 11 assignments (one introductory) – these do not contribute towards your final grade


Barker, D et al (2021) OCR A level Geography (3rd edition), London: Hodder Education ISBN: 978-1-3983-1257-9
An e-book version is provided as part of the course, but you may want to buy your own hard copy if you would find that easier to work with.


  • Internet access
  • Computer operating system and browser to support learn@nec

What's included?

Our course fees are clear and transparent to help you plan for any additional costs.

Your course fee includes:

  • 24/7 access to learn@nec platform and resources
  • Expertly designed online course materials (including ebook versions of textbooks where specified) that you need to complete the course
  • Support from our Student Services team
  • Structured assignments carefully designed to prepare you for exams
  • Guidance from your tutor for up to 24 months from your date of enrolment
  • Extensive feedback to all assignments that will support your learning
  • NEA (coursework) marking and authentication
  • Marking for one examination paper (from a previous year)
  • Guaranteed exam place
  • NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
  • Time planner template to help you plan your study timetable
  • Information on how to apply for exams

Your course fee does not cover:

  • Any fees in relation to exam entries or assessments
  • Centre Assessment Grades (CAG) in the event of exam cancellation
  • Recommended textbooks for additional reading or set texts

If you need more support, you can purchase:

  • Online tutorials – if you need help with a specific topic you can arrange a 30 minute or 1 hour tutorial
  • Additional past paper marking – to help with your exam preparation
  • Revision tutorial –  to plan your revision and explore revision techniques
  • Help with your UCAS application service

For further information on additional/optional support you can purchase, please visit our additional services page.

Exams and assessment

Assessment is by examination (80%) and non-examination assessment (NEA, 20%).

  • Paper 1: Physical systems (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Paper 2: Human interactions (1 hour 30 minutes)
  • Paper 3: Geographical debates (2 hour 30 minutes)

Non-exam assessment

Unlike other NEC assignments, your NEA will count towards your final grade. Your tutor will mark your final submission, and then your work is internally moderated (double checked by another assessor), before finally being submitted to the awarding body for external moderation. This ensures that the marking is thorough and fair. You can find more information here.

Additional support if you are under 18

We know that our younger students often need an extra helping hand with their studies. In our experience learning online works best when either a parent or guardian are involved. This is why NEC has developed our unique Progress Tracker to help you to support your child.

NEC’s Progress Tracker will allow you to easily track your child’s progress across their subjects and gain insight to how well they are doing through access to their assignment grades and tutor feedback.

Read more about how we work with young students who are studying at home or through a school.

Arrange a call back with a member of our Course Advice Team.

Would you like to talk to our Course Advice Team about the best route for you? Visit our Contact Us page, fill in the form and a member of the team will get back to you!