Geography is the study of people, their environment, and the interaction between the two. The course follows from Junior Certificate Geography, and covers very similar topics (such as rocks, soils, oceans, population movements, map-reading, and economic activities) in a lot more detail. There are a large number of optional sections on the course, allowing students to focus on the sections of the course which they like.

What kind of student might Geography suit?

  • Students considering further study in areas such as geography, economics, environmental science, or politics.
  • Students who achieved solid results for Junior Certificate Geography can expect much of the same for the Leaving Certificate course.

Course Overview

A new syllabus in Geography was brought in in 2006 and this is a very popular subject choice. Up to 20% of the final grade is achieved before sitting the actual examination by completing a report on a geographical investigation, this is a great advantage for students.

Course Content

The syllabus is divided into 4 main units. All students study the Core Units 1-3 and Elective Unit 4

Core Unit 1 – Patterns and processes in the physical environment
This unit examines the relationship between the tectonic cycle, the rock cycle and the processes of landform development.

Core Unit 2 – Regional geography
This unit examines how economic, human and physical processes interact in regional settings.

Core Unit 3 – Geographical investigation and skills
This unit encourages the development of skills in handling spatial information leading to the completion of an individual geographical investigation.

Elective Unit 4 – Patterns and processes in the economic environment
This unit examines patterns in economic development and the growth of a single interdependent global economy.

Higher Level

Students taking the Higher Level also study Optional Unit 6 Global Interdependence. This unit examines the interdependent nature of global economic, social and political processes and challenges the differing views of development

Geographical Skills

The teaching and application of skills is integrated into each of the units where appropriate

  • Map and aerial photograph interpretation
  • Satellite imagery
  • Figure interpretation
  • Census of population data
  • Weather maps and data

Exam Structure

Leaving Certificate Geography is assessed at Ordinary and Higher level in ascending order of difficulty. There are two assessment components:

  • Written Examination (80%)
  • Geographical Investigation Report (20%)

Students complete two questions on the core units, one question on an elective unit, and one question on an optional unit.

Subject content:

  • Patterns and processes in the physical environment
  • Regional geography
  • Geographical investigation

Two Elective Units (pick one)

  • Patterns and processes in economic activities
  • Patterns and processes in the human environment

Four Optional Units (pick one; higher level only):

  • Global interdependence
  • Geoecology
  • Culture and identity
  • The Atmosphere-Ocean environment

The teaching of geographical skills is an important element of the course; students are encouraged to improve their ability to gather information (from map-reading, statistics, charts), present information (using diagrams, maps, and writing), and evaluate information (separate fact from opinion, make informed judgements, propose sensible solutions to problems). These skills are assessed in the Geographical Investigation.

Career Possibilities

Geography can be studied at third level as a Science subject, or as an Arts subject.

It is useful in a wide variety of careers such:

  • Cartography
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Town Planning
  • Environmental Science
  • Engineering
  • Travel/Ttourism
  • Meteorology/Weather Forecasting
  • Global/Development Work