General Information

Geography is the study of the world around us, focusing on how and why natural features and phenomes occur, alongside investigating the many different ways humans have interacted with and influenced our planet.  It’s a lot more interesting than just learning countries and flags!

Geography is an incredibly useful subject due to the diverse nature of what we look at.  Within the course we cover a wide range of transferable skills including: literacy, numeracy, problem solving, analytical thinking, research, communication and teamwork, to name but a few.  Geographers in particular become accustomed to looking at scenarios across different scales, not only with maps, but also when looking at the different ways humans have impacted our world on a local, national and international scale.

In terms of careers, geography is an important subject if you intent to work within sectors such as: cartography, conservation, town planning, environmental consultation, landscape architecture, farming, geographical information systems, decision making or management.

Course Structure

All pupils in S1-3 at Farr High School have 1.5 periods of geography each week.  The S1 course introduces Curriculum of Excellence’s (CfE) Level 3 experiences and outcomes, with learners working up to Level 4 by the end of S3.  (See below for list of topics covered in each year.)

In the senior phase (S4-6), pupils have the option of choosing to study geography as a CfE Qualification (awarded by the SQA).  Geography courses are offered at National 3, 4 and 5, as well as Higher and Advanced Higher level.  (See below for further details).


S1 – 3 Topics

                    S1                       S2                     S3

·         Atlas & Mapping Skills

·         Rocks vs Water

·         Rocks vs Ice

·         Environmental Issues

·         Settlements

·         Energy Sustainability



·         Weather & Climate

·         Population Changes

·         Levels of Development

·         Spread of Diseases

·         Natural Regions

·         Transport



·         Farming

·         Volcanoes & Tsunamis

·         Globalisation & Trade

·         Water Supply

·         Local Fieldwork

·         Climate Change



National 3, 4 and 5

These National courses are divided up into three units, which are then further split into topics:

  • Physical Environments
    • Glaciation
    • Coasts
    • Weather
  • Human Environments
    • Population
    • Urban
    • Rural
  • Global Issues
    • Environmental Hazards
    • Health

For the National 3 and 4 qualifications there are 3 unit assessments across the year, but there is no external exam.  Learners must also complete a geographical research project.  The course is graded Pass or Fail.

At National 5 level, learners will sit an external exam in May lasting 2 hours 20 minutes.  In addition they must also complete a geography research project and write up their results under exam conditions (usually in February).



The Higher Geography course comprises of four sections:

  • Physical Environments
    • Atmosphere
    • Glaciation/Coasts
    • Hydrosphere
    • Biosphere
  • Human Environments
    • Population
    • Urban
    • Rural
  • Global Issues
    • Climate Change
    • Development and Health
  • Application of Geographical Skills.

In May, Higher candidates will sit an exam lasting 2 hours 15 minutes.  In addition they must also complete a geography research project and write up their results under exam conditions (usually in February).


Advanced Higher

The Advanced Higher course is split into two units:

  • Geographical Skills
  • Geographical Issues.

The structure of this course is very different from the National or Higher course, as there is a much greater emphasis on you working individually to complete folio pieces.

In addition to the exam (which takes place in May), learners must also complete two folio pieces:

  • Geographical Study (learners conduct their own geographical research)
  • Geographical Issus (critically evaluating a geographical issue)

The folio accounts for two-thirds of the final grade.