Leaving Certificate Geography Syllabus Higher and Ordinary Marian College

The New Leaving Certificate Geography Syllabus was first introduced to Fifth Years in 2004 and was first examined at State Examination Level in 2006. It has proved very popular with Marian College students and provides a good mix of theoretical and practical elements that challenge Higher and Ordinary Level students equally. Currently there are three Geography classes at Leaving Certificate Level.

The syllabus is divided into three Core Units, one Elective (Choice) and one Optional Unit (Higher Level only). Below is a brief synopsis of each Unit.

Core Units

Unit 1- Patterns and Processes in the Physical Environment

This Unit develops students understanding of the processes that shape our Physical landscape and how natural features are formed (e.g. cliff). The students will also examine how humans interact with these processes and landforms. Students apply theoretical knowledge to examples in the field; particularly features that are adjacent to the college environment.

Unit 2 Regional Geography

This Unit utilises the knowledge of Unit 1 and applies it to a place/region. The Unit also allows students to further explore the complex relationships between physical, human, economic and cultural environments (e.g. India). Students will study five regions here with two from the Irish Context, two European and one subcontinental. We will also examine how regions can range in their complexity and diversity (e.g. Climatic, Socio- economic & Cultural).

Unit 3 Geographical Skills and Investigation Unit.

This geographical skills investigation unit is compulsory and students in Marian College will complete two sample investigations in Fifth year to enhance their geographical skills (e.g. Map reading, sketch maps, analysis of field data etc.). In sixth year students then choose and complete their Geographical Investigation from the list of topics selected by the State Examinations Commission. This is usually completed in a fluvial or coastal environment that is accessible to the college. This section is worth twenty percent of the final examination.

Two Electives: (Choose one):

There are two electives in this section:

  • Patterns and Processes in the Human Environment
  • Patterns and Process in Economic Activities

In Marian College we study the Human elective that includes detailed investigations of two key areas; dynamics of population and dynamics of settlement. Key areas such as population structure, settlement patterns, migration and land use are all studied through the lens of examples in given regions and cities. We also study the scale of problems associated with the growth of urban centres (e.g. Dublin, Calcutta etc.).

Four Optional Units (Choose One)

This option is studied by Higher Level students only. There are four options and students study one option: Global Interdependence, Geoecology, Culture and Identity or The Atmosphere- Ocean Environment. In Marian College we study the Geoecology section or Culture and Identity as they relate to Unit One Patterns and Processes in the Physical Environment and the Human elective respectively. This section is in essay format.

Junior Cycle Geography

Geography is the study of the Earth’s landscapes, peoples, places, and environments. It adheres to the scientific method and pursues scientific principles and logic. The study of geography empowers the person to explore and understand the world around them. Engagement with the subject promotes a deep understanding of people and place. Students develop the skills to read their environment, enabling them to interpret the physical landscape, observe climatic events with an informed eye and discuss world events in a knowledgeable manner. Learning in geography supports students in making informed decisions, giving the ability to make valuable contributions to the economic, social, and cultural life of their communities, localities and countries.

Through the study of geography, students are encouraged to appreciate the processes that shape their world and view global issues as ethical citizens. Geography provides a platform to analyse world events, empowering young people as informed, active citizens. Studying geography enhances students’ ability to engage with issues such as sustainable development, economic systems, hazard management and climate change. The topics experienced help develop students’ awareness and understanding of cultural variations fostering a respect of difference.
Students are growing up in a globalised, dynamic world. Geography provides a medium to explore current events in our world. Students viewing events through a geographical lens are well placed to be part of a generation which can deal effectively with, and mitigate global challenges and rise to related opportunities.
The skills developed through the subject are transferrable and will benefit students in study and life. Geography encourages structured inquiry: this critical thinking involves students asking questions, gathering data, evaluating and interpreting, and presenting information. It encourages collaboration and communication with their peers and experts in other fields