Geography Higher

Course Outline 

The course is made up of three units: 

Unit 1: Physical Environments
• Atmosphere: global atmosphere and climate
• Biosphere: natural vegetation change, ecosystems and soil types
• Hydrosphere: global water cycle with detailed study of river features
• Lithosphere: selected British landscapes and their formation

Unit 2: Human Environments
• Population: population structure, migration and change
• Rural: land-use change and management
• Urban: change and management in LEDCs and MEDCs

 Unit 3: Global Issues
• River Basin Management: case study of a major river management scheme
• Development and Health: world case studies of development, health and disease

Course Assessment

The course assessment will consist of a question paper and an assignment and will be graded A-D.

The question paper for Higher Geography will be worth 160 marks. It will be carried out under exam conditions and marked by SQA. It will test knowledge, understanding and skills with greater emphasis on knowledge and understanding.

For the assignment, pupils will research a topic in class and at home. They will then write up a report under exam conditions and this will be sent to the SQA to be externally marked. It is worth 30 marks.


There will be regular homework in the form of exam style questions, and also the revision of course notes and class work.

Entry Requirements

Pupils should have attained, or expect to attain, a pass at National 5 in Geography or another Social Subject. A pass at National 5 in English is advantageous.

Pupils that do not have these entry requirements are welcome to discuss choices with Mr. J McAuley.

Progression Path

Pupils who achieve a Higher pass (ideally a grade A or B) at the end of S5 are encouraged to take Advanced Higher Geography in S6.

Additional Information

Geography is a ‘bridge’ between the Arts and Sciences and Higher Geography is recognised as a valuable qualification by universities. A background in Geography is also useful in a wide range of careers, including work in environmental sciences, civil engineering, marketing and design, tourism, surveying, planning and architecture, teaching, conservation, transport, the civil service, agriculture, geophysics and many other career paths.

For further information please contact Mr McAuley, PT Geography.