Geography is a dynamic subject that is grounded in the real world and deals with some of the major concerns of our time, so students will be studying key contemporary issues like poverty, climate change, globalisation, geopolitical issues and loss of biodiversity. Geographers focus on the interactions between individuals, societies and the physical environment in both time and space, so we will explore these ideas by looking at the challenges facing communities who live for example in urban environments, and in zones of conflict, such as the coastal margins. Geography is about identifying trends and patterns in these interactions and examining the processes behind them. We also investigate the way people adapt and respond to change and evaluate management strategies associated with change. Central to this is a consideration of different perspectives, economic circumstances and cultural diversity.
The answers to the broad and complex questions faced by geographers require the use of approaches from various fields. We call this a holistic approach. Geographers are good at seeing how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. In Geography we aim to develop an international understanding and to help foster a concern for global issues. This subject encourages students to appreciate our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interconnected world, and to develop the values and attitudes to help them reach a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve some of these issues. This is why you will find geographers working in international development agencies, resource management, politics, business and environmental agencies.
The course aims to introduce students to the big themes of World Geography. Students complete three units under the Core Topic of Global Change. These are:
- Changing Population
- Global Climate – Vulnerability and Resilience
- Global Resource Consumption and Security
Students gain an understanding of the major movements of population around the world and the factors contributing to inequalities in wealth and other measures of development. Methods of studying population are introduced and the issues concerning the growth and decline of national populations are discussed. Initiatives such as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are used to assess human progress. The threats posed by climate change will be analysed, so will the strategies that mitigate and adapt against such challenges. Resource production and consumption patterns are studied and concepts such as ‘ecological footprint’ investigated as methods of measuring the impact of consumption. Understanding climate change, soil degradation and patterns of water scarcity and quality form the basis of environmental studies in the Geography course.
Students are challenged to use the most recent sources and case studies to support their understandings of the themes and the full range of multimedia resources are used to highlight examples.
HL Geography students must study any three optional themes. For SL students, the study of any two optional themes is required.
- Freshwater: issues and conflicts
- Oceans and their coastal margins
- Extreme environments
- Hazards and disasters: risk assessment and response
- Leisure, sport and tourism
- The geography of food and health
- Urban environments
The HL extension theme focuses on the global interactions, flows and exchanges arising from the disparities that exist between places. It presents important and contestable geographic issues of change in space and time for the HL student to question. This part of the syllabus is divided into three topics relating to global interactions. Each topic has a conceptual base that is developed through the content.
- Power, places and networks
- Human development and diversity
- Global risks and resilience
Candidates for both Standard Level and Higher Level undertake one piece of fieldwork, which is internally assessed and externally moderated by the International Baccalaureate Organisation. Students are expected to collect data on a topic related to the course and complete an individual structured report. Data collection and collation is usually done as a class group. The local area provides a host of easily assessable sites for fieldwork covering both Physical and Human Geography topics. This is a major focus of the Geography course and emphasis is placed on learning fieldwork techniques and conducting primary research, linked to theory.
The IB Geography course provides students with an understanding of the systems and interactions, which are fundamental in coming to terms with change in the world. While the scope of the course is broad, students are grounded in Geography theory and skills. The dynamic nature of World Geography ensures that the course is always exciting and relevant.