What is Geography?


Geography is essentially the study of the inter-relationships between human and physical environments, impacts of people on places and places on people. The world is its field of study. Geography is powerful, important and necessary now and for the future. That’s what school geography is about at St Mary's – it is that big and that important and utterly necessary.

Switch on your television, listen to the radio or pick up a newspaper and the environment seems to be top of everyone’s agenda. We are bombarded with facts and figures relating to the need for energy conservation and climate change. For instance, did you know that:

  • each person in Northern Ireland uses an average of 145 litres of water per day;

  • every household in the UK generates around six tonnes of carbon dioxide every year; and

  • UK households are wasting approximately £979 million worth of energy per year by leaving gadgets and appliances unnecessarily on standby.

Department Staff

Mrs R Kidd (Head of Department)
Miss O McCann
Mrs R Murphy

Mrs S O’Hara

Mrs S Barry

Mrs M Leonard

Sustainability is the buzz word of the 21st century. The study of geography helps students have a clearer understanding of this important world issue. Geography is the study of the earth’s landscapes, peoples, places and environments – both its physical features and its political and cultural characteristics. Geographers work to examine and solve issues like those above by looking at:

  • patterns on the earth and the processes that created them;

  • how places differ from one another;

  • the impact of people on the environment;

  • the sources and impact of pollution; and

  • strategies for environmental protection and restoration.

Geography involves a synthesis of facts, figures, ideas and perspectives to help us understand and protect the world we live in. By studying geography, students learn about important contemporary issues like global warming, desertification, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, groundwater pollution and flooding.



All students in years 8-10 receive timetabled classes of geography every week.

Year 8

  • It's Geography!

  • Mapping and Making Connections

  • Our Global Connection with Nigeria

  • Settlement

  • Rivers

  • Our Restless Planet

Year 9

  • People and the Planet

  • Coasts

  • Weather and Climate

  • Ecosystems

  • Crime

Year 10

  • Development

  • Close up on China

  • Global Fashion Industry

  • Coffee Break

  • Tourism

  • Development

KS3 Textbooks


Unit 1: Understanding Our Natural World

Theme A: River Environments

  • The Drainage Basin: a Component of the Water Cycle

  • River Processes and Landforms

  • Sustainable Management of Rivers

Theme C: Our Changing Weather and Climate

  • Measuring the elements of the weather

  • Factors affecting Climate

  • Weather systems affecting the British Isles

  • The Impacts of extreme weather events on people and property

Theme B: Coastal Environments

  • Coastal Processes and Landforms

  • Sustainable Management of Coasts

Theme D: The Restless Earth

  • Plate Tectonic Theory

  • Basic Rock Types

  • Managing Earthquakes

  • Volcanoes characteristics and consequences

Unit 2: Living In Our World

Theme A: People and Where They Live

  • Population Growth, Change and Structure

  • Causes and Impacts of Migration

Theme C: Contrasts in World Development

  • The Development Gap

  • Sustainable Solutions to problems of Unequal Development

  • Globalisation Problems

Theme B: Changing Urban Areas

  • Urban Land Use

  • Issues affecting inner city areas in MEDC's

  • Urbanisation in MEDC's and LEDC's

Theme D: Managing Our Environment

  • The human impact on the environment

  • Strategies to manage our resources

  • Sustainable Tourism

Unit 3: Fieldwork

The Geographical Enquiry Process

Planning (Including aims and hypotheses)

Fieldwork Techniques and Methods

Processing and Presenting Data

Analysing and Interpreting Data

Drawing Conclusions

Evaluating Fieldwork

Get your hands on this revision guide for the course. Available at WH Smith and Amazon.

Links with CEIAG

What Are You Going to Do With a Degree in Geography?

There are many career opportunities for students who study geography in college. This page provides answers to the age-old question, "What are you going to do with a degree in geography?"

While a common question of those who are studying geography is, "What are you going to do with a degree in geography?" there are actually many options and potential careers for geography majors. Geography is a major that teaches students a wide-range of useful skills for the marketplace. Employers value the wide-ranging computer, research, and analytical skills that geography students bring to work as employees. When job-hunting, it's important to stress these skills you've gained during college.

While there aren't many job titles that are "geographer," there are many types of positions that fit well with a degree in geography. Think about some of the options below as you begin your job search.

Be sure to get placements in any area of interest to get your foot in the door and gain valuable on-the-job experience. Your CV will be much more impressive if you have real world experience in the areas you're applying for.

Urban Planner/Community Development

Geography is a natural tie-in with urban or city planning. City planners work on zoning, land use, and new developments, from a gas station renovation to the development of whole new sections of urban area. You'll work with individual property owners, developers, and other officials. If you're interested in this area, be sure to take urban geography and urban planning classes. An internship with a city planning agency is essential experience for this type of work.


For those with cartography course backgrounds may enjoy work as a cartographer. The news media, book publishers, atlas publishers, government agencies and others are looking for cartographers to help produce maps. This would likely require relocation.

GIS Specialist

City governments, county agencies, and other government agencies and private groups are often in need of experienced GIS professionals. Coursework and internships in GIS are especially important. Computer programming or engineering skills are very helpful in this arena - the more about computers and languages you know, the better off you are.


Agencies like the National Weather Service, news media, the Weather Channel, and other government entities occasionally need climatologist. Admittedly, these jobs usually go to those with meteorology degrees, a geographer with experience and vast coursework in meteorology and climatology would definitely be an asset.

Transportation management

Like urban and city planning, there are opportunities in local government but regional transit authorities or shipping, logistics, and transportation companies look kindly to someone with transportation geography in their background and good computer and analytical skills.

Environmental Management

A plethora of environmental assessment, cleanup, and management companies exist throughout the world today. A geographer brings excellent skills for project management and the development of reports like environmental impact reports. It's often a wide-open field with tremendous growth opportunities.



Becoming a high school or university geography instructor requires additional education beyond your undergraduate degree but it would certainly be rewarding to instil your love of geography with future geographers. Becoming a geography professor will allow you to research the world of geography and add to the body of knowledge developed by geographers.

Emergency Management

Emergency management is an under-explored field for geographers. Geography majors make great emergency managers. They understand the interactions between humans and the environment, know about hazards and earth processes, and can understand maps. Add in a bit of political acumen and leadership skills and you have a great emergency manager. Get started in this field by taking hazard courses in geography, geology, and sociology and intern with a local emergency management agency or the Red Cross.


For the population geographer who loves demographic data, what can be more rewarding than becoming a demographer and working for state or federal agencies to help develop population estimates and present data? The U.S. Census Bureau is one of the few entities that actually has a position titled "Geographer." Interning in a local planning agency will help in this area.


Along a similar vein of demography, marketing is a good career for those interested in taking demographic information and getting the word out to those who match the demographics you're searching for. This is one of the more glamorous arenas a geographer can get involved in.

Librarian/Information Scientist

Your research skills as a geographer apply particularly well to work as a librarian. If you want to help people navigate the world of information, this is a potential career for you.

National Park Service Ranger

Are you a physical geographer who needs to be outside and couldn't even consider working in an office? Perhaps a career in the National Park Service is right up your alley?


Real Estate Agent

Real estate appraisers develop an opinion of value for a specific piece of property. The work involves research into appropriate market areas, the assemblage of pertinent data, and the use of various analytical techniques to provide an opinion that reflects all pertinent market evidence. This multidisciplinary field incorporates aspects from geography, economics, finance, environmental planning, and law. A solid foundation in geography is essential to a real estate appraiser’s success and typical appraisal tools include aerial photos, topographic maps, GIS, and GPS.

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