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Leaving Certificate Geography is a varied and interesting course of study that introduces and develops students understanding of a broad range of concepts in geography. The course builds on student learning in Junior Cycle. There is a strong emphasis on physical, regional, and economic geography. The syllabus is divided into units. All students study the Core Units 1-3 and Elective Unit 4. Higher level students take a Higher Level Option. 


Core Unit 1   Patterns and Processes in the physical environment

This unit examines the relationship between the tectonic cycle, the rock cycle and the processes of landform development


Core Unit 2   Regional Geography

This unit examines how economic, human and physical processes interact in regional settings


Core Unit 3   Geographical Investigation and Skills

This unit encourages the development of skills in handling spatial information leading to the completion of an individual geographical investigation


The teaching and application of skills is integrated into each of the units where appropriate

•        Map and aerial photograph interpretation

•        Satellite imagery

•        Figure interpretation

•        Census of population data

•        Weather maps and data

The Geographical Investigation (GI) is a report based on a field study or other structured inquiry depending on the topics issued by the State Examinations Commission each December. The GI represents 20% of the Leaving Certificate grade and is competed usually towards the end of April in 6th year.


Elective Unit 4   Patterns and Processes in the Economic Environment

This unit examines patterns in economic development and the growth of a single interdependent global economy


H.L. Optional Unit 6 Global Interdependence
This unit examines the interdependent nature of global economic, social and political processes and challenges the differing views of development


Geographical Investigation 20%

Written Exam 80%

5th Year

Core Unit 1 of the NCCA Leaving Certificate Geography

Aspects of Core Unit 2 Regional Geography

Term 1






Term 2 & 3



Topic Skills

The Physical environment

Rivers OS maps

Internal Structure of the earth

Human interaction with river processes Investigation of case studies

Plate Tectonics

World map locations

River rejuvenation

Continental Drift


Coasts Drawing diagrams
Seafloor spreading Human interaction with coastal processes Photo interpretation
Plate boundaries Drawing diagrams Isostatic and eustatic processes
Earthquakes Weather charts + satellite images Analysis
Distribution, measurement, prediction, effects Statistics Regional Geography
Case studies Internet research Regions: climatic & geomorphic Statistics Climate graphs.
Volcanic activity Satellite photos Regions: administrative + cultural Atlas maps
Volcanoes: occurrence, products, prediction Atlas maps Boundary changes
Positive + negative effects of volcanic activity Internet research Socio-economic regions: cores + peripheries Statistical maps
Geothermal energy Socio-economic regions: industrial decline Graphs
Volcanic + plutonic landforms Aerial photos Sambre-Meuse valley, Belgium
Landforms created by earth movements EU funding for socio-economic regions
Classification of Rocks Rock identification Border Midlands West - an Irish peripheral region Statistics
Uses of Rocks Geological map Greater Dublin Area - an Irish core region inc. Dublin City
Mining/Quarrying Photo Interpretation Mezzogiorno, Italy - a peripheral region
OS Maps Cross Section. Sketch map Paris Basin, France - a core and city region Drawing sketch maps
Weathering Drawing diagrams Growth and impact of the EU Atlas maps. Statistics
Karst OS maps
Mass movement

Photo interpretation



6th Year

Elective Unit 4 Economic activities

Optional Unit 6 – Global Interdependence (Higher Level)
Geographical Investigation (20 per cent of the final examination)

Term 1 Term 2 & 3
Topic Skills Topic Skills
Geographical Investigation Decision making Group work. Using equipment Sketching Global Interdependence
Continental/Sub-Continental Region - India

Research, Atlas + sketch maps

Essay submission date TBD
The pattern of world trade, Fair Trade and EU trade Statistical maps
Economic Activities Interdependent global economy Internet research
Measuring economic development GDP/GNP/GNI vs HDI Statistics Deforestation, global warming & desertification Satellite photos. Statistics
Views of development (from Global Interdependence) Mock Exam Review
Changes in economic activity. Colonialism Cartoons. Statistics Sustainable development Statistics
Globalisation Debt, aid and empowerment Internet research
Multinational companies Internet research Fair trade and self-help Atlas maps. DVD
OS maps and photographs Interpretation & sketch maps Geographical investigation Completion of Final Report booklet. Analysis. Graphs.
EU policies and their influence on Ireland Internet research Migrants and human rights
Renewable and non-renewable energy resources DVD Revision Past paper questions
Economic activities and the environment Statistical analysis

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