top of page

Social Subjects with GEOGRAPHY


S3 geography introduces you to our changing world, its human interactions and physical processes. It is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.  
Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earth's surface and the human societies spread across it. You will develop the knowledge and skills to enable you to contribute to your local communities and wider society.  
The study of geography fosters positive life-long attitudes of environmental stewardship, sustainability and global citizenship.  
You will be able to link what you have learned in S2 with topics covered in the S3 course. This will be achieved through the study of the geological background of Scotland, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, urban environments and studying a global issue: Climate change.  

There is also a research project which prepares you for your assignment at National 4/5 level.  

You will also take part in a field trip to Aberdeen to conduct an urban study.  


S3 geography gives you opportunities to develop greater understanding of the places and communities in which we live and work and our natural environments and the pressures they face.  
S3 geography highlights how and why the world is changing, both globally and locally and how our individual and societal actions contribute to those changes as well as the choices that exist in managing our world for the future.  

The S3 course has variety of interesting and relevant topics such as urban environments, climate change and the hydrosphere – to name but a few.  


The course emphasises the development and application of skills. You will develop research skills by using information collected from a range of sources about geographical issues as well as use a range of mapping skills, including the use of Ordnance Survey maps.  

You will develop a range of fieldwork skills by participating in a class field trip as well as collect data independently for an assignment.  
From your field trips and data collection you will develop numeracy skills by gathering, using and interpreting a range of graphical information.  
You will gain experience in contributing to group work and working on their own through taking part in investigative and critical thinking activities.  


The S3 geography consists of a variety of different units: 


  • An Introduction to the rocks and landscape of Scotland 
    The geological background of Scotland spans over billions of years with a series of different plate tectonic events that have shaped the landscape we see today. In this unit you will study the formation of Scotland and how it produced the magnificent highlands and lowlands, the firths and the islands, the glens and lochs.  

  • The Hydrosphere 
    The hydrosphere is the liquid water component of the Earth. It includes the oceans, seas, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. You will learn about river processes that have shaped the face of the earth. You will study the hydrological cycle within a drainage basin and the interpretation of hydrographs.  

  • The power of Ice  
    The cryosphere is made up of all the frozen places on our planet like glaciers, continental ice sheets, permafrost, snow and ice. You will study how these features are formed as well as their erosional impact on the landscape. You will learn how people use glacial landscapes and look at potential implications for a future without ice.  

  • Climate change  
    Climate change is seen as the biggest international threat facing many nations. You will study how we can measure the past and present climate and explain both the physical and human factors that can cause the climate to change. You will study the potential consequences of climate change on the world and brainstorm potential solutions to prevent or slow down climate change.  

  • Urban environments 
    You will study the characteristics of land-use zones in cities in the developed world. You will also study recent developments in the CBD, inner city, rural/urban fringe in developed world cities. You will have the opportunity to take part in a field trip to Aberdeen to carry out an investigation to study the characteristics and developments within the city. You will also study megacities in both developed and developing countries.  


Research and numeracy skills 

Throughout the course you will enhance your research and numeracy skills by gathering data and processing it. You will also interpret numerical data from a variety of graphical sources. Throughout the units you will use map interpretation skills by studying a variety of maps such as the Ordnance survey map.  


Added value unit 

You will complete an added value unit at the end of the course in preparation for the National4/5 assignment next year.  


Outdoor learning 

You will have the opportunity to experience outdoor learning by visiting Aberdeen. Here you will have opportunities to use a variety of fieldwork techniques to collect data.  


Everything you need to know before selecting this course


Homework is given out throughout the course to consolidate the key areas of learning, to carry out research or to demonstrate the level of understanding from each topic studied.  

How you will be assessed

You will complete end of unit assessments which cover key Benchmarks.  

Pupils will take part in a research project where they will construct a report on a geographical topic.  

At the end of the year there will be a final assessment that will include different parts from each topic.  


Everything you need to know about future pathways from this course


Most careers will benefit from your experience in Geography however some jobs more closely related to the skills and knowledge developed include Petroleum Engineer, Geoscientist,  Meteorologist, Hydrologist, Urban planner, Armed forces, Pilot, National park ranger, Geologist, Conversation officer, GIS specialist, Farmer, Ecologist, Lecturer, Environmental Health Officer, Cartographer, Tour manager, Minerals Surveyor, Landscaper, Game keeper, Geography teacher, and Environmental Consultant/Manager. 


Skills developed through Geography:  

Problem Solving: 

working independently, resilience, time management, positive work ethic.  


leading groups, building confidence, organisational skills. You are required to complete coursework which demands you to take responsibility for your own learning and have a proactive, motivated attitude towards your studies.  


 working successfully in a group, delegation, presenting information.  


working with others, presenting findings, using clear and concise language.  

OS map skills:

using ordnance survey maps to identify a variety of physical and human features.  

S4 and beyond

Progression can be National Geography or National People and Society or 

Any National Social Subject 


Information from pupils who have studied this course as to how they feel it was.

Neve - S3

Geography is interesting because it informs you about the world. I really enjoyed learning about the past climate of the Earth and looking at the different methods scientists can measure the climate millions of years ago.  There is a lot of opportunity to work in groups which makes the lessons more fun and interesting.  

Compass Pointing North

Josh & Oliver - S3

There is a lot of relevant topics that apply to our future such as climate change. It is a more universal subject that provides skills that apply to most careers. It helps you understand your natural environment.  

Mountain and River
bottom of page