The Higher Geography programme was carefully developed in order to meet the requirements of Curriculum for Excellence. Led by our expert tutors in our field sites, students will gain transferable knowledge and skills.

All sessions will follow the geographical inquiry process and build on students’ geographical investigative skills.

The course will integrate key cross-curricular themes such as learning for sustainability and continue to build on the four capacities, placing students in an unfamiliar environment in which they work together to solve problems, take part in group presentations and positively impact on the environment.

GIS will be integrated into investigations, such as GPS to locate study areas and landscape features. We will also follow up investigations using GIS techniques such as GE Graph and Google Earth

Example Timetable

Day 1


Arrive Midday
  • Students greeted by FIeld Studies Council staff.
  • Welcome talk and Centre tour.
  • Pre-course meeting with FIeld Studies Council staff and teachers.
  • Allocation of wellies/waterproofs.


Physical Environments: Biosphere Soils

Introducing two soils, a brown earth and gley. At these exposures down a soil catena students will create soil profile sketches. We will also collect
environmental and vegetation data along a transect from the top of a local soil catena to the valley floor


Follow-up Session

The soils data will then be graphed and analysed in a follow up session, with the option of using a statistical test to help analyse the data.

Day 2


Coasts: Physical Characteristics and Geographical Skills

Students will collect data on beach characteristics (including beach shape and sediment size) and investigate how these change with distance along the shore. This geographical investigation will follow the process outlined Higher Geography assignment document.


Physical Environments: Lithosphere

Landform Mapping and Coasts Students will search for evidence of how the sea has shaped the landscape around Millport. This half day session gives students the chance to observe, describe, explain and map these erosional and depositional features.


Follow-up Session

Data will be graphed, and analysed using an appropriate statistical test (usually Pearson’s), conclusion drawn and the investigation evaluated.

Day 3

Morning and Afternoon

Human Urban change: Largs/Millport

Visiting either the island town of Millport or the mainland town of Largs, we will investigate how these places are changing. We will carry out a survey of retail outlets, and look at how these have changed over recent years, focusing on the increase in empty retail units since 2008 and the increase in chain stores (in Largs) through a ‘clone town study’. We could also undertake a pedestrian count and environmental survey, and discuss regeneration and management strategies and the impact of tourism on these communities.


Write up of Geographical Investigation

Students will be given the opportunity to write up their geographical investigation, focusing on writing up the introductory section (including identifying the geographical topic) and methods (how research was carried out (including map work and fieldwork).

Day 4


Write up of Geographical Investigation

This second session will focus on processing of data and graphing that data in different forms, including GIS, to allow students to later evaluate, analyse and synthesise information drawn from a range of sources. We will conclude with students summarising their notes in preparation for the Controlled Assessment aspect of the assignment.


Physical Environments: Hydrosphere Investigations

Whilst investigating elements of the hydrological cycle within the Firth of Clyde drainage basin, students will be introduced to storm hydrographs.
Fieldwork includes measuring interception rates, storm simulation plots and infiltration rates in different land uses and relating this to flood risk.


Write up of Geographical Investigation

Students will focus on drawing conclusions from the information collected during the geographical investigation, and will be given opportunities to integrate geographical knowledge and understanding of the topic into these conclusions

Day 5


Physical Environments: Lithosphere - rural and use conflict in a coastal environment

Using Ordnance Survey maps and GIS we will identify and discuss rural land use conflict, with a focus on which areas of the coast should be protected in the future and how this should be managed


Depart at midday
  • Review of the course.
  • Signposting further actions and opportunities with the FIeld Studies Council and beyond.
  • Final farewell from FIeld Studies Council staff.

Please note: to ensure safe and quality learning experiences for students, the timetable may alter depending on weather conditions and local factors at centres.

Added value of this course

Develop skills

  • Communication | Resilience | Independent thinking | Leadership
  • Numeracy | Literacy | Investigative skills | Observation

Enhance Knowledge

  • Ask questions.
  • Apply knowledge in the real world and make links.
  • Make sense of new places and understand our place and role within this.


  • Have fun | Make friendships | Connect with nature

Why Choose Field Studies Council?

  • Expert tuition by fully trained staff

  • Stunning locations across the UK

  • Outstanding curriculum knowledge

  • Rigorous health and safety procedures

  • Support before and after your visit

  • Free places for visiting staff