Geography is a dynamic subject that is firmly grounded in the real world and focuses on the interactions between individuals, societies and the physical environment in both time and space. It seeks to identify trends and patterns in these interactions and examines the processes behind them. It also investigates the way that people adapt and respond to change and evaluates management strategies associated with such change. Geography describes and helps to explain the similarities and differences between spaces and places. These may be defined on a variety of scales and from a range of perspectives.

Within Group III subjects, geography is distinctive in that it occupies the middle ground between social sciences and natural sciences. The Diploma Program geography course integrates both physical and human geography, and ensures that students acquire elements of both scientific and socio‑economic methodologies. Geography takes advantage of its position between both these groups of subjects to examine relevant concepts and ideas from a wide variety of disciplines. This helps students develop an appreciation of, and a respect for, alternative approaches, viewpoints and ideas.

The geography course embodies global and international awareness in several distinct ways. It examines key global issues, such as poverty, sustainability and climate change. It considers examples and detailed case studies at a variety of scales, from local to regional, national and international. Throughout the course, teachers have considerable flexibility in their choice of examples and case studies to ensure that Diploma Program geography is a highly appropriate way to meet the needs of all students, regardless of their precise geographical location. Inherent in the syllabus is a consideration of different perspectives, economic circumstances and social and cultural diversity.

Geography seeks to develop international understanding and foster a concern for global issues as well as to raise students’ awareness of their own responsibility at a local level. Geography also aims to develop values and attitudes that will help students reach a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interconnected world.

OSC’s geography courses take advantage of OSC’s location in Sri Lanka. Whenever possible, examples and case studies will be drawn from our local situations and many of the case studies and field trips will focus on local issues that have larger global relevance. We are also in a unique position to train students in Global Information Systems (GIS). Although this is not part of the IB syllabus it is a critical geographic tool and you will benefit from skills learned in this segment of the class.

Nagel, Garett and Briony Cooke. Geography Course Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.
Companion Website.

Christopherson, Rober W. Elemental Geosystems. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.
Codrington, Stephen. Planet Geography. Sydney: Solid Star Press, 2007. Print.
Guinness, Paul. Geography for the IB Diploma (Patterns and Change and Global Interactions). Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2011. Print.
Waugh, David. Geography: An Integrated Approach. Walton-On-Thames Surrey: Thomas Nelson &Sons, 2009. Print.


PART I: GEOGRAPHICAL SKILLS (p.16-18 in Geography Guide 2011)
  • Locate and differentiate elements of the earth’s surface
  • Interpret, analyze and when appropriate construct tables, graphs, diagrams, cartographic material and images
  • Read, Interpret, analyze and produce maps
  • Undertake statistical calculations to show patterns and summarize information
  • Research, process and interpret data and information.
  • Collect and select relevant geographic information.
  • Evaluate sources of geographic information
  • Produce written material (including essays, reports and investigations)

1. Populations in Transition
  • Population change (5 hours)
  • Responses to high & low fertility (4 hours)
  • Movement responses-migration (6 hours)
  • Gender and change (4 hours)

2. Disparities in Wealth and Development
  • Measurements of regional and global disparities (3 hours)
  • Origin of disparities (3 hours)
  • Disparities and change (5 hours)
  • Reducing disparities (5 hours)

3. Patterns in environmental quality & sustainability
  • Atmosphere and change (4 hours)
  • Soil and change (4 hours)
  • Water and change (5 hours)
  • Biodiversity and change (3 hours)
  • Sustainability and the environment (3 hours)

4. Patterns in resource consumption
  • Patterns of resource consumption (4 hours)
  • Changing patterns in energy consumption (2+6 hours)
  • Conservation strategies (4 hours)

PART III: OPTIONAL THEMES (total of 120 Hours for HL/ 60 hours for SL)
Section A

A Freshwater-issues and conflicts

B. Oceans and their coastal margins
C. Extreme environments (cold, high-altitude and hot etc.)
D. Hazards and disasters-risk assessment and response
E. Leisure, sport and tourism
F. Geography of food and health
G. Urban environments

Higher Level Extension: Global Interactions (60 hours)

  1. 1. Measuring global interactions (4 hours)
  2. 2. Changing space – the shrinking world (12 hours)
  3. 3. Economic interactions and flows (8 hours)
  4. 4. Environmental change (8 hours)
  5. 5. Sociocultural exchanges (8 hours)
  6. 6. Political outcomes (10 hours)
  7. 7. Global interactions at the local level (10 hours)