Senior School Humanities and Social Sciences

Year 11 and 12 ATAR subjects currently being offered for Year 11 and 12


The Accounting and Finance ATAR course focuses on financial literacy and aims to provide students with the knowledge, understandings and a range of skills that enables them to make sound financial judgements.

Students develop an understanding that financial decisions have far reaching consequences for individuals and business. The course will provide students with the understanding of the systems and processes through which financial practices and decision making are carried out, as well as the ethical, social and environmental issues involved.

Through the preparation, examination and analysis of a variety of financial documents and systems, students develop an understanding of the fundamental principles and practices upon which accounting and financial management are based.

An understanding and application of these principles and practices enables students to analyse their own financial data and that of businesses and make informed decisions, forecasts of future performance, and recommendations based on that analysis.


Economics investigates the choices which all people, groups and societies face as they confront the ongoing problem of satisfying their unlimited wants with limited resources. Economics aims to understand and analyse the allocation, utilisation and distribution of scarce resources that determine our wealth and wellbeing. Economics develops the knowledge, reasoning and interpretation skills that form an important component of understanding individual, business and government behaviour at the local, national and global levels.

The Economics ATAR course encompasses the key features which characterise an economist’s approach to a contemporary economic event or issue: the ability to simplify the essence of a problem; to collect economic information and data to assist analysis and reasoning; to think critically about the limits of analysis in a social context; and to draw inferences which assist decision‐making, the development of public policy and improvement in economic wellbeing.

The Economics ATAR course develops reasoning, logical thinking and interpretation skills demanded by the world of work, business and government. These skills relate to a variety of qualifications in vocational, technical and university education contexts. The learning experiences available through studying this course explore the knowledge, values and opinions which surround the complex range of economic events and issues facing our community, such as unemployment, income distribution, business strategy and international relations.

Economic literacy developed through this course enables students to actively participate in economic and financial decision‐making which promotes individual and societal wealth and wellbeing.


The study of geography draws on students’ curiosity about the diversity of the world’s places and their peoples, cultures and environments. It enables them to appreciate the complexity of our world and the diversity of its environments, economies and cultures and use this knowledge to promote a more sustainable way of life and awareness of social and spatial inequalities.

In the senior secondary years, the Geography ATAR course provides a structured, disciplinary framework to investigate and analyse a range of challenges and associated opportunities facing Australia and the global community. These challenges include rapid change in biophysical environments, the sustainability of places, dealing with environmental risks, and the consequences of international integration.

Geography addresses questions about the interaction of natural and human environments within various natural and social systems. It examines the factors that impact upon decisions about sustainability, the conflicting values between individuals and groups over sustainability and the degree of commitment towards sustainable development.

Geography as a discipline values imagination, creativity and speculation as modes of thought. It provides a systematic, integrative way of exploring, analysing and applying the concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, sustainability, scale and change. These principal geographical concepts are applied and explored in depth through unit topics to provide a deeper knowledge and understanding of the complex processes shaping our world. Taken together, the ability of students to apply conceptual knowledge in the context of an inquiry, and the application of skills, constitute ‘thinking geographically’ – a uniquely powerful way of viewing the world.

The course builds students’ knowledge and understanding of the uniqueness of places and an appreciation that place matters in explanations of economic, social and environmental phenomena and processes. It also develops students’ knowledge about the interconnections between places. Nothing exists in isolation. Consequently, the subject considers the significance of location, distance and proximity.

Through the study of geography, students develop the ability to investigate the arrangement of biophysical and human phenomena across space in order to understand the interconnections between people, places and environments. As a subject of the humanities and social sciences, geography studies spatial aspects of human culture using inquiry methods that are analytical, critical and speculative. In doing so, it values imagination and creativity.

As a science, geography develops an appreciation of the role of the biophysical environment in human life, and an understanding of the effects human activities can have on environments. As a result, it develops students’ ability to identify, evaluate and justify appropriate and sustainable approaches to the future by thinking holistically and spatially in seeking answers to questions. Students are encouraged to investigate geographical issues and phenomena from a range of perspectives, including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

In the Geography ATAR course, students investigate geographical issues and phenomena at a variety of scales and contexts. This may include: comparative studies at the same scale; studying the same issue or phenomenon at a range of scales; or seeking explanations at a different scale to the one being studied. The ability to perform multiscale and hierarchical analysis is developed further in this syllabus.


The Modern History ATAR course enables students to study the forces that have shaped today’s world and provides them with a broader and deeper comprehension of the world in which they live. While the focus is on the 20th century, the course refers back to formative changes from the late 18th century onwards and encourages students to make connections with the changing world of the 21st century.

Modern history enhances students’ curiosity and imagination and their appreciation of larger themes, individuals, movements, events and ideas that have shaped the contemporary world. The themes that run through the units include: local, national and global conflicts and their resolution; the rise of nationalism and its consequences; the decline of imperialism and the process of decolonisation; the continuing struggle for the recognition of human rights; the transformation of social and economic life; the regional shifts in power and the rise of Asia; and the changing nature and influence of ideologies.

The Modern History ATAR course begins with a study of key developments that have helped to define the modern world, with special attention given to important ideas and their consequences. This provides a context for a study of movements for change in the 20th century that have challenged the authority of the nation‐state, the principal form of political organisation in the modern world. Students then investigate crises that confronted nation‐states in the 20th century, the responses to these crises and the different paths nations have taken in the modern world.The course concludes with a study of the distinctive features of world order that have emerged since World War II and that are central to an understanding of the present.

The Modern History ATAR course continues to develop the historical skills and understandings taught in the Year 7–10 History curriculum. Students pose increasingly complex questions about the past and use their historical inquiry skills, analytical skills and interpretation of sources to formulate reasoned answers to those questions. The opportunities to apply these skills are sequential and cumulative so that students develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the different and sometimes conflicting perspectives of the past.

Students are introduced to the complexities associated with the changing nature of evidence, its expanding quantity, range and form; the distinctive characteristics of modern historical representation; and the skills that are required to investigate controversial issues that have a powerful contemporary resonance. Students develop increasingly sophisticated historiographical skills and historical understanding in their analysis of significant events and close study of the nature of modern societies.


Philosophical thought shapes what people think, what they value, what they consider to be true, and how they engage with others and the world around them. It is one of the foundations of all academic disciplines. It seeks to shed light on questions, such as: what is real? what and how do we understand? how should we live? what is it to be human? and who am I? It deals with issues and problems that cannot be addressed adequately by appealing to experience and experiment alone. Philosophical inquiry requires that we question our assumptions, beliefs and our reasons for holding them.

The Philosophy and Ethics ATAR course aims to empower students to make independent judgements on the basis of reason. Doing philosophy is a practical activity. We do philosophy, for example, when we seek to define something, when we challenge assumptions, when we construct an argument, and when we think about what we are doing, how we are doing it and to what ends. The study of philosophy gives us a set of skills that better enables us to understand, evaluate and engage with our world, whether that is our personal or our social world, our world of work or the wider questions of how the world works. The relation between the disciplines of philosophy and ethics in this course requires some explanation.

Traditionally, ethics has been regarded as a branch of philosophy (alongside metaphysics and epistemology), so that reference to philosophy will normally include reference to ethics. The title ‘Philosophy and Ethics’ signifies that ethics has particular importance in this course. This status recognises that every member of a society faces ethical issues. A philosophical approach helps people to reflect on, and better understand, difficult ethical issues.

In philosophy and ethics, disagreement is common. Methods of inquiry and the skills of critical reasoning help us deal more effectively with disagreement. This course places considerable emphasis on students contributing constructively to a philosophical Community of Inquiry. A philosophical Community of Inquiry at its simplest is a collaborative and cooperative process through which students learn with others, and from others, how to engage in philosophical discourse. Such discourse seeks to clarify, analyse, evaluate and define concepts and issues so as to help students understand and deal with complex questions raised by popular culture, by contemporary events and by the history of ideas. A philosophical Community of Inquiry uses the skills of critical reasoning to help students deal more effectively and tolerantly with disagreement. Employers are increasingly searching for people who can analyse new situations and devise and evaluate appropriate strategies to manage them.

The Philosophy and Ethics ATAR course develops thinking skills and moral discernment that students apply to a range of practical situations in their personal, social and working lives. The course is relevant to students focusing on the study of philosophy at university. It is of equal value to those following career paths that require the evaluation of arguments, such as law, or those needing to make complex judgements, such as in medical, pastoral or other human service occupations. The Philosophy and Ethics ATAR course is also relevant to those entering careers involving aesthetics, such as advertising and design.

Year 11 and 12 General Subjects being offered.

CAREERS and ENTERPRISE (only Year 11 in 2017)

The Career and Enterprise General course engages students in learning about developing their career in a constantly changing digital and globalised world. Careers are now considered to be about work, learning and life. Individuals need to be proactive, enterprising career managers who engage in lifelong learning.

The Career and Enterprise General course aims to provide students with the knowledge, skills and understanding to enable them to be enterprising and to proactively manage their own careers.   The course reflects the importance of career development knowledge, understanding and skills in securing, creating and sustaining work. Work, including unpaid voluntary work, is fundamentally important in defining the way we live, relate to others and in determining the opportunities we have throughout life. The world of work is complex and constantly changing. The course recognises that work both reflects and shapes the culture and values of our society. Workplaces have different structures which impact on their practices and processes and how they operate. Each workplace is unique and its organisation governs workplace settings and patterns of work.

The Career and Enterprise General course has been constructed using, and is strongly aligned to, the knowledge, skills and understandings from the Core Skills for Work Development Framework (2013) and the Australian Blueprint for Career Development (the Blueprint).   When developing teaching and learning program, teachers should consider students’ formal and informal work experiences, cultural backgrounds and values.