Humanities and Social Science


The Humanities and Social Sciences are the study of human behaviour and interaction in social, cultural, environmental, economic and political contexts. The Humanities and Social Sciences have a historical and contemporary focus, from personal to global contexts, and consider challenges for the future.

In the Australian Curriculum, the Humanities and Social Sciences learning area includes a study of History, Geography, Civics and Citizenship and Economics and Business.

Through studying Humanities and Social Sciences, students will develop the ability to question, think critically, solve problems, communicate effectively, make decisions and adapt to change. Thinking about and responding to issues requires an understanding of the key historical, geographical, political, economic and societal factors involved, and how these different factors interrelate.

The Humanities and Social Science subjects in the Australian Curriculum provide a broad understanding of the world in which we live, and how people can participate as active and informed citizens with high-level skills needed for the 21st century.


The Australian Curriculum: History is organised into two strands:

  • Historical Knowledge and Understanding
  • Historical Skills

Australian history is taught within a world history context, and not limited to world history from an Australian perspective. Studies in Years 7 -10 investigate four historical periods and includes overviews and depth studies. Strong emphasis is placed on the process of historical inquiry and integrating the concepts of historical understanding, including evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, empathy, significance, perspectives and contestability.


The Australian Curriculum: Geography is organised into two strands:

  • Geographical Knowledge and Understanding
  • Geographical Inquiry and Skills

The Australian Curriculum: Geography empowers students to shape change for a socially just and sustainable future. Geography inspires curiosity and wonder about the diversity of the world’s places, peoples, cultures and environments. Through a structured way of exploring, analysing and understanding the characteristics of the places that make up our world, Geography enables students to question why the world is the way it is, and reflect on their relationships with and responsibilities for that world.

Civics and Citizenship

The Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship aims to ensure students develop:

  • a lifelong sense of belonging to and engagement with civic life as an active and informed citizen in the context of Australia as a secular democratic nation with a dynamic, multicultural, multi-faith society and a Christian heritage
  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the values, principles, institutions and practices of Australia’s system of democratic government and law, and the role of the citizen in Australian government and society
  • skills, including questioning and research; analysis, synthesis and interpretation; problem-solving and decision-making; communication and reflection, to investigate contemporary civics and citizenship issues and foster responsible participation in Australia’s democracy
  • the capacities and dispositions to participate in the civic life of their nation at a local, regional and global level and as individuals in a globalised world.

Economics and Business

The Australian Curriculum: Economics and Business is organised in two related strands:

  • Economics and Business Knowledge and Understanding
  • Economics and Business Inquiry and Skills.

In both these strands, the study of economics and business issues, events and business case studies form an integral component of the curriculum. A focus on contemporary issues, events and business case studies stimulates student interest and curiosity. The content is intended to be taught through a relevant context, which will help students make the connections between what they are learning in class and events or issues that are happening in their local area, Australia and the world.

Both strands also focus on developing enterprising behaviours and capabilities. Through the study of economics and business, students will develop their understanding of the importance and role of enterprising behaviours and capabilities at an individual and business level. Enterprising behaviours and capabilities refer to the suite of skills, attributes and behaviours that allow individuals to engage in and contribute to the economic wellbeing of society. Broadly, they encourage students to be adaptable, demonstrate initiative, solve problems and take on leadership roles in all aspects of life.

Last reviewed 29 April 2020
Last updated 29 April 2020