This key learning area encompasses the subjects History, Geography, Commerce, Ancient History, Business Studies, Economics, Legal Studies, Modern History and Society and Culture across Years 7–12.


This is one subject that spans Years 7–12. It builds on students’ prior learning and experience to enable them to explain patterns, evaluate consequences and contribute to the management of environments. As a mandatory study in Years 7-10, students love the emphasis on field and practical work, involving them in collaborative learning, research in texts, online and daily newspapers and magazines. The outcomes of their learning is presented using multimedia as well as more traditional written texts.


Similarly, the study of history takes place from Year 7-12. It involves a process of inquiry which develops the skills of research, analysis, evaluation and synthesis and which will enable them to be independent learners for the rest of their lives.

Both Elective GEOGRAPHY and HISTORY (Year 9 and 10) are current areas of study that are very popular at St Vincent’s College.

Stage 6 HSIE Electives

In Stage 6 the HSIE Department provides a choice of 8 electives:

Ancient History (2 Unit)

The Preliminary Ancient History course begins by offering students the chance to examine the methods used by Historians and Archaeologists to investigate the past, and consider the impact of Science on these disciplines and the ethical issues which arise. Case Studies then include Ancient Human Remains, The Celts in Europe, Boudicca: Resistance to Roman Rule and Roman Britain. Students also undertake their own Historical Investigation. The Ancient History HSC course has a core study which is an investigation of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Students then study Ancient Societies such as the Ancient Society of Sparta, the Personality of Agrippina the Younger and The Historical Period of the Augustan Age.

Business Studies (2 Unit)

This course is aimed at students who will be seeking a career in the business world, whether it is after completing the HSC or further tertiary studies. The course looks into the activities of business and how a business is organised. HSC topics include: Operations, Marketing, Human Resources and Finance. A credit for the subject is granted in some TAFE courses and it is a useful introduction to Business or Commerce at University.

Economics (2 Unit)

This is an interesting and challenging course and one that gives valuable information to students about current economic problems and possible solutions. This is particularly pertinent in view of the fact that all students will soon be of voting age and will be asked to make a critical assessment of present government policies. Thus this subject is relevant to all students wishing to study economics, journalism, accountancy or business degrees at College and Universities.

Extension History (1 Unit)

At the end of Year 11 students are given the opportunity to undertake a further unit of History called History Extension. These students undertake a major historical Project into a topic of their own choosing. They also study the nature of History and how and why interpretations change over time.

Geography (2 Unit)

Geography is a popular elective for students in Years 11-12. At this level students are engaged in contemporary social, physical and political global issues which prepares them to pursue tertiary studies in a wide range of disciplines. Areas of study include Urban Places, Ecosystems at Risk and People and Economic Activity. In each year compulsory geographical fieldwork takes place.

Legal Studies (2 Unit)

This course is designed to assist students to understand the way the legal system works; to understand how the law operates to resolve conflicts and regulate social behaviour; and to appreciate the role of the law in every aspect of our lives. These skills will form an excellent foundation preparing students for University or College courses in law, commerce, journalism, real estate, social work, criminology, information technology or arts.

Modern History (2 Unit)

The Preliminary Modern History Course has at least two case studies which may include: the Decline and Fall of the Romanov Dynasty in Russia, Bismarck and Unification of the German States and Meiji Japan. The core study is the World at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century. Students also undertake their own Historical Investigation. The Modern History HSC Course has a core study which is a source-based study of World War I with special focus on the War on the Western Front and The Home Fronts of Britain and Germany. Modern History Students currently study Germany 1918-1939, Leni Riefenstahl and the Conflict in the Pacific 1937-1951 but these topics may vary from year to year.

Society and Culture (2 Unit)

The central concern of this subject is the interaction of persons, societies, cultures, environments and time. Society and Culture draws on cross-disciplinary concepts and social research methodologies from anthropology, communication, cultural studies, media studies, philosophy, psychology, social ecology and sociology. This subject has direct relevance to the immediate needs of students and to their future lives by enabling students to develop understanding of: themselves, their own society and culture and, the societies and cultures of others. In the HSC, Society and Culture all students complete a Personal Interest Project which is 40% of the final HSC mark.

Each of our subjects titles indicate the broad area of study yet each has its own specialities which appeal to students for their relevance to the contemporary and dynamic society in which they live. Therefore, it is not uncommon that a student may study a variety of our subjects consecutively.

The St Vincent’s HSIE teachers are passionate about their discipline. They relish the opportunities to engage the students in new and diverse teaching and learning practices which excite and challenge them to gain maximum benefit and enjoyment from these subjects.

The HSIE Department is comprised of:

  • Ms Lynne Hamilton - Head of Department
  • Ms Mariann Barkho
  • Ms Mary Crotty
  • Ms Maria Geracitano
  • Mr Joseph Hekeik
  • Mr Michael Latham - Head of Geography, Legal Studies, Commerce, Economics Business Studies
  • Ms Simone Lock
  • Ms Jenny McCarthy
  • Ms Caroline McKenna
  • Ms Kate Parish - Head of History & Society & Culture
  • Ms Nicole Rizk
  • Mr Nicholas Schroeder
  • Mr David Woolbank

Contact the HSIE Department:
Ms Lynne Hamilton