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History Extension (HSC)

History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon’. Napoleon Bonaparte

What will I be doing in this course?

History Extension is an exciting and challenging opportunity for students to conduct in depth research in an area of individual interest. It is particularly suited to high achieving humanities students who have the self-discipline and motivation to undertake a large research project, much of it out of school hours. For these students it can be a very rewarding subject, developing their critical thinking and analysis skills to a level not normally required in the HSC. The structure allows students to investigate an area of personal historical interest, to critique the writings of other historians and to analyse the changing forces that contribute to our understanding of history. Students who enjoy debate and are forever asking ‘why’ will enjoy this course.


Throughout each section of the course students address five key questions:
  • Who are the historians?
  • What are the purposes of history?
  • How has history been constructed and recorded over time?  
  • Why have approaches to history changed over time? 
  • What are the historical debates in the case study?

Part A: Major Project

Students will conduct an Historical Investigation into an area of personal interest. The topic will be developed in consultation with their teacher.  The Major Project is a substantial part of the course work and requires student to maintain a process log and analyse other historians approaches to the topic.

Part B: What is History?

Completed in conjunction with the Major Project is a class unit on the ‘history of history’ (historiography). This is an overview of how and why approaches to the writing of history have changed over time

Part C: Case Study

The second class unit is an overview of the changing approaches to the history of a particular case study. In 2016 we will be researching historical perspectives on the arrival of the British in Australia.


History Extension is a one unit Year 12 subject. It must be studied in conjunction with either (or both) Year 12 Modern History and/or Year 12 Ancient History. The course requires a high standard of reading and writing skills and is recommended for students who have achieved at this level in English and other humanities subjects.

What should I be able to do at the end of the course?

You will be able to develop, debate and support your own theories on the purpose and meaning of history. This will include sophisticated analysis skills including the deconstruction of context and discourse.

How will this course help me in the future?

Students who study History Extension are well prepared for tertiary studies in any area, especially the humanities. The independent research and higher order analysis skills developed in this subject are unique in the HSC curriculum and will develop excellent critical thinking, investigative and written abilities.

How will I be assessed?

The major project is a substantial part of the formal assessment. Other assessments will consist of a range of tasks, source analysis and examinations.