Discover what kind of support is out there for your high school, undergraduate, or postgraduate course in history.
Australian students will have a good knowledge of the role of history when it comes to the business of predicting the future.
You don't need a diploma in the philosophy of the subject to know that social phenomena that manifest in 100 years can start their journey now.
Scholarship in the subject of history is common, and many Australian students, including thousands in Melbourne, will encounter the subject while at school and may choose to further their knowledge by pursuing a career in the industry or further study at a university campus (particularly Deakin, Monash, or Melbourne University) across Melbourne.
For those that want to pursue an undergraduate or postgraduate history degree at university, there are plenty of options, and high school study thankfully isn't necessarily a prerequisite for a bachelor or master in the subject.
Typically as part of an art or philosophy degree, you will find that the biggest part of your learning will analyse the course of events and sociological phenomena, as well as the management of historical documents and how to apply this knowledge to our current times.
In this article, we will break down the subject matter of history courses at high school and undergraduate and postgraduate university levels, as well what you can do with these skills broadly, and careers in the industry that you can use history skills in.
Background to history as a subject
Across Melbourne and Australia, whether you've been a student of the subject or not at a profound level, you will have encountered it, and have an understanding of the philosophy of knowledge behind it.
Regardless of the industry, you end up working or studying in, learning about history is a crucial part of education, and can be viewed as part of a science or the arts depending on the way that you look at it.
Studies in history permit us to apply a contemporary perspective to another time and place, and can effectively support our management of present-day issues.
The start of many a great work of fiction and cinema has been inspired by an act carried out across history, as have many political and pedagogical decisions.
Since the events of history have finished, we can define them and work with them in ways that we can't the present.
Learning about the catalysts for and lead-ups to events throughout history allows us to dissect human behaviour and avoid repeating mistakes, as well as gleaning new knowledge for science and the arts, with the philosophy of understanding acquired through this analysis being used to help and support decisions we want to make in our own time.
History studies, particularly at a graduate level, give us a greater degree of understanding of how to master our lives in the online age we currently live in.
The way we even learn and conduct business can be enhanced through history courses.
A postgraduate history degree is the level at which you start to really consider in fine detail the events that have taken place, and what they may mean for our social and international knowledge today.
The history curriculum
Now to be a bit more specific about the content of your learning.
We will first discuss high school VCE learning, as this is where the majority of students will choose to study history as a subject.
We will then touch on the applications of this knowledge at university but will go into greater detail in the following sections.
It is the role of the VCAA, Victoria's educational standards and curriculum body, to deal with the management of knowledge that students come across in the history curriculum.
This goes from prep to year 12, although the K-10 curriculum that students can't choose to learn if they're from Melbourne or Victoria, as it's compulsory, has a history as a main component increasingly present throughout.
This concerns Australian and international history and the learning centres around social and economic phenomena.
The structure of the curriculum broadly outlines the first degrees of the study of history as pertaining to personal and community history, then moving onto community remembrance and celebrations which lead into Australia as a British colony and first contact with Indigenous Australians before spending time giving students support in their knowledge of the richness of Indigenous cultures and historical wrongdoings against them by the British.
The studies then career away from and Australia focus to and international understanding with an eye towards the future.
Topics here range from the ancient world, to the formation of the modern world, to Australia and its role in this world today.
When you get the VCE and spend more time focussing on a deeper side of the subject in your studies, you will start to focus on industry, business, and political impacts on historical events as well, and will be able to see a bigger picture around them that can cause friction or peace, making it just as arts and philosophy centric as it is about the business, science, and social side of events.
The curriculum also further breaks the subject down depending on what scholarship students may want to pursue once they graduate from high school, with actual different subjects being offered at VCE.
VCE study takes place across year 11 and 12, with the final certificate of education being offered at the end of the second year.
In year 11, students will explore the ancient world and empires such as Mesopotamia and Egypt, and will also take a deep dive into 20th-century history, which explores our philosophy about the international community and knowledge management between cultures.
The nitty gritty really starts in year 12 where students have to choose one, two, or all three of ancient history, Australian history, or revolutions.
Each study area goes very deep into the causes and effects of each of the various phenomena that have shaped our world today, and the ideas that can help an empire survive, forge new nationhood and reconcile with native peoples, and find out what social and industry-related elements can push people to revolt and choose to take the management and governance of their country into their own hands.
For those wanting to pursue further study or get an accreditation such as a certificate, diploma, undergraduate degree, or postgraduate degree at university after they finish high school, the year 12 history curriculum will be of particular use.
What can you do with this knowledge?
So we've mentioned to you that pursuing a bachelor or master degree is a definite possibility, and Melbourne is ranked as one of the top five cities to be a student.
This is easy to see since you can study online or on-campus at one of the many major world-class ranked universities across the city, throughout Victoria and in other locations in Australia including Brisbane or Adelaide.
Each falls within the arts faculty and is generally taken as part of art or philosophy degree, with a specific certificate or diploma typically coming once you graduate to postgraduate level and have specialised with a thesis or expanded study.
Never fear though, since combining history study in your courses with other subject areas that interest you are smart to choose when you think of your future work and career - it gives you a particular edge that you can specialise your history knowledge in.
So what about applying my history knowledge in daily life?
Studying history will actually surprisingly benefit you in numerous ways day to day. Some of the main benefits include:
- Being able to see the broader impacts of single actions and decisions that people make
- The ability to effectively learn from mistakes more efficiently
- Having a heightened awareness of identity
- A stronger understanding of interconnected international systems
- The capacity to predict and monitor change over time
These skills are clearly transferrable and are just as applicable to a business setting as they are the arts.
This further attests to the usefulness of philosophy and education in general since harnessing critical and reflective skills through learning about history throughout the course of your study imbues students with a truly global perspective.
Career prospects with history study
Notably, you can apply your skills, as with most arts or philosophy degrees to a number of settings, so specialising in an area you're passionate about is good to keep in mind.
The most obvious job choice is historian, yet this is a highly competitive field, and you'll need to know your subject matter inside and out.
Don't be deterred though - this involves more than just being a member of university faculty.
You can be invited on archeological digs, break into the tourism industry, be called upon to be an archivist, or work for government conservation and preservation projects.
More in this latter vein, being an archivist or museum education officer would be a fantastic application of the knowledge acquired throughout your study.
You can preserve and impart wisdom about the past and its applications for our present and future for the general public, moulding minds and keeping the social world well informed.
And let's not forget the most direct approach to education - being a history teacher! This can be in primary school, high school, teaching in a university degree, or supporting adult learning.
If the subject matter in the curriculum sounds interesting and important to you, then this could be the career path for you.
And if you think it could do with a shakeup, why not consider moving into education policy at a state or federal government level?
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