Find out the types of support available for high school, and undergraduate, or a postgraduate course in history studies
Australian students typically have a strong knowledge of the role of history in relation to the business of predicting the future.
A diploma isn't necessary to understand the philosophy of the subject to know that social phenomena which manifest 100 years in the future are often caused by events that are happening now.
Scholarship in the subject of history is common, and many Australian students, including thousands in Sydney, 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 (the top courses being at University of Western Sydney, UNSW, or Sydney university) across Sydney.
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 arts 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part of your learning will analyse the course of events and sociological phenomena, as well as the management of historical documents and how to apply this knowledge to our current times.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 Sydney 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 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.
Despite what the average student in Sydney and Australia might think, history isn't just about memorising facts and dates either. 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 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 HSC 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 NESA, Sydney and NSW'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 Sydney or New South Wales, as it's compulsory, has 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 HSC 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 a different approach to the subject being offered at HSC.
HSC 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 to some extent, then will take a deep dive into 18th, 19th, and 20th-century history, which explores our philosophy about the international community and knowledge management between cultures.
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?
We've mentioned to you that pursuing a bachelor or master degree is a definite possibility, and the health of student and university life is high in the harbour city since Sydney is ranked as one of the top ten cities to be a student.
You can understand why given that you can study online or on campus at one of the many major world-class ranked universities across the city of Sydney and New South Wales.
The particular top university programs that we've mentioned take place at the University of New South Wales, the University of Western Sydney, and Sydney University, and all have different focus areas and breadth in their teaching.
They all come under their respective arts faculty, and the study of history would generally be undertaken as part of an arts or philosophy degree, with a specific certificate or diploma typically coming once you graduate to postgraduate level.
You do admittedly need to specialise, often with a thesis or expanded study component in order to have a specific history qualification. There is still merit in choosing to study history as part of arts or philosophy study as these courses, when mixed with other subject areas that interest you, will be great complements to your future work and career, offering you a particular edge.
Career paths after studying history
As mentioned, there are a wide number of career paths that you can work in and follow, depending on what you've complimented your history study with.
Historian is obviously the first one that comes to mind, but given the highly competitive nature of this field, you will really have to be passionate and have good experience in research, probably with a Masters or PhD, or at least a graduate certificate or diploma, in order to stand out.
The roles offered to historians though are incredibly diverse, meaning you'll be invited to collaborate with archeologists on digs, help with tourism policy, archiving, or working on cultural heritage projects rather than simply being a member of university faculty.
Archivists or museum education officer roles are also a great application of the knowledge acquired during your history study.
Through these, you become able to preserve and impart wisdom about the past to schools and the general public, thereby having a strong impact on the public psyche in a broad sense.
Being a history teacher is also one of the most effective ways to have an impact in the field.
You might find that this happens in primary school, high school, teaching to a university degree, or supporting adult learners.
Check out what the NESA curriculum says about the key topics of history at different years, and if this is of interest to you, consider an educational career path.
You might even go further into history education policy and craft critical thinkers Sydney, NSW, and Australia wide.
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