The capital city of Western Australia, Perth was founded in 1829 by Captain James Stirling, and the state was made the first free settlement by the British Government in June of the same year. Just over 130 years before, the Dutch had navigated the area, searching for survivors of the lost vessel, Ridderschap van Hollant, with no luck.
However, this history is incredibly young when compared to the history of the Nyoongar people and their ancestors, living in Whadjuk country, who looked after the land for well over 47,000 years.
Today, the city of Perth has one of the highest standards of living in the world, yet is more affordable than other major Australian cities, making it the ideal location to study.
Not only does WA have some of the most stunning and historically intriguing natural heritage locations, such as the Bungle Bungles, Ningaloo Reef and Rottnest Island, but it is also home to five top-class universities: Murdoch University, University of Western Australia (UWA), Edith Cowan University (ECU), University of Notre Dame and Curtin University.
While each of the universities offers some level of history study, UWA is widely recognised as the tertiary institution to aim for if you want to major in history, offering a range of undergraduate bachelor degree courses, post-graduate, honours and master level units.
Why would you want to study history courses in Perth, though? What professional skills does history study give you? And what can you do with a history degree or certificate once you've attained it? Superprof will answer all these questions for you.
What are the Benefits of History Lessons?
We are not the makers of history. We are made by history.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~
From ancient history through to modern and Australian historical studies, there is much more to the subject than knowledge and regurgitation of dates, names and places.
The true study of history involves delving into the past and extracting the learning, actions and consequences experienced by people in the past, and using them to inform the present.
To fully access the content of whichever course you choose to study, you will inevitably need to develop, hone and apply skills that are applicable not only to your history studies but also to a huge range of professional learning and career pathways.
These skills include:
- debate and discussion to gain depth of understanding
- research skills
- skills in analysis and evaluation
- formulation of arguments and provision of evidence
- written and oral communication skills
- ability to apply knowledge and learning to a range of situations and scenarios.
When the time comes to apply for work, all of these skills, along with the fundamental knowledge you've acquired during your course, will be a bonus and see you ahead of other general applicants.
And, at the end of the day, let's not forget that history lessons, particularly when taught by a passionate history teacher, have the ability to fascinate and intrigue us, as students and members of society, allowing us to gain insight into ancient minds, knowledge, philosophy and the reasons why we are where we are today.
Where Can I Study History After Year 10?
Study the past if you would define the future.
In Australian schools, the study of history is mandatory from the first year of formal education until the end of Year 10.
The Australian Curriculum gives a general knowledge of all historical periods, with specific requirements to focus on Australian and Aboriginal histories.
In senior secondary school — Year 11 and Year 12 (also known as college in some states) — students can choose to continue their studies in history and can elect either ancient history or modern history (or both). There are four units in each area that students can choose from, to form a major, double major or minor course of study.
Once you've graduated from Year 12, there are several tertiary level history courses in Perth for students who wish to pursue further studies with a view to a professional career in the field.
University of Western Australia
The undergraduate history degree offered by the Arts, Business, Law and Education faculty of the University of Western Australia is extremely well regarded.
You can enrol in a history major as a 'degree specific major', with an Honours option, or you can take it as a second major in either the Bachelor of Arts degree or the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours).
A short 15 minutes from the centre of Perth, Murdoch University offers an undergraduate history degree designed to excite students about the past — and with units like 'Spies, Saboteurs and Secret Agents', 'Hollywood and History' and 'Tudors and Treachery', who doesn't want to study at Murdoch?
For students who wish to continue, and who meet the requirements, the university offers an Honours option and you can also elect to do history as your major within a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Philosophy degree or within a Bachelor of Education.
Other universities offering history as a major within a bachelor degree
The University of Notre Dame and Curtin University both offer a comprehensive history major as part of their Bachelor of Arts degree.
At the University of Notre Dame, students can also elect history as a major in the Bachelor of Behavioural Science, or as a minor in the Bachelor of Science.
Of course, once you've completed a history major, there are also further study options in honours and at a postgraduate level. If you're wanting to diversify into a particular career, you can also enrol in a range of vocational studies, including journalism, tourism, management, cultural heritage and curation.
Other history courses in Perth
In Perth, there are two historical societies — the Royal Western Australia Historical Society, and the South Perth Historical Society — who are happy to provide information on short courses, presentations and talks of a historical nature.
If you are particularly interested in the history of Perth, the Perth Walkabout has regularly updated online information and many articles of interest (also online).
Heritage Perth also has a comprehensive online list of associations, galleries and other online locations which explore the histories of Perth, Western Australia and general Australian history.
If you're keen to explore any area of history in-depth, with a tailored experience, engaging a Superprof tutor, for either one-on-one or small group history lessons could be an excellent option as well.
I Don't Want to be a History Teacher, What Else Can I Do?
Upon graduation, you'll possess a host of professional skill requirements employers in the public and private sectors desire. As mentioned previously, the skills students develop throughout their lessons set them up perfectly for a myriad of career options.
Certainly, training to be a history teacher is one of them, particularly if you are passionate about sharing your knowledge and skills with young minds.
However, if being a teacher and having to prepare lessons and mark work, not to mention deal with teenage students, is not your cup of tea, there are many other career paths you can pursue.
A few you might never have associated with a history degree include:
- Conservation Officer
A role as a conservation officer can take you into different habitats and wildlife areas, such as fisheries. You'll be responsible for developing management goals, implementing management policies, analysing the causes and effects of environmental change, and key involvement in management planning for items of cultural and heritage significance.
- Business or Government Consultant
With your background in history, your main role would be as an advisor to museums, historical sites and other relevant institutions. Chances are you'll be seen as an expert in a specific area, such as archiving or preservation, or on a particular topic or time period. You'll most likely work as a sub-contractor, allowing you to work closely within institutions for several months at a time before moving on.
- Paralegal or Lawyer
Not only will you be great in this role due to your analytical and research skills, but you can also specialise in advising clients on heritage-based legal matters.
Other careers you may wish to consider are:
- museum researcher or curator
- policy advisor
- heritage consultant
- journalism and media
- archive management
- cultural heritage tourism
- marketing or public relations
- museum or gallery staff (archivist, curator, educator, tour guide, management etc.)
- editing, writing or publishing.
It had long come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Leonardo da Vinci
Really, the world is your oyster when you have studied history.
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