Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE)

The HSIE Faculty at Kariong Mountains High School is an innovative faculty with keen and experienced staff. It is a diverse faculty offering a wide range of courses especially in the Stage 6 area.
View History Syllabus on NESA View Geography Syllabus on NESA

General Course Information

Human Society and its Environment features History and Geography (100 hours each in Years 7 and 8) with a focus on Australian History and Australian Geography (100 hours each) in Years 9 and 10. Specific electives are offered at Kariong Mountains High School including International Studies, Commerce and History Extension.Geography allows students to develop enjoyment of and interest in the interaction of the physical and human environments. Students will develop geographic knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes in order to engage in the community as informed and active citizens.

The two key dimensions forming the basis of Geography studies are spatial dimension (where things are and why they are there) and ecological dimension (how humans interact with environments). In Australian Geography, students learn about the interaction of human and physical geography in a local context.

The History course develops in young people an interest in and enjoyment of exploring the past by providing opportunities for examining events, people and societies from ancient, medieval and modern times and twentieth-century Australia.

Students explore the nature of history, how historians investigate the past and the importance of conserving our heritage. Aspects of the ancient and medieval world are studied, including origins and daily life of the ancient world and beliefs and values of medieval societies.

Significant developments in Australia’s social, political and cultural history, including Federation, the Vietnam War era and our international relations are studied. The nature of colonisation and contact history is also examined, as are the changing rights and freedoms of Aboriginal peoples and other groups in Australia.

Stage 5 Electives

Aboriginal Studies

Aboriginal Studies enables students to gain an understanding of past, present and future Aboriginal culture and heritage. It allows students an opportunity to learn how to empathise with others and appreciate different cultures. There is a rich cultural heritage surrounding Kariong and this will also be explored in Aboriginal Studies.

Students learn about the contributions and significance of Aboriginal Peoples and their cultural expressions, including in the visual and performing arts, language and spirituality. Students study the interaction between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and communities and the sharing of cultural identity. Students gain understanding of the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples to the development of Australia and its identity.


Elective History enables students to acquire the historical skills, knowledge and understanding, values and attitudes essential to an appreciation of world history and to prepare students for informed and active global citizenship.

Delve into the world of history and archaeology. See the events throughout history that helped shape the world we live in today. Explore the ancient, medieval and modern world through the medium of film, historical resources and the field of Archaeology. How does film influence our understanding of past events? What does archaeology tell us that written sources cannot? Is archaeology an exact science? Explore these questions through the cultures and events of the past such as: Great Man theory: Where are the women? Heroes and villains; The Wild West; and other global changing events.

International Studies

International Studies will now be combined with a new course (Global Citizens), with the aim of educating students in the meaning of being a global citizen.

There are three main themes that will be explored: Collective Action, Collective Identity and Justice.

Through the study of International Studies, students will engage with ideas, beliefs and practices across a wide range of cultures, with an emphasis on those of Asia and the Pacific. Students undertake a core study in ‘Understanding Culture and Diversity in Today’s World’ and then have a choice of options for further study.

Stage 6 Subjects

Ancient History

The Year 11 course is structured to provide students with opportunities to develop and apply their understanding of methods and issues involved in the investigation of the ancient past. Through the use of archaeological and written sources, students investigate various aspects of the ancient world, including historical sites, people, societies, events and developments.

The Year 12 course is structured to provide students with opportunities to apply their understanding of archaeological and written sources and relevant historiographical issues in the investigation of the ancient past.

Business Studies

Business activity is a feature of everyone’s life. The Business Studies syllabus encompasses the theoretical and practical aspects of business in ways students will encounter throughout their lives. It offers learning from the planning of a small business to the management of operations, marketing, finance and human resource in large businesses.

Contemporary business issues and case studies are embedded in the course to provide a stimulating and relevant framework for students to apply to problems encountered in the business environment. Business Studies fosters intellectual, social and moral development by assisting students to think critically about the role of business and its ethical responsibilities to society.


The Preliminary course investigates biophysical and human geography and develops students’ knowledge and understanding about the spatial and ecological dimensions of geography. Enquiry methodologies are used to investigate the unique characteristics of our world through fieldwork, geographical skills and the study of contemporary geographical issues.

The HSC course enables students to appreciate geographical perspectives about the contemporary world.

History Extension

Students develop their understanding of significant historiographical ideas and methodologies by exploring ONE case study, with reference to THREE identified areas of debate and the key questions above. The case study provides for an examination of historiography within a specific historical context.

History Project
Students will undertake an individual investigative project, focusing on an area of changing historical interpretation.

Legal Studies

The Preliminary course develops students’ knowledge and understanding of the nature and functions of law and law-making, the development of Australian and international legal systems, the Australian constitution and law reform. It examines an individual’s rights and responsibilities, how disputes are resolved and examines a contemporary issue concerning the individual and technology. Students have the opportunity to investigate issues that illustrate how the law operates in practice. This is achieved by investigating, analysing and synthesising legal information and investigating legal issues from a variety of perspectives.

The HSC course investigates the key areas of law, justice and human rights through a variety of focus studies which consider how changes in societies influence law reform.

Modern History

The Year 11 course is structured to provide students with opportunities to develop and apply their understanding of methods and issues involved in the investigation of modern history. Students investigate various aspects of the modern world, including people, ideas, movements, events and developments.

The Year 12 course is structured to provide students with opportunities to apply their understanding of sources and relevant historiographical issues in the investigation of the modern world.

Society and Culture

Society and Culture deals with areas of interest and relevance to students and develops knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes essential to an appreciation of the social world. The interaction of persons, society, culture, environment and time and how they shape human behaviour is a central theme of study. Students develop an understanding of research methodologies and undertake research in an area of particular interest to them. The research findings are presented for external assessment in the Personal Interest Project (PIP).

Studies of Religion

ensures students study more than one religious tradition. The course enables students to come to an understanding that each religious tradition has its own integrity and contributes to a well-ordered society. It endeavours to assist in the provision of a context within which schools have the opportunity to foster students’ academic, affective and spiritual development.