Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS)

Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) is a compulsory subject for all students at Alfred Deakin High School. It is an area of learning through which students investigate the historical, cultural, social, legal, political, geographical and environmental factors that shape their identity and society.

HaSS develops students' competence to participate responsibly and effectively through systematic development of their understandings of self and society. Students are actively involved in clarifying and articulating their attitudes, values and beliefs about themselves and others, their place in society and the environment. Knowledge and skills are drawn from history, geography, business, economics, civics and citizenship. There is a special focus on selecting, analysing, evaluating and acknowledging sources as the foundation for all study.

Year 7 | Year 8 | Year 9 | Year 10

Year 7


Research, Writing and Mapping Skills

Geography introduces students to their world and the society around them. This unit introduces students to the tools and skills of a geographer. Students will use Google Maps, atlases, globes, and other maps to locate features. They will undertake a series of mapping skill activities both in the classroom and beyond, examining scale, direction, continents and oceans.

Water and The World; Place and Liveability

Looking closely at the waterways of Australia and the major water systems of the world, students will develop an understanding of how water sustains life. This unit develops knowledge and appreciation of the environment, the issues surrounding the scarcity of water and the associated hazards. Students will also look at how people live and how the places and spaces in which we live are planned and managed.

Economics and Business

In tandem with learning about water and liveability, students will examine the associated financial costs of how people interact in their environments both in Australia and across the world. Students will learn about needs and wants, income and expenditure and related economic principles with a focus on business skills.


History Skills

Students will investigate aspects of the study of history beginning with an introduction to history skills such as the identification of primary and secondary sources, construction and interpretation of timelines, need for thorough research, the evaluation of evidence and the recognition of bias.

The Ancient World

In this unit students will investigate the ancient world including the theory that people moved out of Africa around 60 000 BCE and migrated to other parts of the world, including Australia, the evidence for the emergence and establishment of ancient societies (including art, iconography, writing tools and pottery), the key features of ancient societies (farming, trade, social classes, religion, rule of law). Civilisations that may be investigated include: Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and India.

Civics and Citizenship

This small unit allows students a glimpse into the world of rules, responsibilities and government by examining the differences between ancient governments and our own.

back to top

Year 8


Economics and Business

Students will learn about the rights and responsibilities of the consumer and retailer, with a focus on scams. They will also examine the economics behind natural disasters and the costs and benefits of migration while furthering their understanding of commerce in Australia.

Landforms and Landscapes

Students will investigate geomorphology through a study of landscapes and their landforms. The unit will explore the significance of landscapes to people and the associated values and meanings. Students will develop a greater knowledge of natural disasters and landscape hazards.

Changing Nations

Students will investigate the changing human geography of countries, the spatial distribution of population and how urbanisation is changing Australia, Asia and the USA. Internal and international migration will also be examined as well as the push and pull factors that determine how people decide where to work, live and play.


Medieval History

Students will study the rise of the Vikings, the spread of Christianity in Europe and the rise of Islam and its expansion across the world. They will also examine the growth of the world's population, changes in technology and renewed growth of cities and trade. Students will investigate three depth studies this semester: Viking Society, Medieval Europe, the Ottoman Empire, Renaissance Italy, The Black Death, Japan Under the Shoguns, Angkor and the Khmer Empire, the Polynesian expansion across the Pacific, the Mongol Expansion and the Spanish Conquest of the Americas.

Civics and Citizenship

The aim of this unit to continue to build on students' knowledge of the systems of government that exist in Australia by linking the past with the present. Is the Magna Carta still relevant today? What elements of laws still exists from the medieval period?

back to top

Year 9


The Global Economy

This unit combines economic ideology and the interconnections between people and places through the products people buy and the effects of their production on the places that make them. Students examine the ways that public policy, political motivation, capitalistic markets and consumerism combine to create the society we live in today. Personal budgeting, travel finance and the role of businesses will also feature.

Biomes, Agriculture, Food and Production

This course focuses on investigating the role of the biotic environment and its role in food and fibre production. Students examine the biomes of the world, their alteration and significance as a source of food and fibre, and the environmental challenges and constraints on expanding food production in the future.


The Making of the Modern World

In this unit students will study the important features of the period 1750 - 1918 including the nature and significance of the Industrial Revolution and how it affected living and working conditions. They will explore the nature and extent of the movement of peoples in the period, including imperial expansion, slavery, convicts and settlers.

World War One

Students investigate key aspects of World War I and the Australian experience of the war, including the nature and significance of the war in world and Australian history. The course will examine the origins of the war, the Gallipoli Campaign and the Western Front, the conscription debate in Australia and the commemoration of the Great War.

Civics and Citizenship

Students will explore debates on conscription and the purpose of referenda, while examining historical issues in politics that still resonate today. Classes will look at pre-European society and laws, the Eureka Stockade, Federation and how war politicised people.

back to top

Year 10


The Modern World and Australia

In this unit students will study the important features of the period from 1918 to the present. This will include the ramification of the Treaty of Versailles and the inter-war years between World War I and World War II, including the Great Crash and the Great Depression. Students will continue on to the rise of Hitler and World War Two, exploring both European and Pacific theatres. Major topics include the holocaust and the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan.

Rights and Freedoms

In the second half of the course students will examine the continuing efforts in a post-World War II world to achieve lasting peace and security in the world, including Australia's involvement in UN peacekeeping. Students will develop an understanding of the the major movements for rights and freedom in the world, especially in the United States and Australia. An examination of political life in Australia in the late 20th century will accompany this unit and classes may progress to contemporary political issues. The course will finish with a depth study on either popular culture, the environmental movement or migration experiences.


Year 10s will have the opportunity to elect a specific course of study in Term 2 for their second semester of HaSS. In 2019 these are some of the courses that may be offered:

Business Studies

The Year 10 Business Studies course examines the role of businesses in the local, national and global economies. Students will create their own small business proposals and use case studies to analyse different businesses and their decisions.

Later 20th Century Conflicts

The history of human conflict post-WW2. This course will cover the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the War on Terror and the Syrian Conflict. We will look at the causes and the consequences of these major wars of the last seven decades. The course enables students to learn more about the impact that major conflict has on human civilisation, while examining the key individuals who changed the course of history.

Legal and Political Studies

This course brings students into contact with the system that runs the country. Many topics will be covered, including the activities of government, national and international elections, the role of the media, dissent, protest and political cartoons. Both criminal and civil law will be examined with a range of case studies. There is a strong emphasis on discussion and debate in this class.

Psychology and Sociology

This course introduces students to the world of the human brain and the functioning of societies. It will cover a broad range of topics that include socialisation, the nature/nurture debate, adolescence and youth culture, influences on individual behaviour, social discourse, capital and privilege.  The big questions of ‘Why we do the things we do’ will be explored in depth. Case studies, group research and experimental social investigations will all be part of the course work in this exciting unit.

Our Changing Planet

Climate change – is it a grave threat to the survival of life on earth? Merely another test of humans’ inventiveness and adaptability? What do we know about climate change and what is still being debated? What causes climate change and what are its predicted impacts? These questions will guide us as we explore the issue that is fast becoming the greatest to confront humankind.

back to top