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NSW Syllabuses


The History Extension course is about the nature of history, and how and why historical interpretations are developed from different perspectives and approaches over time. It offers a higher level of challenge than the Ancient History and Modern History courses with its greater emphasis on historiography.

The History Extension course requires students to examine the way history is constructed and the role of historians. This involves reviewing the types of history that have been produced over time and the contexts in which they were developed. Students explore problems and issues associated with the construction of history through sampling the works of various writers, historians and others involved in the practice of history from ancient times to the present day. Students focus on an area of debate to consider how an historian’s context, methodology and purpose shape their interpretation of a person, group, event or issue. Students apply their understanding and skills of historical inquiry by designing and conducting their own historical investigation.

History Extension requires students to engage with complex historiographical ideas and methodologies and to communicate sophisticated, sustained and coherent historical arguments about the nature and construction of history.

History Extension appeals to students who appreciate the intellectual challenge of grappling with an area of debate, and constructing and defending a position through a reasoned and cohesive argument. It offers students the opportunity to work independently and apply the historiographical understanding developed through the course to an individual project of personal interest.

The History Extension course is designed to enhance the development of critical and reflective thinking skills essential for effective participation in work, higher learning and the broader community. It fosters the ability of students to approach complex tasks flexibly, analyse and synthesise information from a range of sources and situations, explore a range of perspectives, develop considered responses and reflect on the methodologies with which they engage.

These experiences are of particular value to those students intending to undertake tertiary study, by providing an introduction to the issues of how a discipline is structured and practised. The History Extension course lays a foundation for such tertiary study by raising awareness of these issues and facilitating the transfer of higher-order thinking skills from one area of study to another.