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HSC course descriptions – Board Endorsed Courses

There are two types of Board Endorsed Courses – Content Endorsed Courses and School Developed Courses.

Content Endorsed Courses have syllabuses endorsed by the Board of Studies to cater for areas of special interest not covered in Board Developed Courses.

Schools may also develop special courses in order to meet student needs. These courses must be approved by the Board of Studies.

There is no external examination for Board Endorsed Courses. Assessment is school based.

All Board Endorsed Courses count towards the Higher School Certificate and appear on the student's Record of Achievement. However, Board Endorsed Courses do not count in the calculation of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

Board Endorsed Courses may be studied as 1 or 2 units and as Preliminary and/or HSC courses.

Course descriptions for Vocational Education and Training (VET) Board Endorsed Courses, both VET Content Endorsed Courses and locally designed VET Board Endorsed Courses, are available on the VET Board Endorsed Courses page.


Course: English Studies

Course No:

2 units for each of Preliminary and HSC years
Content Endorsed Course

Exclusions: English (Standard); English (Advanced); English (ESL); English (Extension)

Course Entry Guidelines

This course is designed to meet the specific needs of students who are seeking an alternative to the English (Standard) course and who intend to proceed from school directly into employment or vocational training.

Students considering choosing the course should be advised that:

  • English Studies is a Stage 6 Content Endorsed Course with no HSC examination.
  • Satisfactory completion of English Studies as part of the pilot program will fulfil English pattern-of-study requirements for the Higher School Certificate. English Studies will also count towards the six units of Board Developed Courses required for the award of the Higher School Certificate.
  • Students who complete the course are not eligible for the calculation of an Australian Tertiary Admission rank (ATAR).

Course Description

In the English Studies course, students explore the ideas, values, language forms, features and structures of texts in a range of personal, social, cultural and workplace contexts. They respond to and compose texts to extend experience and understanding, access information and assess its reliability, and synthesise the knowledge gained from a range of sources for a variety of purposes.

Main Topics Covered

Preliminary Course (120 indicative hours):

  • The module 'Achieving through English – English and the worlds of education, careers and community' is mandatory in the Preliminary course.
  • Students will study a total of 3-5 modules (including the mandatory module), 20-40 indicative hours per module.

HSC Course (120 indicative hours):

  • The module 'We are Australians – English in citizenship, community and cultural identity' is mandatory in the HSC course.
  • Students will study a total of 3-5 different modules (including the mandatory module), 20-40 indicative hours per module.

The additional modules for both the Preliminary and HSC courses are selected from a list of elective modules within the syllabus. The elective modules may be studied in either course, but with an increasing level of challenge as students advance into the HSC course.

Schools may develop and offer one 20-hour module of their own design for the Preliminary year.

Particular Course Requirements

In each of the Preliminary and HSC courses students are required to:

  • read, view, listen to and compose a wide range of texts, including print texts and multi-modal texts
  • undertake study of at least one substantial print text and at least one substantial multi-modal text
  • be involved in planning, research and presentation activities as part of one individual and/or one collaborative project
  • engage with the community through avenues such as visits, surveys, interviews, work experience, listening to guest speakers and/or excursions
  • develop a portfolio of texts they have planned, drafted, edited and presented in written, graphic and electronic forms across all the modules undertaken during the year.

Course: Ceramics

Content Endorsed Course

Exclusions: Projects developed for assessment in one subject are not to be used either in full or in part for assessment in any other subject.

Ceramics is the art and technology of forming, firing and glazing clay to make a wide variety of products, ranging from building materials to ceramic ware such as plates, bowls and drinking vessels, jewellery, sculpture and decorative wall surfaces.

Contemporary applications of ceramics are constantly expanding. New industrial and high technology uses are being found and artists and designers are exploring new expressive forms. Ceramics provides challenging work opportunities for students in such areas as studio and industrial ceramics, ceramic research, engineering and product design.

This course enables students to develop an understanding of ceramic processes and practices, and the ways in which these can be used in making a range of products. Students develop a critical appreciation of the aesthetic, expressive and utilitarian qualities of ceramic forms in contemporary and past societies, and knowledge of the diverse applications of ceramics in contemporary society and ways of valuing the skills involved in making well-crafted forms. They also develop skills to give form to their ideas and feelings in ceramic products.

Main Topics Covered

Modules include:

  • Handbuilding
  • Throwing
  • Sculptural Forms
  • Kilns
  • Glaze Technology
  • Casting
  • Surface Treatment
  • Mixed Media.

The Introduction to Ceramics (Core) and Occupational Health and Safety modules are mandatory. The additional module Ceramics Project extends students' learning experiences and may reflect students' increasing interests and desire to specialise in one or more area of ceramics.

Particular Course Requirements

Students are required to keep a diary throughout the course.

Course: Computing Applications

Content Endorsed Course

Exclusions: Board Developed Courses – Information Processes and Technology; Software Design and Development and courses within the Information Technology Curriculum Framework.

Computers and related information technology permeate all aspects of contemporary life. Computer technology has become an integral part of the workplace and it has also become an increasingly obvious part of our entertainment and recreation.

Computing and related information is a 'hands-on' skills based course aimed at developing the student's abilities to utilise hardware and software to complete a range of practical experiences in a broad range of topic areas. Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of the role of computing in completing tasks and enable them to be confident users of the technology. Students will also develop skills in evaluation and be able to discriminate in the use of this technology to accomplish a defined task.

It is expected that the target group for Computing Applications is those students who have had little practical experience in using computers. Schools may choose from a range of modules to develop a program of study that suits the needs of the group of students.

Course: Exploring Early Childhood

Content Endorsed Course

Exclusions: Nil

Our society is increasingly recognising children's experiences in the early childhood years as the foundation for future growth, development and learning.

This course explores issues within an early childhood context and considers these in relation to the students themselves, their family and the community.

The study of this course will enable students to:

  • develop an awareness and understanding of the growth, development and learning of young children and the importance of the early childhood years
  • recognise the uniqueness of all children, including those who have special needs
  • become aware of the value of play in the lives of children, and consider means of providing safe and challenging environments for play
  • identify the range of services developed and provided for young children and their families
  • consider the role of family and community in the growth, development and learning of young children
  • reflect upon potential implications for themselves as adults, in relation to young children
  • understand and appreciate the diversity of cultures within Australia and the ways in which this influences children and families
  • become aware of the work opportunities available in the area of children's services.

Course: Marine Studies

Content Endorsed Course

Exclusions: Nil

The oceans cover more than 70 per cent of the earth's surface and influence all forms of life on this planet. Oceans are alternatively viewed as areas rich in minerals and marine life which can supply our needs virtually without limit, or as convenient dumping grounds for agricultural, industrial and domestic waste.

The growing demands of urbanisation, industry, recreation and tourism have increased the pressures on marine facilities and our fragile water ecosystems. There is a need for wise management practices and a responsible, realistic approach to conservation of marine resources into the twenty first-century.

Marine Studies provides an opportunity for students to view these issues in a comprehensive and global perspective.

Marine Studies provides an educational context, linked to the needs of a significantly coastal and waterways-based population, fostering links to tertiary study and vocational pathways. Further, this syllabus brings a wide range of marine-based leisure experiences to students in a safe setting. Marine Studies provides for both practical and theoretical learning and students' acquire skills to solve real life problems.

Through Marine Studies students will develop:

  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation that promote sound environmental practices in the marine environment
  • the ability to cooperatively manage activities and communicate in a marine context
  • an ability to apply the skills of critical thinking, research and analysis
  • knowledge and understanding of marine industries and their interaction with society and with leisure pursuits
  • knowledge, understanding and skills in safe practices in the marine context.

Course: Photography, Video and Digital Imaging

Content Endorsed Course

Exclusions: Projects developed for assessment in one subject are not to be used either in full or in part for assessment in any other subject.

Course Description

Photography, Video and Digital Imaging offers students the opportunity to explore contemporary artistic practices that make use of photography, video and digital imaging. These fields of artistic practice resonate within students' experience and understanding of the world and are highly relevant to contemporary ways of interpreting the world. The course offers opportunities for investigation of one or more of these fields and develops students' understanding and skills, which contribute to an informed critical practice.

The course is designed to enable students to gain an increasing accomplishment and independence in their representation of ideas in the fields of photography and/or video and/or digital imaging and understand and value how these fields of practice invite different interpretations and explanations.

Students will develop knowledge, skills and understanding through the making of photographs, and/or videos and/or digital images that lead to and demonstrate conceptual and technical accomplishment. They will also develop knowledge, skills and understanding that lead to increasingly accomplished critical and historical investigations of photography and/or video and/or digital imaging.

Main Topics Covered

Modules may be selected in any of the three broad fields of:

  • Wet Photography
  • Video
  • Digital Imaging.

Modules include:

  • Introduction to the Field
  • Developing a Point of View
  • Traditions, Conventions, Styles and Genres
  • Manipulated Forms
  • The Arranged Image
  • Temporal Accounts.

An Occupational Health and Safety Module is mandatory. The additional module Individual/Collaborative Project extends students' learning experiences and may reflect students' increasing interests and desire to specialise in one or more of these fields or explore the connections further between the fields.

Particular Course Requirements

Students are required to keep a diary throughout the course.

Course: Sport, Lifestyle and Recreation Studies

Content Endorsed Course

Exclusions: Students studying Board Developed PDHPE must not study CEC modules which duplicate PDHPE modules.

Students will learn about the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle and recognise the need to be responsible and informed decision-makers.

This course enables students to further develop their understanding of and competence in a range of sport and recreational pursuits. They are encouraged to establish a lifelong commitment to being physically active and to achieving movement potential.

Through the course students will develop:

  • knowledge and understanding of the factors that influence health and participation in physical activity
  • knowledge and understanding of the principles that impact on quality of performance
  • an ability to analyse and implement strategies to promote health, activity and enhanced performance
  • a capacity to influence the participation and performance of self and others.

The course provides the opportunity to specialise in areas of expertise or interest through optional modules such as:

  • Aquatics
  • Athletics
  • First Aid
  • Fitness
  • Specific Sports
  • Gymnastics
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Sports Administration
  • Coaching
  • Social Perspectives of Sport
  • Healthy Lifestyle.

Course: Visual Design

Content Endorsed Course

Exclusions: Projects developed for assessment in one subject are not to be used either in full or in part for assessment in any other subject.

Course Description

This course provides students with opportunities to exploit the links between art and design by designing and making images and objects in which aesthetic qualities and symbolic meanings are as important as utilitarian function. It encourages students to explore the practices of graphic, wearable, product and interior/exterior designers in contemporary societies and promotes imaginative and innovative approaches to design within the context of the Australian environment and culture.

Through the critical and historical study of designed images and objects students are able to analyse and make informed judgements about the designed works that surround them – works which reflect and construct the image they have of themselves, others and their world.

The course is designed to enable students to gain an increasing accomplishment and independence in their representation of ideas in different fields of design and to understand and value how graphic design, wearable design, product design, and interior/exterior design, invite different interpretations and explanations. Students will develop knowledge, skills and understanding through the making of works in design that lead to and demonstrate conceptual and technical accomplishment. They will also develop knowledge, skills and understanding that lead to increasingly accomplished critical and historical investigations of design.

Main Topics Covered

Modules may be selected in any of the four broad fields of:

  • graphic design
  • wearable design
  • product design
  • interior/exterior design.

The additional module Individual/Collaborative Project extends students’ learning experiences and may reflect students’ increasing interests and desire to specialise in one or more of these fields or explore the connections further between the fields. The Occupational Health and Safety Module is mandatory in any course.

Particular Course Requirements

Students are required to keep a diary throughout the course.

Course: Work Studies

Content Endorsed Course

Exclusions: Nil

Structure of the course

The Work Studies CEC syllabus is available for study as a 1-unit 60-hour course; a 1-unit 120-hour course; a 2-unit 120-hour course; or a 2-unit 240-hour course.

The Work Studies CEC syllabus is available for study as a 1-unit 60-hour course; a 1-unit 120-hour course; a 2-unit 120-hour course; or a 2-unit 240-hour course.

Core - My Working Life

Modules - There are 11 elective modules which explore issues about work and work-related skills. Modules are studied for 15 to 30 hours.

Nature of the course

Work in all its forms – paid and unpaid – plays a central role in our lives. Technological, social and economic factors are rapidly changing the nature of work, the traditional patterns of work organisation and how individuals engage in work. The successful transition of students from school to the workforce and further education and training is essential for individuals and for society. Individuals will need to be flexible and responsive to change along their career pathway. Opportunities for workers to change jobs, develop new skills and to obtain new experiences will be part of the future world of work.

The Work Studies CEC syllabus is designed to assist students in their transition from school to work. It develops knowledge and understanding of the issues faced by students in the transition to work and the skills needed for effective career planning and performance of tasks in the work environment. Integral to the Work Studies syllabus is a focus on the development of essential workplace skills. They are central to the core module and each of the elective modules. Students have an opportunity to practise these skills in appropriate work contexts.

The Work Studies course will assist students to:

  • recognise the links between education, training, work and lifestyle, and to recognise the economic and social factors that affect work opportunities
  • develop an understanding of the changing nature of work and the implications for individuals and society
  • undertake work placement to allow for the development of specific job-related skills
  • acquire general work-related knowledge, skills and attitudes, transferable across different occupations
  • develop their skills in accessing work-related information, presenting themselves to potential employers, and functioning effectively in the workplace.
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