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11–12Geography 11–12 (2022) Syllabus

Implementation from 2024

Course overview

The Geography 11–12 Syllabus aligns with the Geography Life Skills 11–12 Syllabus to provide opportunities for integrated delivery.

Through collaborative curriculum planning, it may be decided that Life Skills outcomes and content are the most appropriate option for some students with intellectual disability.

Course structure and requirements

Course numbers:

  • Geography (Year 11, 2 units): 11190
  • Geography (Year 12, 2 units): 15190

Exclusions:

  • Geography Life Skills (Year 11, 2 units): TBA
  • Geography Life Skills (Year 12, 2 units): TBA
  • Human Society and its Environment Life Skills (Year 11, 2 units): TBA*
  • Human Society and its Environment Life Skills (Year 12, 2 units): TBA*

*Where Geography is undertaken within the course. 

The following diagram illustrates the elements of the course and their relationship.

Diagram for the Geography 11-12 syllabus. More details in text following diagram.
Figure 1: The organisation of content for Geography 11–12 syllabus

Image long description: This is a diagram outlining the organisation of content for the Geography 11–12 Syllabus. Along the top are the focus areas Earth’s natural systems, People, patterns and processes, Human–environment interactions, and Geographical Investigation, labelled as Year 11. At the bottom are the focus areas Global sustainability, Rural and urban places, and Ecosystems and global biodiversity, labelled as Year 12. In the middle is Geographical concepts, Geographical inquiry skills and Geographical tools. A line connects the 3 labelled ‘Thinking and working geographically’ on the top and ‘Knowledge, understanding and skills’ on the bottom.

Year 11 course structure and requirements

The Year 11 course is structured to provide students with opportunities to develop and apply their understanding of the geographical concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, scale, sustainability and change. Students investigate natural systems; people, patterns and processes; and human–environment interactions. They develop an understanding of the nature and value of geographical inquiry through planning and conducting a geographical investigation.

Year 11 course (120 hours)

The course comprises 4 focus areas and students are required to study all 4.

GeographyIndicative hours
Earth’s natural systems40
People, patterns and processes40
Human–environment interactions20
Geographical Investigation20

Geographical inquiry skills and tools

The geographical inquiry skills and tools content is to be integrated throughout the course. The focus areas and studies provide the contexts for developing and applying inquiry skills and tools.

The geographical tools are to be integrated with the content of the Year 11 course. Students are to develop an understanding of the purpose and value of particular tools and how they can be used; ie their real-world applications.

A broad range of geographical tools should be integrated into each Year 11 focus area as appropriate. The application of tools in geographical inquiry will depend on the nature of the investigations conducted by students.

If required, selected tools should be accessible for students with disability, eg tactile maps, accessible choropleth maps for colour-blind students, and tactile photography.

Fieldwork

Twelve (12) hours of fieldwork are mandatory for the Year 11 course. Fieldwork may be integrated in an individual focus area or across focus areas as appropriate.

Some students with disability may require adjustments and/or additional support to engage in fieldwork.

When conducting fieldwork that involves people, ethical practices such as adherence to intellectual property (IP) rights must be considered. If fieldwork is proposed for Aboriginal sites, or is about Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples and cultural heritage, Indigenous cultural and intellectual property (ICIP) is an ethical consideration.

In such cases, participants should be familiar with a range of cultural protocols for working with Aboriginal communities and ensure appropriate consultation occurs with local communities and education consultants. For more information refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander principles and protocols.

Learning across the curriculum

The content includes opportunities for students to investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia, and Sustainability. Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, and Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia must be included in Stage 6, and can be integrated flexibly and in different ways.

The syllabus includes references to Indigenous, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous cultures and Indigenous practices. These terms are used when referring collectively to the first peoples of the land in international contexts. Sustainability is included within syllabus content for Geography Stage 6.

Applying geography in the contemporary world

Students are to develop an appreciation of the relevance of geographical understanding to particular professions and to responsible management, in the context of each Year 11 focus area. This may be done flexibly and in different ways.

Earth’s natural systems

Students investigate the diverse landscapes of the Earth’s surface and its distinctive physical features. They examine the cycles, circulations, interconnections and spatial patterns that combine to form the Earth’s integrated system, and investigate natural processes, cycles and circulations that change the Earth’s land and water cover.

This focus area includes an overview of the uniqueness and diversity of the Earth. It is intended to provide a broad perspective as a context for studying the focus area. Allocate a maximum of 4 hours to this part of the focus area.

People, patterns and processes

Students investigate evidence of human diversity across the Earth’s surface. They examine the spatial patterns and extent of the human footprint, and the human transformations shaping those patterns.

Students investigate the unique character of places and how various human processes are shaping them, through ONE of the following:

  • human resilience in diverse environments
  • local places and global economic change
  • place and cultural change
  • political power and contested spaces
  • technological advances and the transformation of places.

The study selected must not significantly overlap or duplicate studies selected for Year 12.

This focus area includes an overview of the diversity and extent of human activity. The overview is intended to provide a big-picture perspective as a context for studying the focus area. Allocate a maximum of 4 hours to this part of the focus area.

Human–environment interactions

Students investigate the global nature of land cover change, from temporal and spatial perspectives, as they examine the long-term development of natural systems compared to the short time frame of human activity. They investigate evidence for, and causes of, climate change, as well as the role of humans in contributing to land cover change.

Students investigate the interaction between the Earth’s natural systems and people through the study of ONE of the following:

  • a geographic region
  • a contemporary hazard
  • climate change.

The study selected must not significantly overlap or duplicate studies selected for Year 12.

This focus area includes an overview of change to the Earth’s natural systems over time. The overview is intended to provide a big-picture perspective as a context for studying the focus area. Allocate a maximum of 3 hours to this part of the focus area.

Geographical Investigation

Students plan and conduct ONE Geographical Investigation to develop their understanding of the nature of geographical inquiry through practical research and applying geographical concepts, skills and tools.

Further information about the investigation is provided in the Geographical Investigation section of this syllabus.

Year 12 course structure and requirements

The Year 12 course is structured to provide students with opportunities to develop and apply their understanding of the geographical concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, scale, sustainability and change. Students investigate global sustainability, rural and urban places, and ecosystems and global biodiversity.

Year 12 course (120 hours)

The course comprises 3 focus areas and students are required to study all 3.

GeographyIndicative hours
Global sustainability30
Rural and urban places45
Ecosystems and global biodiversity45

Geographical inquiry skills and tools

The geographical inquiry skills and tools content is to be integrated throughout the course. The focus areas and studies provide the contexts for developing and applying inquiry skills and tools.

The geographical inquiry skills and tools may be assessed in the HSC examination in relation to any of the Year 12 focus areas, as appropriate. Students are to develop an understanding of the purpose and value of particular tools and how they can be used; ie their real-world applications.

A broad range of geographical tools should be integrated into each Year 12 focus area as appropriate.

If required, selected tools should be accessible for students with disability; eg tactile maps, accessible choropleth maps for colour-blind students, and tactile photography. 

Fieldwork

Twelve (12) hours of fieldwork are mandatory for the Year 12 course. Fieldwork may be integrated into an individual focus area or across focus areas as appropriate.

Some students with disability may require adjustments and/or additional support to engage in fieldwork.

When conducting fieldwork that involves people, ethical practices such as adherence to intellectual property (IP) rights must be considered. If fieldwork is proposed for Aboriginal sites, or is about Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples and cultural heritage, Indigenous cultural and intellectual property (ICIP) is an ethical consideration.

In such cases, participants should be familiar with a range of cultural protocols for working with Aboriginal communities and ensure appropriate consultation occurs with local communities and education consultants. For more information refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander principles and protocols.

Learning across the curriculum

The content includes opportunities for students to investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia, and Sustainability. Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, and Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia, must be included in Stage 6, and can be integrated flexibly and in different ways.

The syllabus includes references to Indigenous, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous cultures and Indigenous practices. These terms are used when referring collectively to the first peoples of the land in international contexts. Sustainability is included within syllabus content for Geography Stage 6.

Applying geography in the contemporary world

Students are to develop an appreciation of the relevance of geographical understanding to particular professions and to responsible management, in the context of each Year 12 focus area. This may be done flexibly and in different ways.

Global sustainability

Students investigate sustainability in the contemporary world, including principles of, and actions for, sustainability.

Students study ONE global economic activity and its sustainability.

The study selected must not significantly overlap or duplicate studies selected for Geography Stage 5, the Year 11 course or other Year 12 focus areas.

Rural and urban places

Students investigate the spatial characteristics of diverse types of settlements, and the process of urbanisation and urban growth influencing rural and urban places at a global scale.

Students study:

  • ONE place in a rural setting and ONE place in a larger urban settlement
  • ONE large city of 5 million people or more, outside Australia.

Examples of places in a rural setting:     

  • regional centre
  • rural town
  • village
  • remote settlement

Examples of places in an urban setting:

  • suburb
  • urban precinct
  • urban corridor

The studies selected for the rural place, urban place and large city must not overlap.

The studies selected must not significantly overlap or duplicate studies selected for Geography Stage 5, the Year 11 course or other Year 12 focus areas.

Ecosystems and global biodiversity

Students investigate the functioning of ecosystems, their value, the roles of natural and human stresses, and trends in global biodiversity.

Students investigate TWO different types of ecosystems. They undertake a study to illustrate each type of ecosystem selected. At least ONE study is to be selected from outside Australia.

The studies selected must not significantly overlap or duplicate studies selected for Geography Stage 5, the Year 11 course or other Year 12 focus areas.