Social Sciences

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Social Science fieldwork 1

Social Science fieldwork 2

Social Science fieldwork 3

Social Science fieldwork 4

Social Science fieldwork 5

Our Philosophy

The Social Science Faculty strives to become a faculty of excellence in teaching and learning by encouraging independent thinking and creativity in an intellectually stimulating environment.

Our objectives

  • To implement teaching strategies for the development of independent and critical thinking;
  • To develop a stimulating and cooperative learning environment for both staff and students;
  • To prepare students for active involvement within our contemporary society.

Junior School Courses

All students study Geography for 1 semester (2 terms) in Years 7 and 8. The Stage 5 Geography and Commerce course is compacted and completed in Year 9. Students may elect to study elective Commerce and elective Geography in Year 10.


The aim of the Geography Years 7–10 program is to stimulate students’ enjoyment of and interest in the interaction of the physical and human environments. Students achieve this as they develop geographic knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes and engage in the community as informed and active citizens.

Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 1H Year 9 2H
Landscape and Landforms Water in the World Sustainable Biomes Environmental Change and Management
Place and Liveability Interconnections Changing Places Human Wellbeing

Geography Elective (Year 10)

Geography is seen as one of the key subjects needed to understand some of the world’s most pressing problems – population, climate change, agriculture, food and water security etc. This course will give you the opportunity of studying some of these aspects in detail and help you make more informed decisions. The Geography (Elective) course provides students with the opportunity for learning through the engagement with a wider selection of Geography content than is offered in the Civics and Citizenship based compulsory course. It provides students with a broader understanding of the discipline of Geography and the processes of geographical inquiry, and enables depth studies in 4 of the topics below (students will have choice in what topics are studied).

Programs will be developed from at least four of the eight focus areas in Geography:

  1. Physical Geography
  2. Oceanography
  3. Geography of Primary Production
  4. Development Geography
  5. Australia's Neighbours
  6. Political Geography
  7. Interaction and Patterns along a Continental Transect
  8. School-developed Option

Some students will be offered a more individualized programme. 


The aim of the Commerce Years 7–10 program is to enable young people to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to research and develop solutions to consumer, financial, legal, business and employment issues in order to make informed and responsible decisions as individuals and as part of the community.

Year 9 Year 10
  1. Consumer Choice (core)
  2. Personal Finance (core)
  3. Investing (option)
  4. Promoting and Selling (option)
  5. Running a Business (option)
  6. Law and society (core)
  7. Employment Issues (core)
  8. Political Involvement (option)
  9. The Australian Economy (option)
  10. Global Links (option)
  11. Law in Action (option)
  1. Political Involvement
     - Political Philosophy
  2. Our Economy
     - History of Economic Thought
  3. Running a Small Business
     - Business Plan and Accounting
  4. Law and Society (Human Rights)
     - Mock Trials

Senior School Courses

HSC courses in Business studies, Earth and Environmental Science, Economics, Geography and Legal Studies are offered to students for study in Years 11 and 12. Our HSC results in these subjects have consistently been considerably above the state average.

Business Studies

The Preliminary course is based on a study of three compulsory topics (Nature of Business, Business Management, Business Planning) and the completion of a Business Research Task. The Business Research Task is a project undertaken throughout the course to support course concepts. The HSC course is based on a study of four compulsory topics (Operations, Marking, Finance, Human Resources).  The ordering of the topics is not prescriptive and in practice may be influenced by students’ needs, interests and access to case study and other resources.
Business Studies Course Structure


The Preliminary course is essentially microeconomic in nature, focusing on aspects of the economic behaviour of consumers, business and governments. Much of this behaviour is influenced by the operation of markets. Two key markets, the labour market and the financial market, are examined in detail. The Preliminary course provides an essential foundation for the HSC course. The HSC course focuses on the management of an economy and is therefore essentially macroeconomic in nature. It examines the external framework in which the Australian economy operates. The course investigates the impact of the global economy on the Australian economy and the link between economic issues and the management of an economy, with specific reference to the Australian economy.
Economics Course Structure


In the preliminary course, students undertake study of two topic areas: Biophysical Interactions and Global Challenges. They also undertake a major Geography Project to complete their Year 11 assessment. In the HSC Course, students study three topic areas: Ecosystems at Risk, Urban Places and People and Economic Activity.
Geography Course Structure

Legal Studies

Legal Studies develops students' knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to the legal system and its effectiveness in promoting a just and fair society, with a view to empowering students to participate effectively as citizens at the local, national and international level. Studied themes include Justice, law and society, Culture, values and ethics, Legal processes and institutions, Conflict and cooperation and the Effectiveness of the legal system. In the preliminary course, students study two broad topics of the basics of the legal system and the Individual and the State. They then perform a focus study of two marginalised groups and their position the the law. In the HSC course, students engage in the topics of Law and Society and a number of focus studies on crime (compulsory) and two other general themes in law.
Legal Studies Course Structure


Outcomes and Results

Careers and Tertiary Courses

Tertiary courses in Commerce, Economics, Business and Law are very popular choices for students when they leave Sydney Boys High School.

Consistently, over 35% of students from High selected university courses in Commerce/Economics, Business and Actuarial Studies while 10% of students selected combined Law courses, others entered courses requiring further studies in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).


Excursions and fieldtrips remain a part of a wider pedagogical framework engaging students beyond traditional subject boundaries.


Participation in national competitions has remained high with a large number of students receiving awards of a credit or higher. Competitions include the National Geographic Australian Geography Competition, the UNSW PwC Australia and NZ Economics Competition, the UNSW PwC Business Studies Competition and the Planning Your Own Enterprise Competition.

Other extra-curricular activities

Social Science students participated in an array of other activities.

Year 7 conduct field study research at school exploring erosion issues around the newly contracted cola. Year 8 visit Bicentennial Park Wetlands as part of their study unit “Investigating Global Environments and Communities”. Stage 5 geographers (Year 9) visit Pyrmont as part of their studies investigating “Sustainable Sydney” and “Urban Dynamics”. Stage 5 geographers (Year 9) also attend Centennial Park as part of their study unit “Land and Water Management”. Stage 6 Geographers conduct a field study in the inner west as part of their study unit “Urban Dynamics”.

All students are also offered the opportunity to participate in the ASX Share Market game each year.