Why MLC > Curriculum & Learning > Humanities

The Humanities offer students a way of seeing and understanding the world, the great events and ideas that have shaped our society and the forces that affect our environment.


Humanities offerings at Methodist Ladies’ College form part of the core curriculum through Years 7-10. Humanities subjects at MLC include: History, Geography, Religion & Society, Philosophy and Australian & Global Politics. These subjects allow students to access the knowledge and skills they need to make sense of the world in which they live and contribute to it in a meaningful and informed way.
Choosing Humanities leads students to a range of VCE and IB offerings and a better understanding of the ways in which humans interact with the natural and human environments around them.
Year 7 historians explore the worlds of ancient civilisations, including Australia, Greece or Rome and India or China, developing their knowledge of ancient everyday life and interpreting political and social themes through the examination of written sources and other physical evidence.

Next, in Year 8, students examine various aspects of the Middle Ages in Europe and Japan, from crusades, Knights and the Black Death in Europe to feudalism and Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan. They study the changes that led to the Renaissance, and the scientific, religious and artistic achievements of this period.

The curriculum is comprised of three units in Year 9. Students examine the causes and effects of the Industrial Revolution, and how it changed the way people lived; in Making a Nation, the settlement of Australia, its colonisation and its federation are explored. Students also learn about World War 1 (1914-1918), looking at key events and the Australian experiences of the war.

In Year 10, students have the option of studying the American Dream and the complex narrative of this period. Topics cover the development of the Cold War and the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, historical figures such as Martin Luther King, as well as the experiences of difference social groups and issues of race, gender and class at this time.

VCE Revolutions sees students investigating the many complex causes and consequences of political revolutions such as the Russian Revolution (1917), the French Revolution (1789) and the American Revolution (1776). VCE Ancient History offers an insight into the societies of Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Not only do students examine the social, political and economic climates of these ancient societies, but also how they developed and have helped to shape the way we live and think now.

IB History students focus on events that shaped the 20th century. In Year 11, students complete two units: Move to War, a course that looks at the Japanese expansion in East Asia and German and Italian expansion in Europe; and Authoritarian States, which concentrates on Hitler, Mao and Stalin. For students taking IB History in Year 12, topics cover the Cold War, the Great Depression and the Second World War.
The Year 7 curriculum has two units of study: Water in World, which explores water as a resource and the ways in which it is perceived and valued. The other is Place and Liveability, which examines factors that influence the liveability of a place such as services, facilities and spaces.

Landforms and Landscapes, and Changing Nations are the two units studied in Year 8. Landforms and Landscapes investigates geomorphology, looking at the diversity of the world's landscapes with an emphasis on mountains. In Changing Nations, students look at human geography, exploring the causes and consequences of urbanisation and migration.

The curriculum in Year 9 covers Biomes and Food Security, which investigates the biomes of the world and the environmental challenges of expanding food production; and Interconnections, which looks at how transport, information and communication technologies have made it possible for an increasing range of services to be provided internationally and for people living in isolated rural areas.

In Year 10, students cover topics such as People Power and Global Faces, Global Places. People Power looks at the rapid expansion of our population and what the impact of this growth is; this subject also examines human rights and the empowerment of women, as well as the effects of viruses, diseases and war. Global Faces, Global Places investigates global, national and local differences in human wellbeing and the way in which we measure it, as well as the causes and effects of inequality.

The two units studied for Year 11 VCE are Hazards and Disasters, which examines the causes and impacts of geological, meteorological, biological and human-induced hazards; and Tourism, where students investigate the characteristics of tourism, as well as its various forms, its development and its impact on people, places and environments.

For Year 12 VCE, students cover two units: Changing the Land and Human Population. Changing the Land looks at processes such as deforestation and melting glaciers and how people have used land for housing and resources provision. In the unit Human Population, students explore patterns of population change and movement and how governments and organisations have responded to these changes in different parts of the world.

Fieldwork is an integral part of Geography, and students learn to collect data, record and analyse it, and report their findings. Fieldwork excursions see the students conduct research on homelessness and the demographics of the population in the CBD and Lygon Street, as well as other Melbourne-based locations. 
Religion and Society
The Religion and Society course in Year 7 encourages students to question the meaning of religion, for others and themselves. Students consider identity and values based on their own beliefs and values and look into ancient civilisation creeds and codes of behaviour. They explore common Australian values and how we, as a secular and multi-faith nation, provide justice through our legal system. 

In Year 8 Religion & Society, students gain an understanding of the diversity of beliefs found within Australian society and that we have numerous laws that protect this diversity of beliefs. Students study two religions: Christianity and Buddhism and the worldview of each religion is considered, including the laws and government systems that have been put in place to protect the freedoms and expressions of religion in society.

In Year 9 Religion & Society, students study the concept of civic duty and the three tiers of government in Australian society. They investigate religious issues that face our secular society and explore possible solutions. Students identify and explore their own values and those of significant individuals, and reflect on issues affecting interpersonal relationships.  

In Year 10 Religion & Society, students study three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Through exploring these religions, students develop tolerance and understanding of the beliefs of others within a broader cultural understanding of what it means to be an Australian.

In Year 11, students who continue to study Religious Education study four topics: World Views, Grace and Mercy, Ethics, and Ethical Relationships. These topics provoke meaningful discussions that range from comparing major Western and Eastern world views and exploring the themes of grace and mercy through the film 'Les Miserables', to analysing and debating ethical issues such as slavery and considering the role of faith for an individual.
Australian and Global Politics
Year 11 students cover a range of contemporary political ideas, parties and systems, looking at the influence of political parties and their roles in shaping the Australian political system. More international themes are also investigated, exploring the global community of the 21st century and its managing of co-operation and conflict, as well as organisations such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation.

The course in Year 12 continues to examine global politics with students investigating the key global factors of contemporary global politics and the challenges facing the international community, including ethical issues and global crises.
In Year 10, students have the opportunity to study Philosophy, investigating philosophical problems such as knowledge, reality, ethics and logic, and learning about the works of famous philosophers including Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Mary Wollstonecraft and Peter Singer. Students learn to explore, evaluate and challenge philosophical concepts and arguments using primary texts, films, group discussion and community of inquiry.
Please note: this list is to be used as a guide and subject offerings may vary per year. Please confirm with Admissions for specific subjects.

Humanities Pathways:
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