History is a dynamic discipline that involves structured inquiry into the human actions, forces and conditions that have shaped the past and present. The study of history assists students to understand themselves, others, and the contemporary world, and broadens their perspective by examining a range of people, groups, events, ideas, and movements. The potential scope of historical inquiry is vast and formed by the questions that historians pursue, the availability of historical sources, and the capacity of historians to interpret those sources. VCE History reflects this by enabling students to explore a variety of eras, events and people. At GGS we offer Unit 1 and 2 courses in Ancient History and/or Modern History, and a Unit 3 and 4 course in Revolutions. Ancient History investigates individuals and societies (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and China) across three millennia. Modern History examines the causes and consequences of conflict and change in the modern era. Revolutions explores the causes and consequences of significant social upheaval (in France and Russia) in the modern period.

The study of history fosters the ability to think and read critically and empathetically, to ask searching questions, to engage in independent research, and to construct arguments about the past based on evidence. The skills and understanding that students develop when studying senior History are invaluable to tertiary education, many careers and to decision-making in the present.

VCE History options at GGS:


Units 1 and 2  Units 3 and 4 

Ancient History
Unit 1: Mesopotamia
Unit 2: Ancient Egypt


Modern History
Unit 1: Change and conflict
Unit 2: The changing world order 

Unit 3: French Revolution
Unit 4: Russian Revolution 

There are no pre-requisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students undertaking either of the Unit 1 and 2 History courses will develop skills and knowledge relevant to both History Revolutions Units 3 and 4 and/or Global Politics Units 3 and 4.

Ancient History – Units 1 and 2

Unit 1: Ancient Mesopotamia 

In this unit students investigate the emergence of early societies in Ancient Mesopotamia. The lands between the rivers Tigris and the Euphrates have been described as the ‘cradle of civilisation’. Although this view is now contested in ancient history and archaeology, the study of Ancient Mesopotamia provides important insights about the growth of cities and the development of civilisations.

1. Assessment Tasks (70%)
2. Examination (30%)

Unit 2: Ancient Egypt or Early China (at teacher’s discretion) 

Ancient Egypt:

Ancient Egypt gave rise to a civilisation that endured for approximately three thousand years. Unlike Mesopotamia, Egypt was not threatened by its neighbours for the greater part of its history. Kingdoms rose, flourished and fell around the banks of the River Nile – the lifeblood of urban settlements in Upper and Lower Egypt. In this unit students investigate features of the Old Kingdom Egypt and the representation of power, authority, beliefs, values and attitudes in Middle Kingdom Egypt and the Second Intermediate Period.


Early China: 

Early China begins with the pre-imperial period (up to 221 BCE) which is known as Ancient China and concludes with the end of the Han Empire in 220 CE. Students initially investigate the development of civilisation in early China and use a range of primary sources to investigate the origins and features of early civilisations. Students will subsequently consider the rise, expansion and fall of the Qin and Han dynasties, and how these dynasties presented their power and authority.

1. Assessment Tasks (70%)
2. Examination (30%) 

VCE Modern History – Units 1 and 2

Unit 1: Change and Conflict

Modern History provides students with an opportunity to explore the later part of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century in a global context. Students will initially focus on the topic of ideology and conflict and will examine events, ideologies, individuals, and movements of the period that led to the end of empires and the emergence of new nation states before and after World War One. They will investigate the impact of World War One on nations and how, despite the post-war peace treaties and the establishment of the League of Nations, the world became increasingly hostile and unstable, and a second global conflict began. Students will also consider the significant social, political, economic, cultural, and technological change in the 1920s and 1930s. Through a consideration of change in nations such as the USA, Germany or the USSR, students will examine the patterns of social and cultural change in everyday life and analyse the conditions which influenced these changes.

1. Assessment Tasks (70%)
2. Examination (30%)  

Unit 2:The changing world order

In Unit 2 students explore the nature and impact of the Cold War and challenges and changes to social, political, and economic structures and systems of power in the second half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century. Students will investigate the causes and consequences of the Cold War; the competing ideologies that underpinned events, the course of the war including proxy wars and conflicts, the consequences on people, groups and nations, and the causes of the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR. In addition, there will also be a study of key political and/or social movements that challenged the traditional ideas, values, and political systems of the time. This will include a focus on the anti-apartheid campaign in South Africa, with a consideration of the causes, methods, and achievements of the movement.  


1. Assessment Tasks (70%)
2. Examination (30%)   

VCE Revolutions - Units 3 and 4


Revolutions represent great ruptures in time and are a major turning point in the collapse and destruction of an existing political order which results in extensive change to society. Students will investigate the significant historical causes and consequences of two political revolutions: the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of October 1917.

In both units, students will develop an understanding of the complexity and multiplicity of causes and consequences in the revolutionary narrative. They will learn to ask historical questions and construct arguments using primary sources and historical interpretations as evidence. Students will analyse the different perspectives and experiences of people who lived through dramatic revolutionary moments and use historical interpretations to evaluate the causes and consequences of revolution.

1. Coursework – Unit 3 (25%)
2. Coursework – Unit 4 (25%)
3. Examination (50%)

Across Units 3 and 4, students will complete four pieces of coursework: a historical inquiry, evaluation of historical sources, extended responses, and an essay.



Group 3 - History
Year 11 and 12 - IB