Level 2 Social Studies

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: Ms S. McRae

The standards and topics offered in this course may be altered at the discretion of the Head of Department.

Senior Social Studies is about how societies work and how people can participate in their communities as informed, critical, active and responsible citizens. The focus at Level 2 is to understand how people meet their responsibilities and exercise their rights in local, national and global contexts; and understand how conflicts can arise from different cultural beliefs and ideas can be addressed in different ways.

Topics include:

  • Gun Debate in the USA 
  • NZ Cannabis Debate
  • The use of the death penalty (Criminology) 
  • Animal rights and animal psychology/Sunnynook Kindy social action
  • Cultural Conflict- North vs South Korea 

Students will also participate in a day long Crime Seminar at school where different speakers associated with crime and punishment in the community will give presentations, including prison wardens, NZ Police dog handlers and Psychologists/Sociologists.

Students may enter Level 2 Social Studies without having done the Level 1 course the previous year. A comprehensive introduction to key Level 2 skills will be undertaken early in Term 1. 

Students that take this subject will have opportunities to further develop their general knowledge, essay writing, research and critical thinking skills. 

Course Overview

Term 1
We will complete an introduction to the key concepts and skills using the debate in NZ over Cannabis legislation. We will look at a range of different perspectives.
Our first main unit will be on the US Gun Debate. Student will look at liberal and conservative perspectives on the debate over whether of not there should be greater gun control. We will also relate our learning from this to the situation over gun control legislation in New Zealand.

Term 2
Our second main unit of work will be on the clash of values and beliefs concerning the death penalty. Firstly, we will look at the global situation and then focus on the American justice system's use of the death penalty. Students will examine the I am Troy Davis social action campaign and why people around the world called for the Georgia Pardons and Patrols Board to grant African American man Troy Davis clemency.

For the next unit we turn our attention to Africa and look at the poaching wars that are raging as demand for rhino horn, ivory and other exotic animals continues to rise. Students work collaboratively to raise awareness about the animals at the centre of this environmental and conservation crisis.

Term 3
Our final unit of work is based on the theme of cultural conflict. We will explore the values and beliefs of North Koreans and why increasing numbers of citizens are demanding change in the most secretive nation on Earth. From the Mass Games to the Kim Family Dynasty- this topic is sure to challenge your thinking.

Term 4
We will be solely focus on revision for the NCEA external examination. We only do one external standard and it will be based on the unit covered in Term 3.


Level 3 Social Studies

This course will help prepare you for our complex world. Students doing careers that are people-focused careers and jobs will benefit for the issues and skills covered. If you are thinking about going into journalism, law, psychology, criminology, politics, social research, policy making, the Police, nursing, social work, teaching, public relations and customer service then this is the course that will help you in the future.

Recommended Prior Learning

Minimum 10 credits at Level 1 in Social Studies or for students who did not take Level 1 Social Studies 10 credits from English, or any other Social Science subject (Geography or History). These credits can be from internal and/or external achievement standards.
Approval from the HOD Social Sciences is required for students who do not meet prerequisites.

Credit Information

This course is eligible for subject endorsement.

Internal or
L1 Literacy Credits UE Literacy Credits Numeracy Credits
A.S. 91280 v2 Social Studies 2.2 - Conduct a reflective social inquiry
Term: null, Week: null
A.S. 91281 v2 Social Studies 2.3 - Describe how cultural conflict(s) can be addressed
A.S. 91282 v2 Social Studies 2.4 - Describe personal involvement in a social action related to rights and responsibilities
Term: null, Week: null
A.S. 91283 v2 Social Studies 2.5 - Describe a social action that enables communities and/or nations to meet responsibilities and exercise rights
Total Credits

Total Credits Available: 18 credits.
Externally Assessed Credits: 4 credits.
Internally Assessed Credits: 14 credits.


Courses will only run based on minimum entries

Selecting a course does not guarantee entry into this course

You may apply for an exemption if you do not meet the prerequisites of a course or if the course requires this for entry

Standards offered can be altered at the discretion of the HOF or HOD of the Department

Some standards in NCEA courses might be optional depending on student strengths