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Curriculum Overview

As New Zealand’s leading academic secondary school for boys, Auckland Grammar School offers a dual qualification pathway: both the New Zealand National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) and the University of Cambridge International Exams (CIE). Click here for more information.

The below subjects are offered to students at the School and the pathways they can lead to.

Accounting: Accounting graduates can enter a variety of fields in business and administration. They may work for chartered accounting firms, government organisations, finance departments of business enterprises, sports and non-profit organisations, banks and financial institutions, or management consultancies. Because of its increasing emphasis on analysing and advising managers and other stakeholders on the financial state of an organisation, accountants are key people in any organisation and as such are well-placed to enter top management roles. To become a chartered accountant requires a four-year degree qualification at a university or polytechnic.

Art and Design: Many Fine Arts and Design students pursue their creative talents full-time as artists in their own right or commercial designers working in applied areas such as graphic design, product design, digital and media design, and spatial, landscape or fashion design. The importance of good design principles is being increasingly recognized in industry today as producers move away from mass-market products to niche and value-added production and consumers become more demanding of good visual design in the items they buy.

Art History: Graduates in Art History are employed as curators in art galleries, museums and private collections, and a variety of other employment opportunities exist in media and publishing, design companies, libraries and information services, performing arts organisations, government cultural programmes, advertising and promotions. An Art History major would typically be completed as a Bachelor of Arts degree as opposed to Fine Arts, although the two specialties could make an effective combination.

Biology: For pure Biology there are wide-ranging careers in Crown Research Institutes, government ministries (Conservation, Environment, Agriculture & Forestry, Health) public and private-sector organisations involved in forensic science, fisheries, aquaculture, oceanography, entymology, soil science, veterinary and medical services. There is also an expanding field of work in biosecurity as the need to protect a country’s plant and animal life against imported pests and diseases grows with globalisation. Biology expands at university level into specialised programmes which combine skills and knowledge with other subjects, for example Pharmacology (Biology with Chemistry), Biotechnology and Food Technology (Biology with Physics and Chemistry) Medical Imaging (Biology with Physics), Bioinformatics (Biology with Mathematics) and Biomedical Engineering (Biology with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics). It is also the major contributing science to specialised health courses such as Medicine, Veterinary Science, Physiotherapy, Sport and Exercise Science and Biomedical Science.

Business Studies: This can lead into a variety of business degree specialisations such as Management Studies, Marketing and Finance, and lead to successful careers in financial management, human resources management, information systems marketing and product management.

Career Studies: Note that is not a university-approved subject in terms of gaining University Entrance, rather it is a course designed to expose students to a wide range of employment and vocational skills and opportunities. Students will gain skills which are valued in the workplace and this course will assist students with the transition to the workplace and into vocational and industry-based tertiary pathways and careers.

Chemistry: Graduates with a major in Chemistry find career opportunities in New Zealand’s resource-based industries such as energy, forestry, dairy, petrochemicals, aluminium or biotechnology, working in applied technology, research and development, quality control, environmental control and monitoring, forensic science, sales and management. Good career opportunities also exist in the Crown Research Institutes, especially in the areas of materials technology and biotechnology. Chemistry is also a fundamental part of specialised programmes which combine skills and knowledge with other subjects, for example Pharmacology, Biotechnology and Food Technology (Chemistry with Biology and Physics). It also contributes to specialised health courses such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Veterinary Science and Biomedical Science. It is also a major contributing subject (with Physics and Calculus) in Engineering degree courses, particularly Chemical Engineering. Chemistry is also a required subject for entry into the Bachelor of Engineering course at the University of Canterbury.

Classics and Latin: A degree in Classics and/or Latin (typically a BA/MA) provides students with high-level analytical and critical reading and writing skills which are useful in any career where the ability to communicate effectively is valued. Graduates in Classical Studies and Latin are well-prepared for careers in fields such as law, politics, government, diplomacy, academia, teaching, journalism, publishing, the arts and media. Students whose intended career path is the Sciences or Commerce would also benefit from having Classics and Latin as part of their degree as they will not only enhance their communication skills, but will also give them a greater appreciation of different historical, social, political, artistic and literary contexts and familiarity with the basis of European languages and Western civilisation.

Economics: Economics can be studied as part of a Business/Commerce degree or an Arts degree, depending on the accent that the student wishes to put on his degree. Graduates in the more mathematically-oriented aspects of Economics find good career prospects in economic analysis and forecasting with organisations like Treasury, the Reserve Bank, Statistics NZ, commercial banks, stockbrokers, insurance companies, management consultancies and market research companies. Those with a more social policy-oriented interest tend to work in government policy ministries such as the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, social policy research organisations, city and regional planning, property, secondary or tertiary teaching, market research and export marketing.

English: A degree in English (typically a BA/MA) can lead on to careers wherever strong communication skills are an asset. These include journalism, law, creative and critical writing, speechwriting, publishing, the media, recruitment and human resources management, social service agencies, education at all levels, library and information services, central government social policy ministries, local government and, at times, financial market trading.

Geography: Many Geography graduates (with either Arts or Science degrees depending on the complementary subjects) find work in resource and urban planning, environmental impact and conservation studies, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) work, market research (using demographic analysis skills), social policy work in government, teaching, and planning consultancies. Geographical skills are also an important component in other professional degree courses like Planning, Surveying and Geology.

History: History graduates have a distinctive mix of skills that involve critical analysis of information, awareness of social values and influences, interest in world affairs and politics, and the ability to research and write effectively and persuasively. They may work in diplomacy, broadcasting, journalism, politics, public relations, historical research and archiving, museum curating, heritage protection or teaching. History is also a popular and skill-enhancing subject for Law students to include in their degrees.

Languages: Knowledge of languages other than English is useful in the global economy, especially in areas such as the hospitality industry, travel and tourism, export marketing, importing and outsourcing of manufacturing, entertainment and fashion, international finance, foreign diplomacy, interpreting, and social work involving migrants and refugees. Information services and teaching also offer strong job prospects for specialists in many popular languages. Languages offered at Auckland Grammar School include French, Japanese, Spanish and Te Reo Māori.

Mathematics: Mathematicians work in a surprisingly wide range of professions and applied skill sectors. Their skills are employed directly in statistical analysis and research, actuarial work for financial markets and insurance, economic forecasting, operations research in industry, logistical planning and management, computer programming and scientific and medical research. Mathematics is also an essential ingredient for degree courses in Engineering (with Calculus) and Surveying (with Geometry/Trigonometry) and features with Biology and Physics in medically based specialties such as Bioinformatics and Medical Imaging. Mathematicians are also in high demand at all levels of the teaching profession and in all areas of market analysis.

Music: Students with musical interests may opt for performance degrees or a more general theory-based degree course as part of an Arts degree. Performance graduates may be orchestra musicians, conductors, composers, sound engineers or producers, music teachers, therapists or critics. Music theory graduates may work in performing arts companies, film and media, entertainment and music promotion, tourism, multimedia or in music-based social programmes.

Physical Education: Graduates in this field often work in secondary teaching, but with the rise of more generic Sport & Fitness degrees and related courses and the rise of the outdoor recreation, professional sport and the “fitness industry”, work opportunities are now much broader. Increasingly also the adventure tourism and outdoor pursuits industry is employing young people with physical education skills and an interest in the outdoors. Physical Education also nurtures the skills needed for careers in areas like physiotherapy, nursing and paramedic work, although the importance of additional Science training for entry to these fields should not be underestimated.

Physics: Physicists are employed for their ability to measure, analyse and predict the behaviour of complex physical systems. As such they are extremely valuable in many areas of scientific research and technological development including geological, astronomical and climate change research, electronics, energy exploration and research, telecommunications, aviation and space travel development, military and industrial research. Physics is an essential subject for entry into Engineering degree courses and figures highly in applied programmes such as Medical Imaging, Optometry and Optoelectronics.

Technology and Graphics: The importance of good technological skills can never be underestimated and trained people with applied skills in all areas of trades and technology continue to be in high demand, as skill shortages remain even in times of recession. The skills imparted in school-based technology courses give a sound basis for further training in either traditional trades or applied technology for industry and information services. Graphics is an essential element of the design process and skilled technologists with Graphics and CAD/CAM skills are constantly in high demand in the engineering industry.

NOTE: All international students – entry into courses depends on a number of factors including confirmation of prior learning and ability in your chosen subjects and at least an intermediate level of English. Students without the prerequisite level of English on arrival will be referred to the onsite high school preparation class until the required English level is reached.

Junior students (those in Forms 3 and 4) study a major core of subjects consisting of English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Languages and a minor core of Physical Education, Music, Art and Technology. No major core subject will consist of a course of less than one year’s duration. Please download the Form 3 Curriculum and Assessment Guide here.

Form 5 students start a three-year programme that leads to University Entrance and/or further study in the tertiary sector with the introduction of Pre-Q, which replaced the IGCSE pathway. Click here for further information.