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While each year of a child’s schooling is important, Years 10 to 12 offer a unique opportunity in a student’s education journey. After all, it’s at this point in Victoria that secondary school students can take steps to lock-in their future education aspirations. This is the time when they will choose their VCE subjects for Years 11 and 12.

Effectively the VCE is the first step on the path towards a student’s preferred career. This makes it a hugely significant decision, so it is vital to be fully-informed about the VCE before making these all-important VCE subject choices.

What is the VCE?


VCE stands for ‘Victorian Certificate of Education’ and is the main, senior secondary school certificate in the state of Victoria. The VCE is typically undertaken by Victorian students in Year 11 and Year 12. While for most students the VCE is completed over two years, a student can take longer if required. For example, most Victorian secondary schools offer students the opportunity to begin some of their VCE units in Year 10. This is called ‘accelerating’.


The general idea behind the VCE is that it recognises a student’s successful completion of secondary education in Victoria. The VCE is seen as the beginning of the pathway towards tertiary education and employment, so subject choice can be vital in gaining entry to a student’s preferred course of study.

How does the VCE work?


Let us break this down for you. The VCE is made up of ‘studies’ and ‘units’. Each study is a subject that consists of four separate units, with each of these units being a semester in length (two terms).


Typically a student will complete units 1 and 2 in their first year (Year 11 for most), and units 3 and 4 in their second year (Year 12 for most). While a student can study units 1 and 2 as standalone units in no fixed order, units 3 and 4 must be studied in sequence. What is worth noting is that units 3 and 4 need to be completed in order and in the same year for a student’s study score to be calculated.

How many VCE subjects do you have to do?


To achieve a VCE, a student must successfully complete a minimum of 16 units. This works out as four ‘studies’ or subjects for VCE, with students having their pick out of a plethora of subjects. What is important to note is that all students must pick at least one English study.


While it is completely up to the individual, some students choose to take on more subjects - as there is no limit on the amount of studies that a student can complete. However, only a student’s best six study scores (including their best scaled English subject score) count towards their VCE and ATAR.

What is an ATAR?


Simply put, ‘ATAR’ stands for ‘Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank’ and is a number that highlights a student’s rank within their year group. It’s a way of universities being able to fairly compare students when it comes to course applications and admissions. After all, it’s a nationally recognised measure that’s not just exclusive to Victorian students. ATARs across all Aussie states are treated equally, which normalises the university application process.


The way that an ATAR is given is as a number between zero and 99.95. For example, if a student was given an ATAR of 72 it means that they have performed better than 72% of their year group. What needs to be made clear is that the ATAR doesn’t rank intellectual capability. It only charts how a student scored in comparison to others in their year group across the state.

VCE subjects - Key Learning Areas


The VCE offers over 90 subjects across nine ‘Key Learning Areas’. These Key Learning Areas are:

  • English

  • Languages (other than English)
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Technology
  • The Arts
  • Humanities
  • Business Studies
  • Health and Physical Education

View detailed VCE subjects list at bottom of page


What are the first steps towards choosing VCE subjects?


For a Year 10 student tasked with selecting their VCE subjects, there are a number of factors that they may like to consider. While many students don’t always have a fixed idea of which career they may wish to pursue, there are certain questions worth considering

What am I passionate or curious about?


Like with anyone, there will clearly be some subjects that ‘stoke the fire’ more than others. It is worth listing down those subjects that ignite a student’s passion and curiosity. Once completed, our advice is to find links between those subjects to see if any of them sit within the same VCE ‘Key Learning Areas’. If so, it would be worth exploring the different VCE subjects on offer within those Key Learning Areas. There could well be subjects that they’ve not yet had the chance to study in depth but would be excited and intrigued by.

What subjects have I always scored high in?


For those who find it difficult to highlight subjects or areas of focus that they’re particularly interested in, it makes sense to take a look back. For certain subjects they may discover trends where they’ve enjoyed consistently high marks. Our tip is to use these subjects as a starting point when exploring further VCE options.

What do I wish to study at university?


If a student has an idea of what they wish to study at university then it is wise to research the entry requirements - specifically in terms of VCE subjects successfully completed.

How does the VCE link to tertiary education options?


A student’s VCE subject choices can be vitally important when applying for their desired university degree.


If tertiary education is indeed an option further down the line, taking the time to consider potential degree or university course options makes sense for a Year 10 student. Having at the very least a general idea will serve them well when deciding upon VCE subject choices. Choices that broadly align to their tertiary education direction will help to ensure they’re not limited in their future options.


Whilst VCE subject choice is crucially important, so is ensuring that you have the funds in place to support your child through their lifelong education journey. Whether it’s school fees to see them through their primary and secondary education to VCE or university tuition costs further down the line, Futurity's Education Bonds may be the wise choice to start saving for these eventualities.


VCE subjects list

Each individual school will decide which subjects for VCE it offers to students. The full list of VCE subjects available is as follows:



  • Bridging English as an Additional Language
  • English and English as an Additional Language
  • English Language
  • Foundation English
  • Literature

Languages (other than English)


First Languages

  • Chinese First Language
  • Indonesian First Language
  • Japanese First Language
  • Korean First Language
  • Vietnamese First Language
Second Languages
  • Arabic
  • Chinese Second Language
  • Chinese Second Language Advanced
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Indonesian Second Language
  • Italian
  • Japanese Second Language
  • Korean Second Language
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese Second Language
Collaborative Curriculum and Assessment Framework for Languages (CCAFL)
  • Armenian
  • Auslan
  • Bengali
  • Bosnian
  • Chin Hakha
  • Croatian
  • Dutch
  • Filipino
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Karen
  • Khmer
  • Macedonian
  • Maltese
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Sinhala
  • Swedish
  • Ramil
  • Turkish
  • Yiddish
Classical Languages
  • Classical Greek
  • Classical Hebrew
  • Latin
Chinese Language, Culture and Society
  • Chinese Language, Culture and Society
Indigenous Languages of Victoria: Revival and Reclamation
  • Indigenous Languages of Victoria: Revival and Reclamation
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Science
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Foundation Mathematics
  • Further Mathematics
  • General Mathematics
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Specialist Mathematics


Design and Technologies

  • Agricultural and Horticultural Studies
  • Food Studies
  • Product Design and Technology
  • Systems Engineering
Digital Technologies
  • Algorithmics (HESS)
  • Applied Computing

The Arts


Performing Arts
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Music
  • Theatre Studies
Visual Arts
  • Art
  • Media
  • Studio Arts
  • Visual Communication Design
  • Australian and Global Politics
  • Classical Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Religion and Society
  • Sociology
  • Texts and Traditions
Business Studies
  • Accounting
  • Business Management
  • Economics
  • Industry and Enterprise
  • Legal Studies
Health and Physical Education
  • Health and Human Development

  • Outdoor and Environmental Studies
  • Physical Education
Extended Investigation
  • Extended Investigation