Physics (Advanced Higher)

Why study Physics?

This course is designed to increase your knowledge and understanding of the concepts of Physics and its many applications in modern society. It provides the opportunity to develop skills necessary to find solutions to scientific problems, such as experimenting, investigating and analysing, and gives a deeper insight into the structure of the subject. The course makes a valuable contribution to your general education and provides a sound basis for further study.

The skills you learn on this course are valuable for careers in medicine, energy, industry, material development, the environment and sustainability.

What do I need to get in?

This is at the discretion of the school/college but you would normally be expected to have attained one of the following:

What will I study?

The course comprises four areas of study.

Rotational Motion and Astrophysics

You will study:

  • concepts and principles in a wide variety of situations involving angular motion
  • gravitation through an astronomical perspective
  • general relativity and stellar physics.

Quanta and Waves

You will study:

  • concepts and principles in a wide variety of situations involving quantum theory and waves
  • non-classical physics
  • the origin and composition of cosmic radiation
  • simple harmonic motion and the development of wave theory.


You will study:

  • concepts and principles in a wide variety of situations involving electromagnetism
  • electric and magnetic fields
  • capacitors and inductors used in d.c. and a.c. circuits.

Units, prefixes and uncertainties

You will study:

  • units, prefixes and scientific notation
  • uncertainties
  • data analysis
  • evaluation and significance of experimental uncertainties.

How will I be assessed?

The course assessment consists of two components totalling 185 marks:

  • Component 1 – Question paper (155 marks)
  • Component 2 – Project (30 marks).

For Component 2, you will carry out an in-depth investigation of a physics topic and produce a project-report.

Both the question paper and the assignment are set and externally marked by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

The grade awarded is based on the total marks achieved across course assessment.

The course assessment is graded A-D.

Study Materials

SQA Past Papers Physics Advanced Higher
SQA Specimen Physics Advanced Higher Question Paper

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