Physics (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?

Entry is at the discretion of the school or college, but you would normally be expected to have achieved:

What will I study?

The course consists of three areas of study.

Our dynamic Universe

Topics covered: motion – equations and graphs; forces, energy and power; collisions, explosions and impulse; gravitation; special relativity; the expanding Universe.

Particles and waves

Topics covered: forces on charged particles; the Standard Model; nuclear reactions; inverse square law; weave-particle duality; interference; spectra; refraction of light.


Topics covered: monitoring and measuring AC; current, potential difference, power, and resistance; electrical sources and internal resistance; capacitors; semiconductors and p-n junctions.

How will I be assessed?

The course assessment has three components totalling 175 marks:

  • Component 1: question paper 1 (multiple choice) – worth 25 marks
  • Component 2: question paper 2 – worth 130 marks
  • Component 3: assignment – worth 20 marks.

For the assignment component, you will be asked to investigate a relevant topic in physics, in which you conduct research, gather data or information from the internet, books or journals and carry out experimental work. You must produce a report based on your research.

Both the question papers 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

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