Politics (Higher)

Why Study Politics?

The purpose of Higher Politics is to equip pupils to identify, explore and analyse political issues in order to develop their own views and perspectives. The Politics course is the study of important political concepts and ideologies, the comparison of different political systems, and the evaluation of factors that impact how political parties perform in elections. This course is for pupils who wish to achieve a greater understanding of politics in order to engage as active and informed members of society. Pupils will develop skills which are transferable to other areas of study and which they will use in everyday life.

Entry Requirements for pupils entering in S6

The course requires a high level of literacy skills, so is suitable for S6 pupils gaining Higher Modern Studies A-B grades or Higher English A-B grade or Higher History A-C grade or Higher RMPS A-C grades.

There are three units in this course:

  • Political Theory: Study the key political concepts of power, authority and legitimacy. The nature of democracy and the arguments for and against direct and representative democracy. The key ideas of two political ideologies (from Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism, Nationalism, and Fascism)
  • Political Systems: Focuses on the roles of the executive and legislative branches within different political systems. Study two of the following five political systems: the UK political system; the Scottish political system; the political system of the United States of America; the European Union political system; or the political system of the People’s Republic of China
  • Political Parties and Elections: Compare the electoral impact of two different dominant ideas. This can either be from within one political party or between two different political parties. Candidates can choose from the following: the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats or Scottish National Party. These ideas are studied alongside the impact of political campaign management strategies and theoretical analyses of voting behaviour.

Further details of units and course content can be obtained from the SQA website.


To progress towards a National 6 course award, pupils must first pass internal assessments covering the three units above, which will be sat throughout the year. To gain the final course

award, graded A-D, pupils must pass two external assessments; two question papers worth 80 marks and an assignment worth 30 marks.

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