Modern Studies: Higher

The Higher Modern Studies Course develops learners’ knowledge and understanding of contemporary political and social issues in local, Scottish, United Kingdom and international contexts. In these contexts, learners develop an awareness of the social and political issues they may meet in life.

Pupils will study three main topics:

  • Democracy in Scotland and the UK
  • Social Issues in the UK
  • The USA(World Power)

Within Democracy in Scotland and the UK, pupils will learn about the role both the Scottish and UK Parliaments play in people’s everyday lives and their role within the EU. Furthermore, pupils will develop their understanding of how they can influence Scottish and UK politics through different means, such as voting and joining pressure groups.

Social Issues in the UK allows pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of the inequalities faced by millions of UK citizens in terms of income and health and how these inequalities can have a massive impact on their lives. Pupils also review the governments approach to tackling inequalities and the extent to which they have been successful.

From studying the USA, pupils are given the opportunity to review how a different world power to their own is run. This is done through examining the US political system, understanding their worldwide influence and researching their inequalities and why these exist.


All pupils will be assessed throughout the course in a variety of ways. Pupils will self-assess, peer assess and be subjected to ongoing assessment in the department as well as more traditional methods of ascertaining pupil progress. Progress will be closely monitored to ensure all pupils are supported in helping them achieve their very best grades.

In order to achieve Higher Modern Studies pupils will have to undertake:

    • A research assignment (worth 27% of their overall mark)
    • A final exam (consisting of 2 papers, worth 73% of their overall grade combined)