Politics: Higher


The Higher Politics Course develops learners’ knowledge and understanding of key political concepts. The theoretical perspective of the course enables candidates to identify, explore and analyse political issues in order to develop their own views and perspectives. Pupils develop analysing and evaluating skills during the course which help them to interpret and understand political issues.

Pupils will study three main topics:

  • Political Theory
  • Political Systems
  • Political Parties and Elections

Within Political Theory, pupils study the key political concepts of power, authority and legitimacy, with particular reference to the work of Steven Lukes and Max Weber, and analyse the relevance of these concepts today. They will then study the nature of democracy and the arguments for and against direct and representative democracy, including the works of relevant theorists. Finally, pupils will study the key ideas of Conservatism and Socialism, including the work of relevant theorists.

Political Systems allows pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of the constitutional arrangements in different political systems, the UK and the USA. The detailed study of the political systems focuses on the roles of the executive and legislative branches within each system. Pupils compare and contrast the respective powers of individual branches of government within the two political systems, and draw balanced conclusions about these

From studying the Political, compare the electoral impact of two different dominant ideas. This can either be from within one political party or between two different political parties. Pupils 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.


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 Politics 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)