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The Higher Modern Studies course encourages candidates to develop a greater understanding of the contemporary world and their place in it. This will be achieved through the study of three main topics, Democracy in the UK and Scotland, Social Inequality and Underdevelopment in Africa as well as an independent study into a topic of the candidate’s choice. 


Higher Modern Studies


1 Year full time/

5 periods per week/ 160 hours


Assignment of up to 1 hour 30 mins


Paper 1 

1 hour 45 minutes 

Paper 2 

1 hour 15 minutes 




Mrs Cooper

Miss Jordan


Higher Modern Studies gives you the opportunity to develop important attitudes such as respect for the values, beliefs and cultures of others; openness to new thinking and ideas; and a sense of responsibility and global citizenship.  


It also emphasises the development and application of skills. The focus on evaluating sources and making decisions develops thinking skills, as well as skills in literacy and numeracy. Investigative and critical thinking activities give candidates opportunities to gain important experience in contributing to group work and working on their own. 


The course assessment consists of two question papers and an assignment 

Paper 1 will consist of questions from across the three sections of the course: Democracy in Scotland and the UK, Social Issues: Social Inequality and International Issues: Underdevelopment in Africa 

Paper 2 will consist of source questions which develop the skills of analysing, evaluating and synthesising.  

Both papers will be marked by SQA and is worth 80 marks out of 110 available.  

An assignment which is a write-up about research you complete into a Modern Studies topic of your choice. Some topics chosen in recent years have been on the Independence debate, tackling obesity and selling arms to Saudi Arabia.  

It will be marked by SQA and is worth 30 marks out of 110 available. 


Everything you need to know before selecting this course

entry requirements

Candidates should have achieved National 5 English as well as a National 5 social subjects or social science course, preferably National 5 Modern Studies or equivalent qualifications. Please speak to the Principal Teacher of Social Subjects for further details. 

what will you get?

National 5 in Modern studies

The course is graded  

A: Band 1, Band 2 

B: Band 3, Band 4 

C: Band 5, Band 6 

D: Band 7 


Everything you need to know about future pathways from this course


Most careers will benefit from your experience in Modern Studies however some jobs more closely related to the skills and knowledge developed include journalist, criminal intelligence analyst, solicitor, diplomatic service officer, economic development officer, local government officer, newspaper or magazine editor, political representative such as MP and MSP, police officer, social worker, tourist guide, TV production runner and welfare rights officer.  


Skills developed through Modern Studies: 

Problem Solving: 

working independently, resilience, time management, positive work ethic. 


leading groups, building confidence, organisational skills. You are required to complete coursework which demands you to take responsibility for your own learning and have a proactive, motivated attitude towards your studies. 


working successfully in a group, delegation, presenting information. 


working with others, presenting findings, using clear and concise language. 


making conclusions, detecting accuracy and evaluating the reliability of sources 

my world of work

This link will take you to an excellent resource on MyWOW which looks at potential career routes when you select a combination of subjects. 

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