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Higher Politics makes a distinctive contribution to the curriculum through its study of important political concepts and ideologies, the comparison of different political systems e.g. the UK and USA, and the evaluation of factors that impact on the electoral performance of political parties. 




1 Year full time/

5 periods per week


Assignment of 1 hour and 30 mins


Paper 1:  

1 hour 45 minutes  

Paper 2:  

1 hour 15 minutes 




Mrs Cooper

Miss Jordan



The Higher Politics course contributes to candidates’ understanding of society by helping them to develop an understanding of political theory, political systems in the UK and international contexts, and factors affecting the electoral performance of political parties. Candidates develop a critical awareness of the nature of politics and the relationship between political theories, systems and political parties.  


Candidates build up a framework of political knowledge and understanding through interpreting, evaluating and commenting on political issues. They develop higher-order thinking skills through research and critical-thinking activities carried out individually and in groups. This develops attributes that are important for life and work. Candidates progressively develop skills especially in literacy and numeracy. 

Candidates 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 study the nature of democracy and the arguments for and against direct and representative democracy, including the works of relevant theorists.   


Candidates study the key ideas of two political ideologies (from Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism, Nationalism, and Fascism) including the works of relevant theorists, and draw balanced conclusions about the chosen ideologies.  


Relevant case studies are used from either local, national or international contexts, as well as different historical contexts.  


The course assessment consists of two question papers.  

Paper 1 will consist of questions from across the three sections of the course: Political Theory, Political Systems and Political Parties and Elections.  

Paper 2 will consist of source questions to develop skills by comparing and contrasting information and interpreting, synthesising and evaluating a wide range of electoral data. 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 political topic of your choice that invites discussion and debate.  Some topics chosen in recent years have been on political leaders, such as former Prime Ministers and political party leaders; Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May. 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 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?

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 Politics, however some jobs more closely related to the skills and knowledge developed include: civil service, diplomatic service officer, economic development officer, local government officer, trade union official, journalism, newspaper or magazine editor, broadcast journalist, media researcher, economist, political representative such as, local councillor, MSP and MP, European Union official, teacher, interpreter, solicitor, judge or sheriff, advocate, criminal intelligence analyst and business development manager. 



Skills developed through Politics: 


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


information handling, using graphs and multiple sources.  

Problem Solving: 

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

Thinking Skills: 

Applying knowledge, analysing and evaluating. 


enterprise and citizenship: active and responsible citizenship. 


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. 


making conclusions, making comparisons, justifying a decision, analysing how accurate sources are. 

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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