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The National 5 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, Terrorism, Crime and Law and Democracy in Scotland as well as an independent study into a topic of the candidate’s choice.  


National 5 Modern Studies


1 Year full time/

5 periods per week/ 160 hours


Assignment of 1 hour


Question paper of 2 hours 20 mins




Mrs Cooper

Miss Steele

Miss Jordan


National 5 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. 


You will develop knowledge and understanding of contemporary political and social issues in local, Scottish, United Kingdom and international contexts. You will develop the skills to interpret and participate in the social and political processes you will encounter throughout your life.  

The development of this knowledge and understanding and skills will be delivered through three main topics – Terrorism, Crime and Law and Democracy in Scotland. The topics of Terrorism and Crime and Law will focus on its causes, consequences and attempts at resolving it.  Democracy in Scotland will focus on power and decision-making, participation, representation, voting systems and influence.   


The course assessment consists of: 

A question paper which will sample questions from across the three sections of the course: Terrorism, Crime and Law and Democracy in Scotland.   The skills of making conclusions, choosing and justifying option and supporting and opposing a point of view will also be examined. It will be marked by SQA and is worth 80/100 marks available.  

An assignment which is a write-up about research you completed into a topic of your choice.  Some topics chosen in recent years include lowering the voting age to 16, arming the police in the UK and an evaluation of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. It will be marked by SQA and is worth 20/100 marks available. 


Everything you need to know before selecting this course

entry requirements

Taking Modern Studies in S3 would be beneficial however many candidates would still be capable of achieving National 5 without this. Please speak to the Principal Teacher of Social Subjects if this is the case.  

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. 

Leadership: 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. 

Teamwork: working successfully in a group, delegation, presenting information. 

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

Other: making conclusions, supporting and opposing a point of view and making and justifying a decision

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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