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Social subjects with MODERN STUDIES


The focus of Modern Studies is to develop learners' knowledge and understanding of contemporary political and social issues in local, Scottish, United Kingdom and international contexts.  

It also helps you develop important skills. For example you will become better at critically evaluating information, analysing complex sources and report writing. 


Together, the knowledge you acquire and the skills you develop will allow you to become a more informed individual, able to participate more effectively in society in a more tolerant and responsible manner.


There are four main units in the course: 

Gangs and Guns in the USA – in this unit you will explore the issues surrounding gun ownership and gang membership in 21st century America. Why do Americans own guns? Why are there so many massacres in the USA? What makes someone join a gang? What are the effects of gun ownership and gang membership?   

Research methods – in this unit you will learn about the different ways in which you can carry out research across the social subjects.  Part of this unit will be given over to an added value unit – the is the production of an individual piece of research on the issue of guns or gangs in the USA. This is good practice for your Nationals next year. 

The Middle East and North Africa – here we will explore the issues affecting some of the countries in the area including Libya, Yemen and Syria.  Given the everchanging nature of this topic lessons may need to be adapted as we go through the unit. However the focus will be on causes and effects of different types of conflict. For example this has included the rise and now fall of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.   

Modern Studies skills – as we prepare for S4 we will practice National 4 and National 5 level skills questions.  These questions cover the skills of making conclusions, making and justifying decisions and supporting and opposing points of view.  


By working through these units you will experience and develop:   

  • An understanding of the present and an ability to think independently    

  • an understanding of the relationship between factors contributing to, and the impact of, present day events    

  • the skills of making conclusions, making and justifying decisions and supporting and opposing points of views   

  • the skills of researching and producing a piece of individual research 



The course assessment consists of a variety of different learning experiences such as group work, presentations, class discussions, class debates, as well as assessments.  Pupils will develop their skills on how to answer exam type questions which can be used if they wish to continue further with Modern Studies.   


Everything you need to know before selecting this course


Homework will be mainly come in the form of research, for example for your police report or carrying out a survey for your added value unit. There will also be more traditional question and answer activities.  

How you will be assessed

A police report on a massacre in the USA 

An added value unit combining the topics of Gangs and Guns in the USA and Research Methods. This will be a research project on either the right to own a gun or gang membership 

End of unit assessment on Middle East and North Africa 

Practice National 4 and National 5 past paper questions 


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 teacher, politician, police, civil servant, lawyer, paralegal, social worker, economist, charity worker and journalist.   



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, making and justifying a decision, supporting and opposing points of view.   

S4 and beyond

Progression can be National Modern Studies or National People and Society  

Any National Social Subject  


Information from pupils who have studied this course as to how they feel it was.



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