Madras College

Modern Studies - Higher

Welcome to Modern Studies. This session, you have 3 dedicated teachers of Modern Studies who have a passion for their subject and who look forward to delivering Modern Studies in the senior phase.

Mr Robertson
Miss Warrender
Mr Gibson

This page aims to give you a very brief overview of the course structure and includes some useful links to support material.

Study support classes are always available - arrange with you teacher. This is open to all Senior Modern Studies classes.

Course Structure

  • Democracy in Scotland and the United Kingdom (Madras focuses on option two Democracy in the UK)
  • Social Issues in the United Kingdom (Madras focuses on Social Inequality)
  • International Issues (Option 2: World Power South Africa is taught presently at Madras)
  • Course Assignment (assessed by the SQA)
  • Final Exam (assessed by the SQA)

Course Detail

Democracy in Scotland and the UK

Candidates study aspects of the democratic political system in the UK including the place of Scotland within this system. Relevant case studies are used from either Scotland or the UK, or both Scotland and the UK.

  • possible alternatives for the governance of Scotland
  • implications of the UK's decision to leave the European Union (EU)
  • effectiveness of parliamentary representatives in holding government to account
  • strengths and weaknesses of different electoral systems used in elections within the UK
  • factors which influence voting behaviour including class, age and media
  • ways in which citizens can influence government decision-making, including pressure groups


Social Issue in the UK - Social Inequality

Candidates focus on the impact of social inequality on any relevant group.

  • reasons why income and wealth inequality exists
  • reasons why health inequalities exist
  • effect of inequality on a group or groups in society
  • individualist and collectivist debate
  • effectiveness of measures taken to tackle inequalities, including government measures


International Issues - World Powers

The study of a world power focuses on political and socio-economic issues. Candidates may choose a major world power from any members of the G20 group of countries, including the EU, but excluding the UK. Our focus in Madras is South Africa.

  • social, economic and political factors which have caused the issue
  • effects of the issue on individuals, families and communities
  • effects of the issue on the governments involved and the wider international community
  • effectiveness of individual countries in tackling the issue
  • effectiveness of international organisations in tackling the issue



  • End of Unit Assessments - 1 per unit described above
  • The Higher Course Assignment (30 marks - 27% of final grade)
    1 hour 30 minutes write up, under exam conditions
  • Higher Modern Studies Examination (80 marks - 73% of final grade)
    Paper 1: Skills-based paper lasting 1 hour 15 minutes (52 marks)
    Paper 2: Essay-based paper which lasts 1 hour 45 min (28 marks)


The assignment allows candidates to demonstrate the following skills, knowledge and understanding:

  • identifying a modern studies issue about which there are alternative views
  • researching a modern studies issue, using a range of sources of information
  • synthesising and analysing information from a range of sources
  • evaluating the usefulness and reliability of a range of sources of information
  • reaching a decision on the issue studied
  • showing detailed knowledge and understanding of the issue to support the decision reached
  • showing an awareness of alternatives to the decision
  • communicating information using the conventions of a report

Candidates use specified resources during the production of evidence stage. A structured template is available for the production of evidence.

The assignment component has 30 marks out of a total of 110 marks for course assessment. The assignment is therefore worth 27% of the overall marks for the course assessment.

Useful Resources

  • SQA Course Specification with detail on each unit area
  • Understanding Standards with assessment details on the Exam Paper and Assignment
  • Microsoft TEAMS - All pupils have been added to the Higher Modern Studies TEAM (all pupils have access to the MS suite when logging on via GLOW, word, OneDrive, PowerPoint, excel etc)
  • BBC Bitesize Higher Modern Studies page
  • There are many more websites and resources. Pupils should check TEAMS on a regular basis as resources will be posted there.


  • Advanced Higher Modern Studies
  • Higher Politics in S6
  • Scottish Baccalaureate in Social Subjects.