Modern Studies


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

Learners develop the skills which will enable them to interpret and participate in the social and political processes they will encounter now and in the future.

Students will encounter controversial issues. To deal with these they are taught to use social science methods to deal with them.

Modern Studies makes a distinctive contribution to the curriculum by drawing on the social sciences of politics, sociology and economics..

Modern Studies has a lead role to play in developing the 4 capacities. It also has a valuable cross-curricular contribution to themes which permeate the curriculum.

  • Media education
  • Multi-cultural education
  • Equal opportunities
  • Technological education
  • Environmental education
  • English
  • RMPS
  • PSE


In S2 themes covered include the needs of developing countries and the nature of the aid they receive; the threats to global security and attempts by governments to respond to these and finally an introduction to participation and representation in modern democracies.

From S3 onwards Modern Studies learners will gain a knowledge and understanding of democracy in the UK and Scotland; social issues including crime and law and inequality in the UK. They will also study the USA as an example of a global power. In S6 Advanced Higher Students undertake a comparative study of the UK and the USA.

Modern Studies offers courses at National, Higher and Advanced Higher levels.

Nationals in a Nutshell

Career pathways

Assessment Calendars

National 4/5

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