Course Information

Course Title: Modern Studies

Course Level: BGE


What is Modern Studies?

Modern Studies helps you to understand the most important issues in the world today. It helps you gather information about these issues, evaluate the information you have and, most importantly, it helps you to make your own mind up and come to your own conclusions about these issues.

Why should I choose Modern Studies?

Modern Studies is an excellent qualification for higher education, a good preparation for work and, of course, a good preparation for life. The modern studies course will build on the knowledge and skills learned in S1 and S2. Pupils are encouraged to develop important attitudes, including an open mind and respect for the values, beliefs and cultures of others an openness to new thinking and ideas, and a sense of responsibility and global citizenship. Modern Studies develops in pupils a greater understanding of the contemporary world and their place in it.

What will I study?

Modern studies consists of three topics and a production of one research based assignment.

All pupils will study the following units:

Assignment and AVU

The assignment and AVU gives pupils the opportunity to research a topic or issue that holds their interest. They will draw on knowledge and understanding to explain and analyse key features to reach a reasoned conclusion.

International Issues - Social, Political and Economic issues in the USA. 

Themes that are covered include:

  • Crime and Justice (punishment, victims, hate crimes, gun control)
  • Healthcare (lack of medical insurance, murder, drugs, obesity)
  • Education
  • Housing and Homelessness
  • Unemployment
  • Poverty
  • Elections
  • The American Dream
  • Immigration
  • Terrorism

Democracy in Scotland

Themes that are covered include:

  • features of a democratic political society
  • devolved and reserved matters
  • role and powers of Scottish First Minister
  • rights and responsibilities of individuals
  • elections and campaigning (role of individuals, political parties and the media)
  • Influence of the media
  • The role of pressure groups
  • role of MSPs
  • representation of women and minority groups
  • purpose, function and composition of Committees in the Scottish Parliament
  • Voting systems

Social Issues in the UK – Crime and the Law

Themes that are covered include:

  • nature and extent of crime in Scotland and/or the UK
  • evidence of crime in Scotland and/or the UK, such as official
  • reports and academic research
  • social, economic and biological causes and explanations of crime
  • Consequences of crime on perpetrators, victims, families and communities
  • role and structure of the criminal courts
  • powers and effectiveness of the criminal courts
  • government responses to crime
  • role, structure and powers of the police in Scotland
  • purpose and effectiveness of prisons

What can I do with Modern Studies?

There are so many jobs where a thorough grounding in Modern Studies is beneficial. These include:

  • Teacher
  • Lawyer
  • Police

“Modern Studies gives a great insight into the political and cultural workings of the country, and is one of the best tools for life long learning.”

Kirsty Wark, TV Broadcaster


“Higher Modern Studies offers excellent preparation for those wishing to study Law.”

Stephen Tierney, Lecturer in Law, University of Edinburgh



“Modern Studies arms young people to fight for what they believe in. Few things are more important in modern Scotland than making our democracy work for young people.”

Robert Brown, (Former Scottish Education Minister)


National 4/5
Higher Grade

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