Modern Studies at National 4/5 Level


The course builds upon the source skills pupils have been developing in S1-3 and further deepens their knowledge and understanding of political, social and international issues. The course consists of three units:

Unit 1 - Democracy in Scotland: A study of Scotland’s place within the UK political system, through representation in the Scottish Parliament and the ways individuals can participate in Scottish Politics.

Unit 2 - Crime and the Law: Examining the nature, extent and causes of crime, its impact upon individuals and society and how the legal system can prevent and tackle crime.

Unit 3 - World Power USA: A study of the political system of the USA, its international relations around the world and the socio-economic inequalities the USA faces.

Added Value Unit: Modern Studies Assignment: Learners will choose an appropriate Modern Studies topic, which they will investigate through conducting their own research. They will communicate their own findings and come to an overall conclusion.

National 4 Assessment

To pass National 4 Modern Studies candidates must pass all of the mandatory units and the added value unit mentioned above. There is no external exam for National 4 Modern Studies.

National 5 Assessment

There will be an assessment at the end of each topic, which will assess skills and knowledge and understanding to help prepare for the exam. External assessment will consist of an added value piece of research which will lead to a report written up in exam conditions in 1 hour. This is out of 20 marks and makes up 20% of the overall award. Furthermore, students will undertake an 80 mark, 2 hour 20 minute exam paper testing knowledge and skills.


Homework is a key aspect of the National 4/5 courses which is used to further consolidate and deepen knowledge and skills. It is also a form of formative assessment, which will be used in learner conversations to underpin development targets as recorded in students Modern Studies skills booklet. We operate a 100% homework policy and parents will be informed if tasks are not completed by students. We encourage parents to actively support and encourage pupils to complete homework.

Entry Requirements to National 4

  • Completed the S3 Specialism in Modern Studies
  • By negotiation with the department

Entry Requirements to National 5

  • National 4 Modern Studies or National 4 in any other Humanities subject or English
  • By negotiation with the department

Value of the course

The National 4 and 5 courses will lead on to the study of Higher and Advanced Higher Modern Studies in S5 and S6. Modern Studies can lead onto careers in law, civil service, teaching, journalism, working within the government and any career in which you have to think logically and analytically. 

Entry Requirements to National 4:

Meet the Modern Studies Staff