Modern Studies

Maisie Taylor

What is Modern Studies?

Modern Studies is a well established and popular academic subject in Scotland. Simply, it is the study of today’s most important political, social and international issues. Modern Studies combines many different disciplines – bringing together elements of sociology, criminology, politics, social policy and international relations – to give students a fully rounded understanding of the world they live in.


Our Ethos

Modern Studies challenges pupils to achieve their best, and we set high expectations for behaviour and effort. Students can expect  frequent feedback about their work, and regular one to one support from  their teachers. Weekly study support is offered throughout the school year. We encourage enjoyment of learning through active learning.  Improving the political literacy of young people is at the heart of what we do. Through discussion and debate, we encourage students to develop well-informed beliefs and attitudes which take into account social justice, equity and human rights.



Students can expect to have access to high quality resources in Modern Studies, including news sources, current affairs programmes and custom produced learning materials. We make full use of iPad technology to deliver the most up to date content possible. Classrooms are equipped with AppleTV, and teachers make innovative use of digital technology to bring lessons alive.



Modern Studies has enjoyed seeing our students participate in Model United Nations, Mock Trial, and field trips including the Scottish Parliament, Sheriff Court and local food bank.

We are extremely proud of our Higher Modern Studies students, who work with the Electoral Registration Office each year to run a voter drive. This student-led initiative has helped Tynecastle High School achieve the greatest increase in student registration in the whole city (from under 45% to 88% now registered to vote).

Modern Studies is delighted to see our former pupils completing courses in law, sociology, criminology, politics, economics, and international relations at universities and colleges across Scotland and the UK, as well as Modern Apprenticeships in the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government.

Into the world of work

Modern Studies opens the door to a whole range of future careers and pathways including Law, Police, Social Work, Social Care, Journalism, Media, Politics, Teaching, Civil Services, Management, Social policy, Local Government, Charity Work, Marketing, Banking, Welfare Rights plus many more


Modern Studies in S3

Students will study four topics: International Terrorism; Crime; Hot Topics (a fast paced, dynamic unit focusing on current issues in the news); and Research skills.

The course of study is built around Level 3&4 Outcomes. Students  will gain a deeper and more specialised understanding of contemporary social and economic issues at local, Scottish, UK and International level, and begin to develop the skills for success in National and Higher Modern Studies.

Modern Studies in the Senior Phase

National Parent Forum Summaries of Modern Studies National Qualifications

National Modern Studies

Students who choose National Modern Studies at Tynecastle HS will gain a N5, N4 or N3 qualification through the completion of three units:

  • Democracy in Scotland
  • Social issues in the UK: Social inequality
  • World Powers: The United States of America

National 5 Modern Studies is a combination of school based assessments, an assignment (research project) and a final exam.

National 4 & National 3 Modern Studies are internally assessed (through school based assessments) and include an Added Value unit (research project).

Higher Modern Studies

Students who choose Higher Modern Studies at Tynecastle HS will study three topics:

  • Democracy in Scotland and the UK
  • Social issues in the UK: Crime and law
  • International issues: Underdevelopment in Africa

Higher Modern Studies is a combination of school based assessments, an Assignment (research project), and a final exam.