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The dynamic Modern Studies department at St Paul’s RC Academy is always full of energy where we combine exciting, active learning techniques with a commitment to challenging pupils to achieve their best!

Pupils who study Modern Studies can expect to gain a better understanding of the society we live in.

We can guarantee that in Modern Studies you will develop the ability to express your opinion on issues which affect our lives daily, from the growing Chinese economy to war in Afghanistan.


"Modern Studies is about how our world operates, how it is governed, how people's rights and responsibilities are protected and how abuse of them should be prevented. An understanding of this lets pupils learn about how they can take their place in society and influence communities and leaders to make the world a better place."Jenny Marra MSP


The skills gained in Modern Studies will help pupils who wish to build a career in:

  • Law
  • Broadcasting
  • Politics
  • Journalism
  • Teaching (ew!)
  • Armed Forces
  • …the list is endless!!


S1 and S2

S1 – Let’s Do Democracy, The Media

S2 – Inequalities, China

Each unit is covered over 6 weeks and pupils will attend 3 periods a week.

In Modern Studies throughout S1 and S2 we use a number of active learning techniques such as:

  • Group Work (Mock Election and Pressure Groups)
  • Comic Life
  • Group Presentation (Terrorism)
  • Individual Research (Terrorist attack and Pressure Groups)
  • Think, Pair, Share!
  • Graffiti Board
  • Debating (Healthy Eating and England Riots)



Our exciting new S3 courses will include the same level of active learning as S1 and S2 but our expectations will be much higher.

We will cover:

  • Crime and The Law
  • USA/China

These will last approximately 12 weeks each where pupils will have 2 periods a week in Modern Studies.

The emphasis in S3 will be to give pupils further responsibility of their own learning and will be encouraged to carry out independent research.

This will further develop their skills which will prepare them for independent study during their certificated classes in S4 and beyond.

The course will include a trip to Castle Huntly Open Prison.

We will have guest speakers in to speak to pupils including journalists.

This will allow pupils to ask about the impact the media has on the way we live our lives.

We would like to say that the course also included a trip to the USA or China but unfortunately Mrs Flynn is scared of flying!



Pupils will normally enter Higher after first completing  National 5.

Higher level challenges pupils to achieve a deep understanding of the themes and topics in Modern Studies. Pupils will be expected to engage in debate daily and have confidence to express their opinions. Higher Modern Studies places emphasis on independent thought and research. The themes covered in Modern Studies at Higher level include:

Study Theme 1B: Decision Making in Central Government

Study Theme 1D: Electoral Systems, Voting and Political Attitudes

Study Theme 2A: Equality in Society: Wealth and Health in the UK

Study Theme 3B: The People’s Republic of China

Study Theme 3C: The United States of America

Higher level requires pupils to complete 4 essays in Paper 1, one from each Theme then another one from either Theme 1 or 3.

Paper 2 requires pupils to complete a Decision Making Exercise (DME). This requires pupils to analyse sources and make an informed recommendation to the Scottish Government.

Advanced Higher

This is taught at the City Campus where Mr Black teaches:

Study Theme 2: Law and Order and Research Methods.

As it is at City Campus pupils benefit from lectures given at the University and access to books from Dundee and Abertay University libraries.

Pupils will also be supported in school to help complete a 4000-5000 word dissertation which is marked out of 45.

The final exam requires completion of two 30 mark essays and evaluation of research methods and a source exercise which comprises 30 marks.