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SCQF Level 6 (24 SCQF credit points)

Highers are the main route into higher education courses at university or college, including Degree, Higher National Diploma (HND) and Higher National Certificate (HNC) level courses.

Most candidates sit Highers in S5 or S6, although it is possible to sit them in S4.

Sociology: Higher

Why Sociology?

Sociology is the study of the development, structure and functioning of human society. This course aims to develop knowledge and understanding of sociological concepts, theories and methods and the ways in which they are used to analyse and explain areas of society. You will get the opportunity to develop the ability to interpret, analyse and evaluate sociological arguments, evidence and research methods in a critical way.

Higher Sociology makes a useful contribution to your general education and personal development, as well as providing a basis for further study at a more advanced level. The skills you learn on this course are useful in career areas such as social work, advisory services, teaching or social research.

Entry to the Course

Entry is at the discretion of the school or college, but you would normally be expected to have achieved:

Course Outline

In this course you will actively investigate human society, cultures and social issues. You will apply sociological perspectives, theories, concepts and research evidence to analyse society. The sociological understanding that develops from learning in this course is used to question commonly-held assumptions about society and to consider sociological explanations.

The course consists of three compulsory units and the course assessment unit.

Sociology: Human Society (6 SCQF credit points)

In this unit you will:

  • develop your understanding of the sociological approach to studying human societies
  • investigate sociological approaches to studying society, research methods used and the relationships that exist amongst individuals, groups and institutions as viewed from different sociological perspectives and theories.

Sociology: Culture and Identity (6 SCQF credit points)

In this unit you will:

  • develop your ability to use sociological concepts, theories and research to investigate features of culture and identity in a changing social world
  • consider your own and others’ cultural experiences to develop an understanding of cultural identity and diversity.

Sociology: Social Issues (6 SCQF credit points)

In this unit you will:

  • develop sociological understanding of contemporary social issues by enabling you to acquire skills in evaluating and applying sociological theories and research evidence
  • develop skills in using a range of sources, including research evidence, to justify points of view. 

Course Assessment (6 SCQF credit points)

The course assessment has two components:

  • a question paper (70% of the total marks)
  • an assignment (30% of the total marks).

The question paper will assess your use of skills, and your knowledge and understanding of sociological perspectives, theories and concepts. You will use sociological explanations and research evidence to respond to questions. The question paper will be set and marked by SQA.

The assignment will assess your investigation and communication skills appropriate to sociology. You will investigate a topic in sociology.


Your work will be assessed by your teacher on an ongoing basis throughout the course. You must pass all three units and the course assessment to gain the course qualification.

The course assessment is graded A-D. Your grade will depend on the total mark for all the units in your course.


If you complete the course successfully, it may lead to:

Further study, training or employment in: