The Scottish Baccalaureate in Social Sciences

The Scottish Baccalaureate in Social Sciences has been designed to provide a challenging and rewarding experience for candidates in fifth and sixth year of secondary school.

It is based on a coherent group of subjects at Higher and Advanced Higher level with the addition of the Interdisciplinary Project, which offers added breadth and value and helps to equip the candidate with the generic skills, attitudes and confidence necessary to make the transition into Higher Education and/or employment.

Mandatory Components

The Scottish Baccalaureate in Social Sciences requires two, different eligible Social Science Courses, at least one of which must be at Advanced Higher level.

The mandatory components of the Baccalaureate are:

Component Level SCQF level SCQF points
2 eligible Courses Advanced Higher 7 64
1 eligible Course Higher 6 24

One of the above Courses must be English* (or ESOL or Gàidhlig*) or Mathematics* (or Mathematics of Mechanics* or Statistics*) and this may be at Higher or Advanced Higher level.

Components do not have to be completed in the same academic year, for example a Higher course completed in S5 can contribute.

The Interdisciplinary Project Unit will be graded A, B or C.


Candidates should be entered for both the Baccalaureate award and for the Interdisciplinary Project. The codes are as follows:

Social Sciences Baccalaureate

Baccalaureate award ¿ GE9W 47

Interdisciplinary Project ¿ H186 47

Criteria for award of Pass and Distinction

Criteria for award of Distinction

The Scottish Baccalaureate in Social Sciences with Distinction will be awarded to candidates who achieve:

  • Grade A in one Advanced Higher eligible Course
  • Grade A in any other component
  • Grade B or above in all other components

Criteria for award of Pass

Candidates who achieve at least Grade C in all mandatory components and who do not meet the criteria for Distinction will be awarded a Pass in the Scottish Baccalaureate in Social Sciences.

Eligible Courses

Candidates may choose two core courses, or one core course and one broadening course from the following lists:

Core Courses Broadening Courses
Classic Studies* Accounting*
Economics* Business Management*
Geography* Environmental Science
Modern Studies*  
Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies*  

* Currently available at Advanced Higher level

Eligible courses have been updated in line with the Higher and Advanced Higher courses available from August 2015. Higher and Advanced Higher Courses that were previously available and contributed to the Scottish Baccalaureate award will still contribute.

SQA's course catalogue is kept under constant review. New courses may be added, or existing courses may be deleted or replaced


Unit Specification

National Unit Specifications for the Interdisciplinary Project can be accessed by using the link below.

Assessment Support Packs

Social Sciences Assessment Support Pack

Templates for Candidates and Assessors in Word Format

Audit tool

The audit tool helps teachers/lecturers when approving candidate Interdisciplinary Project proposals.

Candidate Guide

Video Case Studies

Social Sciences Overview

Kathleen's Experience

Kirsten's Experience

Alex's Experience

Roslyn's Experience

Understanding Standards

Examples of candidate evidence with commentaries

Evidence and commentaries

Interdisciplinary Project Overview

Interdisciplinary Project Webinar (recording) November 2020  26 minutes (57.92 MB)

Changes to understanding standards materials

Please note: Understanding Standards materials are regularly reviewed to ensure they remain up to date


Qualification Verification Summary Reports