After completing Higher Art at Hamilton College I went on to gain a First Class Honours Degree from the Edinburgh College of Art

Fiona Pender
Class of 2001



Physics is taught as a separate subject throughout the Senior School in Hamilton College. In S1 and S2 pupils complete an internally produced course which covers the relevant physics content for the Curriculum for Excellence, and for part of the National 4 Physics course. If they decide to continue in their study of the subject they can complete the National 4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Physics courses as they progress through S3 - S6.

S1 & S2 Physics

In S1 and S2 all pupils complete physics as a separate science subject. The internally produced course that they complete covers the relevant physics content for the Curriculum for Excellence, and for part of the National 4 Physics course.

National 4/5 Physics

Physics gives us an insight into the underlying nature of our world and its place in the universe. From the study of the electrical and heat energy that we use in our society, to the exploration of space, it covers a range of applications of the relationships that have been discovered through experiment and calculation, including those used in modern technology. Advances in physics mean that our view of what is possible is continually being updated. This course will allow you to understand the processes behind scientific advances, and to appreciate and contribute to topical scientific debate.

Skills and Knowledge
A broad overview of the subject skills, knowledge and understanding that will be covered in the course includes:

  • demonstrating your knowledge of physics by making accurate statements
  • applying your knowledge of physics to new situations, interpreting information and solving problems
  • demonstrating your understanding of physics by providing explanations and by bringing together different areas of knowledge
  • selecting relevant information from a variety of sources
  • presenting information appropriately in a variety of forms
  • processing information accurately, using calculations where appropriate
  • planning, designing and carrying out experimental procedures to test hypotheses or to illustrate effects
  • evaluating experimental procedures
  • drawing valid conclusions and giving explanations supported by evidence or justification
  • making predictions and generalisations based on evidence/information.

Learning and Teaching Methods
The course will be taught using various methods including whole class lessons, group work and individual investigation and research. A range of resources will be used including prepared notes, textbooks, video material and Moodle, our virtual learning environment. Practical tasks are teacher-demonstrated and undertaken in groups.

Careers Information
Physics is an important qualification if you intend to enter a career in engineering, physical science and some medical sciences. Furthermore, for many other career lines, it is a recommended course for study. These include such diverse fields as law, military service, accountancy and other non-physical sciences.

Higher Physics

The Higher Physics course is composed of four units entitled Our Dynamic Universe, Particles And Waves, Electricity and  Researching Physics. The key underlying purposes of the Higher Physics course are to prepare candidates for employment or further studies in areas for which a strong understanding of physics is a key requirement, to improve the candidate’s appreciation of the importance of physics to society and to develop their practical and mathematical skills. The promotion of other ‘soft’ skills such as the abilities to work collaboratively or to draw the correct conclusions when presented with scientific evidence is also very important.

Advanced Higher Physics

The Advanced Higher Physics course is composed of four units entitled Rotational Motion and Astrophysics, Quanta and Waves, Electromagnetism and Physics Investigation. The key underlying purposes of the Advanced Higher Physics are the same as those of the Higher Physics course. However there is a much greater emphasis on preparing candidates for further studies in subjects for which a strong knowledge and understanding of physics is necessary. As a result there is a significantly higher level of mathematical and practical skills required at Advanced Higher level than there was at Higher level in physics.