Religious, moral and philosophical studies continues to be the fastest-growing subject at Higher level.
There was a 20 per cent rise in candidates this year, up to 2,103, the highest proportional increase of any subject with significant numbers. This follows a 32 per cent rise last year and means the subject is more popular with Higher pupils than accounting, German and Spanish.
There were similar trends at either end of the qualifications spectrum, with 36 per cent and 25 per cent rises at Access 3 and Advanced Higher. Intermediate 1 entries were up 20 per cent, but fell - albeit by smaller margins - at Intermediate 2 and Standard grade.
University experts believe the numbers reveal a desire to understand the growing influence of religion in major world events and conflicts, following a period in the 1970s and 1980s when it was perceived to be in decline.