Ages 16 TO 18


Unparalleled in international education, our IBDP opens doors to the best universities in the world. At the British International School Ho Chi Minh City, your child will follow personalised pathways that see them excel in traditional subjects, pursue their passions, and take part in exceptional creative, sporting, and community service opportunities. Inspiring them to be the best in everything they do, our IB school sets our students up for a bright future.

A Personalised Curriculum Journey

Our 16 to 18 year olds in sixth form study for the IBDP. This internationally recognised, 2 year programme, results in the award of a Diploma that is highly regarded and accepted for entry to top universities and prestigious institutions worldwide.

The IBDP is a truly holistic and personalised educational pathway, where students select their own subject areas and enjoy exceptional enrichment opportunities. The IBDP also develops our students’ ingenuity, critical thinking, and confidence, as well as broadening their understanding of the world. Our rigorous sixth form curriculum is supported by our dedicated wellbeing curriculum, which helps our students to look after their physical and mental health.

Our IB students design their own curriculum, selecting the subjects they study at higher and standard level, their extended essay topic, and CAS activities that reflect their skills and interests. Students also study the Theory of Knowledge supporting them in developing their critical thinking skills. 

Our Subject Choices

Across the 6 subjects groups our students select individual subjects within these groups,  3 to study at higher level (HL) and 3 at standard level (SL). With over 30 subject choices on offer, our students have the opportunity to specialise in their chosen fields, opening up personalised pathways whatever their future endeavours. Supported by world-class teachers from across the globe – who receive expert training from the International Baccalaureate Organisation – every student receives the personalised education and care and attention they need to achieve their absolute best.
Studies in Language and Literature
Group 1
  • Korean literature
  • Vietnamese language & literature
  • English language & literature
  • English literature
  • English literature & performance
Language Acquisition
Group 2
  • Mandarin
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Ab Intio (beginner)
    • Mandarin
    • French
    • Spanish
  •  English Language B
Individuals and Societies
Group 3
  • Business Management
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Digital Societies
  • Psychology
Group 4
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Design
    Technology (DT)
  • Physics
  • Environmental
    Systems and Society (ESS)
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science
Group 5
  • Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches
  • Mathematics: Applications and Interpretations
The Arts/Electives
Group 6
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Visual Arts
 OR another subject from Groups 3 or 4 

The Core Programme

Alongside 10 periods a week of their chosen subjects (6 periods HL and 4 periods SL) students will also spend 4 periods a week with the core programme, which is comprised of three parts. The core programme is designed to develop critical thinking, research and personal development and social skills that are highly valuable skills for university and beyond. 
Creativity, Activity and Service
Balancing their academic studies, students choose activities in a creative field, a physical activity which contributes to healthy lifestyles and/or a service activity and/or collaborating and working with our community partners. From challenging themselves to compose a piece of music to helping students with their English at local schools, your child will develop into a well-rounded global citizen.
Theory of Knowledge
Your child will have the opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills in the TOK course. They will be encouraged to challenge their knowledge and their understanding of the subjects studied, reflecting on the nature of knowledge and how we know what we claim to know. 
Extended Essay
Our IB students have the opportunity to engage in in-depth research on a topic that interests them. The extended essay is excellent preparation for the rigours of academic writing at university and puts out students in an advantageous position when writing their university applications. 

Supporting the Options Process

Our students and parents receive extensive support and guidance in choosing their subjects from all subject specialists and our IBDP Co-ordinator. Students can receive further guidance from our Secondary Leadership team and from the College and University Guidance Team.

Wellbeing Sessions
Students will be attend 4 sessions supporting them in understanding the IB Diploma Programme, and to begin the process of selecting their initial choices. They will hear from the IBDP coordinator and College and University Guidance team on some of the possible pathways available to them. This is complemented by a follow up Tutor session which help students research their options. 
Wellbeing Sessions
IB Options Evening
This will provide an overview of the options process, highlighting the subjects available and how you can help your child to make the best choices. This is combined with additional information from the Deputy Head Teacher: Curriculum & Learning, the IBDP Coordinator, and the College and University Guidance Counsellor. Heads of Department will also provide detailed information at subject-level at the subject fair.
IB Options Evening
First Thoughts Forms
Students submit their first thoughts forms via an online portal at the end of September. From these first thoughts, the Option Blocks are formed. Students are then issued with a second form which shows the subjects they have chosen in the relevant blocks.
First Thoughts Forms
Final submission
This form should be signed by the student, the parent and, for HL subjects, the relevant Head of Department. At the start of 2024, students are given a final confirmation of their option choices.
Final submission


The average points score of our class of 2023 was
compared to the world average of 30.2
the top and perfect score achieved by 2 students in our class of 2023.
1 in 3
of our IBDP students got 40 points or more, significantly higher than the UK average.
of students passed their IBDP in 2023

University Guidance

In 2022, 37% of our graduates went on to attend one of the top 50 universities in the world, including the University of Oxford, Stanford University,  Imperial College London and the University of Melbourne. In 2022, 27% of BIS HCMC students attended universities in the USA, 19% in the UK and 14% in Australia and New Zealand. Whatever your child’s aspirations, our dedicated College and University Guidance (CUG) team will assist them in exploring their opportunities, and making decisions for their future. 

Your child will be guided to make decisions about universities, courses, and possible career choices, providing a wealth of support and information.


  • What are the benefits of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)?

    The benefit of the IBDP over other post 16 routes is centered around the way the programme prepares students for life after school, both at university and beyond.

    While traditional qualifications often focus on developing a deeper understanding of a limited number of subjects, students in the Diploma Programme study a wide array of subject groups. This means that every student acquires a broad understanding, whilst the interdisciplinary nature of the programme enables students to cultivate well-rounded, global-minded observations.

    Having a broader grounding across multiple subject groups means students don’t limit themselves when it comes to applying for university places. When, throughout their time studying the Diploma Programme, a particular subject or area lights a passion within students and encourages them to want to pursue it in higher education, they can do just that and aren’t limited by taking a smaller number of subjects.

    The IB Diploma Programme also gives students transferable skills when it comes to university. The extended essay is an excellent blueprint for university essays and dissertations, in terms of independent research skills, the longer form of the essay itself and the process of presenting and defending their essay orally. Activities like this also increase students’ confidence in presenting, which is a vital skill when they are interviewing for a place at Oxbridge, Ivy League or other world-leading universities.

  • What is International Baccalaureate equivalent to? 
    The IB Diploma Programme is an alternative to Advanced Levels (A Levels) in the UK and Advanced Placement (AP) in the US for students aged 16 to 18.
  • What is the difference between IGCSE and IBDP?

    At BIS HCMC our students study the International General Certificate of Education (IGCSE) between ages 14 - 16 (Years 10-11). The IGCSEs are an internationally adapted version of the British GCSEs. Students have the opportunity to personalise their curriculum pathways, choosing 4 optional subjects on top of their core subjects. After the 2-year course students complete examinations, which provide them with the exam and study skills to set them up for the academically rigorous IB Diploma Programme.

    Between age 16 - 18 (Year 12 - 13) students will then go on to complete the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) where they will choose their subjects from 6 subjects groups, 3 at standard level and 3 at higher level. At this stage, students have already began exploring their passions at IGCSEs and are then well-equipped to make important decisions regarding their future aspirations. 

    Both certifications are recognised by top universities worldwide.


  • How many hours do IBDP students study?   
    In the IB Diploma Programme, students will take some subjects at higher level (HL) and some at standard level (SL). Each student takes at least three (no more than four) subjects at higher level, and the remaining at standard level. Standard level subjects take up 150 teaching hours over the duration of the two-year programme, and higher level comprises 240 teaching hours.
  • How hard is the International Baccalaureate Programme? 

    The perceived level of difficulty of the IB Programme will vary from student to student. The IB Programme is an academically challenging programme that is best suited for students who are willing to dedicate themselves to advanced courses, work well in a structured environment and  can address areas of improvement.

  • What is the difference between A-levels and IBDP?

    A-levels (Advanced Level Qualifications) are the are UK-based qualifications for students aged 16-18 and traditionally follow GCSEs in the British School System. At A-level students will choose 3-4 subjects based on their skills and interests, whereas the IBDP allows students a wider breadth of study, with 6 subject choices. 

    The IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) is an international qualification, where students choose 6 subject choices, 3 at higher level and 3 at standard level, as well as the core programme, which consists of the three components. A broader range of subjects is especially beneficial to those students who are still exploring their future options and/or are multi-passionate individuals. At IB the subjects are arranged into groups, which provide students with a wider range of subject knowledge. The core components help to develop personal, social, emotional and academic skills such as physical activity, creative endeavours, service to the local community, as well as study and essay writing skills. 

    In general the IBDP is a more holistic course and is more internationally-minded, however it is also may be considered more challenging for some students who prefer to study 3-4 subjects at A-level.

  • Do UK universities accept IBDP?
    Yes, the IBDP is a widely recognised qualification for entry to UK universities. For top universities such as Oxford or Cambridge students would need to obtain a minimum score of 38 - 40 points (depending on the course). For more information on where our IBDP graduates go on to study, see our university destinations.
  • Do US universities accept the IBDP?
    Yes, the IBDP is accepted at US universities and around 2000 universities worldwide. On average, the acceptance rate of IB students to Ivy League Universities is up to 18% higher than the total population acceptance rate. For more information on where our IBDP graduates go on to study, see our university destinations.
  • Is the International Baccalaureate worth it?

    While the IB Diploma Programme is widely recognised to be the most challenging course of study, universities worldwide respect the IB Diploma Programme as a prestigious and desirable qualification and look for this credential on applications. This demanding programme offers students the opportunity to go above and beyond in their education and study anywhere in the world. Additionally, the IB Diploma Programme offers students the potential to earn university credits.


BIS HCMC IBDP Options 2023-24_FA (1).pdf (3 MB)



Your child will flourish at BIS HCMC, where our all-encompassing approach to education balances academic excellence with personal growth and wellbeing, inspiring a lifelong love of learning.

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