The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is an academically challenging and balanced two-year programme of education for students aged 16-18. As one of the most highly regarded pre-university diplomas in the world, the IBDP leads to an internationally recognised qualification which, depending on the level awarded, allows students access to the most prestigious undergraduate courses in Switzerland and internationally.
The course encourages the development of students’ academic, social, emotional, and physical wellbeing. It prepares them to participate in our global society through the comprehensive study of six subjects and three core components over two years. The program is also widely recognised by the world’s top universities as it gives students the right skills and attitude needed for higher education.
IB subjects and structure
The subjects in the IB curriculum are split into six groups. Students must study one subject from each of groups one to five, and another from either group six or an additional subject from one of the other groups. Three of the six subjects must be studied at Higher Level, while the other three can be studied at Standard Level. If the student wishes, more subjects can be taken at a higher level in the IB.
The groups of subjects are:
Group 1 – Studies in Language and Literature: These are usually taken in the student’s native language and can focus on literature alone or a combination of language and literature together.
Group 2 – Language Acquisition: This is a second language for the student. It is usually a modern language but can also be Latin or Classical Greek.
Group 3 – Individuals and Societies: Subjects in this group relate to the humanities. They include Business and Management, Economics, Geography, Global Politics, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Social and Cultural Anthropology, World Religion and others.
Group 4 – Sciences: This category covers a range of sciences such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, and Design Technology.
Group 5 – Mathematics: This group covers Mathematical Studies, Mathematics, and Further Mathematics.
Group 6 – The Arts: These consist of Music, Theatre, Dance, Film, and Visual Arts. Alternatively, students can choose to study another subject from the groups above.
In addition to these six chosen subjects, students must also complete the following three core elements of the IB, designed to broaden their experience and skills:
- Theory of Knowledge (ToK): ToK is important in the IB as it provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge and how we can claim to know what we know. Questions students will examine include ‘what counts as evidence?’ and ‘how can theories be applied in the real world?’. From this study, they are taught to recognise the need to act responsibly in the world around them for their benefit and the benefit of others.
- The Extended Essay: This is an in-depth 4,000-word study on a subject of the student’s choosing. Their essay can be an in-depth investigation into something relating to one of their six chosen subjects, or it can be an interdisciplinary approach combining themes from two IB disciplines.
- Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS): To fulfil this component, students need to participate in various personally challenging activities related to these three areas with significant outcomes.
The six subjects students must complete will include regulated exams, graded by external markers, as well as extended classroom tasks. Both will contribute to final grades. In addition to this, students are required to submit a Theory of Knowledge essay, their Extended Essay project, and evidence of their CAS activity.
IB grades and requirements
For each of the six chosen subjects, students receive a grade of between 1 and 7, with 7 being the highest. The Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay can collectively contribute another three points to a student’s total score.
To pass the IB, students must receive a total score of 24 or above. The CAS element of the IB does not add to the score of the student, but the IB Diploma cannot be awarded without it.
IB Diploma benefits
There are many benefits to studying for the IB Diploma, from its holistic approach to education to its real-world applications; Universities hold the IB Diploma in high esteem, so IB Diploma students can be accepted at the best colleges and universities around the world. It encourages a global perspective – students are required to master a foreign language, learn about other cultures and political systems, and apply this knowledge to their experiences.
Studying the IB means your child will learn about a broad range of subjects, developing a holistic understanding of the world around them. The structure of the IB emphasizes independent, self-directed learning. The IB is taught in 4,000 schools across 150 countries, so it’s a good fit for expats or families who may move around. The IB Diploma is internationally recognized and therefore well suited to global, internationally mobile students.
For students with a wide interest in developing their knowledge and understanding of the world, the IB Diploma is a fantastic choice. It unlocks outstanding opportunities in higher education and future employment while developing well-rounded young adults with a holistic understanding of the world around them.