The IB Diploma Programme
The Diploma Programme is a challenging two-year programme of international education for students aged 16 to 19.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a challenging two-year curriculum, primarily aimed at students aged 16 to 19. It leads to a qualification that is widely recognized by the world's leading universities.
Students learn more than a collection of facts. The Diploma Programme prepares students for university and encourages them to:
Schools teach the programme in English, French and/or Spanish.
The Diploma Programme is one of three programmes offered by the IB.
What is in the curriculum?
The curriculum contains six subject groups together with a core made up of three separate parts.
This is illustrated by a hexagon with the three parts of the core at its centre.
Students study six subjects selected from the subject groups. Normally three subjects are studied at higher level (courses representing 240 teaching hours), and the remaining three subjects are studied at standard level (courses representing 150 teaching hours).
All three parts of the core - extended essay, theory of knowledge and creativity, action, service - are compulsory and are central to the philosophy of the Diploma Programme.
What are the three core requirements?
The three core requirements are:
All Diploma Programme students must engage in these three activities.
The extended essay has a prescribed limit of 4,000 words. It offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of individual interest, and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected at university.
Theory of knowledge (TOK)
The interdisciplinary TOK course is designed to provide coherence by exploring the nature of knowledge across disciplines, encouraging an appreciation of other cultural perspectives.
Creativity, action, service (CAS)
Participation in the school's CAS programme encourages students to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports and community service work, thus fostering students' awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena.
How are students assessed?
At the end of the two-year programme, students are assessed both internally and externally in ways that measure individual performance against stated objectives for each subject.
In nearly all subjects at least some of the assessment is carried out internally by teachers, who mark individual pieces of work produced as part of a course of study. Examples include oral exercises in language subjects, projects, student portfolios, class presentations, practical laboratory work, mathematical investigations and artistic performances.
The grading system is criterion based (results are determined by performance against set standards, not by each student's position in the overall rank order); validity, reliability and fairness are the watchwords of the Diploma Programme's assessment strategy.
Do universities recognize the IB diploma?
The IB diploma is widely recognized by the world's leading universities.
The IB works closely with universities in all regions of the world to gain recognition for the IB diploma. To aid this process, university admissions officers and government officials have direct online access to all syllabuses and recent examinations.
To assist IB diploma students in making appropriate choices, the organization holds a database containing contact details of universities around the world together with up-to-date information about their requirements for admission.
Students applying to a particular university may also grant permission for their grades to be accessed directly from the IB's secure website.
Who can offer the programme?
Only schools authorized by the IB as IB World Schools can offer the Diploma Programme.
The authorization process, which may take two or more years, consists of two phases.
The school's delivery of the programme is evaluated by the IB every five years after authorization.
Are teachers trained to teach the programme?
Training is offered to both new and experienced teachers.
Teachers may develop their professional expertise by: