The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) is an academically challenging and balanced programme of education.
The IBDP is an externally assessed programme for students aged 16 to 19. The programme addresses the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students, and is highly respected by universities across the globe.
Established in 1968, the Diploma Programme (DP) was the first programme offered by the IB. As of 3 September 2019, there are 3,421 schools offering the DP, in 157 different countries worldwide. It is recognised as one of the world’s leading curriculums and gives students firm foundations for a global future.
Good To Know - The Diploma Programme
International research shows that there are many benefits to choosing the DP over other 16-19 curricula. For example:
- DP students are better able than their peers to cope with demanding workloads, manage their time and meet the expectations placed on them, according to one study
- Analysis of DP students in Canada, the UK and the USA found that the DP’s extended essay improves students’ approach to learning in higher education
- 72% of students taking the DP in China attend one of the world’s top 500 universities, according to a 2013 study.
The curriculum is made up of the DP core and six subject groups.
Made up of the three required components, the DP core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills.
The three core elements are:
- Theory of knowledge (TOK), in which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.
- The extended essay, which is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.
- Creativity, activity, service (CAS), in which students complete a project related to those three concepts.
The six subject groups are:
- Studies in language and literature
- Language acquisition
- Individuals and societies
- The arts
There are different courses within each subject group.
Students choose courses from the following subject groups:
- studies in language and literature
- language acquisition
- individuals and societies
- and the arts.
Students may opt to study an additional sciences, individuals and societies, or languages course, instead of a course in the arts.
Students will take some subjects at higher level (HL) and some at standard level (SL). HL and SL courses differ in scope but are measured according to the same grade descriptors, with students expected to demonstrate a greater body of knowledge, understanding and skills at higher level.
Each student takes at least three (but not more than four) subjects at higher level, and the remaining at standard level.
Standard level subjects take up 150 teaching hours. Higher-level comprises 240 teaching hours.
The IB uses both external and internal assessment in the DP.
Examinations form the basis of the assessment for most courses. This is because of their high levels of objectivity and reliability. This includes:
- structured problems
- short-response questions
- data-response questions
- text-response questions
- case-study questions
- multiple-choice questions – though these are rarely used
Teacher assessment is also used for most courses. This includes:
- oral work in languages
- fieldwork in geography
- laboratory work in the sciences
- investigations in mathematics
- artistic performances
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) learner profile describes a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success.
They imply a commitment to help all members of the school community learn to respect themselves, others and the world around them.
Each of the IB's programmes is committed to the development of students according to the IB learner profile.
The profile aims to develop learners who are:
- Inquirers: We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.
- Knowledgeable: We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.
- Thinkers: We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.
- Communicators: We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.
- Principled: We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.
- Open-minded: We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience
- Caring: We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.
- Risk-takers: We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.
- Balanced: We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives—intellectual, physical, and emotional—to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.
- Reflective: We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.
From world leaders, professors, politicians, scientists, actors, and singers - the IB has notable alumni in all professions. These include, to name just a few:
- Marina Catena, Director of the United Nations World Food Program
- Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
- Carey Mulligan, Actor
- Ignacio Padilla, Mexian novelist
- Akihiko Hoshide, astronaut
- Felipe Contepomi, Argentine rugby player and orthopaedic surgeon
- Anne Enright, Man Booker, Prize award-winning novelist
- Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, King of the Netherlands
The IBDP is a two-year programme that must be completed in full. A later entry, e.g. in grade 12, is possible if grade 11 has already been completed at another IB school.