What is the IB Diploma Program (DP)?

The IB Diploma Program (DP) is an academically challenging and balanced Program of education with final examinations that prepares students, aged 16 to 19, for success at university and in life beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students. The Program has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.

The Curriculum

DP students must choose one course from each of five subject groups delivering a breadth of knowledge and understanding in their best language, additional language(s), individuals and societies, the sciences and mathematics. Furthermore, students must also choose either an arts course from the arts group or a second course from one of the other subject groups.

DP courses can be taken at higher level or standard level. At least three and not more than four are taken at higher level (240 teaching hours), while the remaining courses are taken at standard level (150 teaching hours). Students can study and take examinations in English. The DP features three core elements that broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills.

The Diploma Program Core

Extended Essay

The extended essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper. One component of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Program (DP) core, the extended essay is mandatory for all students.

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) sets a submission date for the extended essay, which is communicated with schools. It is each school’s responsibility to ensure that all candidate work is received by the IB, with the required paperwork received by the submission date set.

Schools and supervisors are strongly recommended to set internal deadlines for the different stages of producing an extended essay, keeping in mind the IB’s submission date.

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of knowledge (TOK) is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1,600 word essay. It asks students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know. TOK is part of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Program (DP) core, and is mandatory for all students.

Theory of knowledge (TOK) plays a special role in the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Program (DP), by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know.

It is one of the components of the DP core and is mandatory for all students. The TOK requirement is central to the educational philosophy of the DP.

As a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing, and into different kinds of knowledge, TOK is composed almost entirely of questions.

The most central of these is "How do we know?", while other questions include:

  • What counts as evidence for X?
  • How do we judge which is the best model of Y?
  • What does theory Z mean in the real world?

Through discussions of these and other questions, students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions, as well as developing an appreciation of the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives.

The TOK course is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1600 word essay.

The presentation assesses the ability of the student to apply TOK thinking to a real-life situation, while the essay takes a more conceptual starting point.

For example, the essay may ask students to discuss the claim that the methodologies used to produce knowledge depend on the use to which that knowledge will be used.

TOK aims to make students aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge, including personal ideological biases – whether these biases are retained, revised or rejected.

It offers students and their teachers the opportunity to:

  • reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and on areas of knowledge
  • Consider the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the cultures of others and in the wider world.

In addition, TOK prompts students to:

  • be aware of themselves as thinkers, encouraging them to become more acquainted with the complexity of knowledge
  • Recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected but uncertain world.

TOK also provides coherence for the student, by linking academic subject areas as well as transcending them.It therefore demonstrates the ways in which the student can apply their knowledge with greater awareness and credibility.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is one of the three essential elements that every student must complete as part of the Diploma Program (DP). Studied throughout the Diploma Program, CAS involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies. It is not formally assessed. However, students reflect on their CAS experiences as part of the DP, and provide evidence of achieving the eight learning outcomes for CAS. The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:

  • Creativity – arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
  • Activity – physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the DP.
  • Service – an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

In order to demonstrate these concepts, students are required to undertake a CAS Project. The project challenges students to: show initiative, demonstrate perseverance, and develop skills such as collaboration, problem solving and decision making.

CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience. It provides opportunities for self-determination and collaboration with others, fostering a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from their work. At the same time, CAS is an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the DP. A good CAS Program should be both challenging and enjoyable – a personal journey of self discovery.

Each student has a different starting point, and therefore different goals and needs, but for many their CAS activities include experiences that are profound and life changing.

The Diploma Curriculum

Group 1 - Language

Group 2 - Language acquisition

Group 3 - Individuals and Societies

Group 4 – Sciences

Group 5 – Mathematics

Group 6 - Arts