The Diploma Programme:
preparing students for
success in higher education and to be active participants
in a global society
What is an IB education?
The IB continuum of international education for 3 to 19 year olds is
unique because of its academic and personal rigour. We challenge
students to excel in their studies and in their personal growth. We
aim to inspire a quest for learning throughout life that is marked by
enthusiasm and empathy.
The IB aspires to help schools develop well-rounded students with
character who respond to challenges with optimism and an open
mind, are confident in their own identities, make ethical decisions,
join with others in celebrating our common humanity and are
prepared to apply what they learn in real-world, complex and
The IB offers high-quality programmes of international education
that share a powerful vision. Informed by the values described in
the learner profile, an IB education:
• focuses on learners - the IB’s student-centred programmes promote
healthy relationships, ethical responsibility and personal challenge
• develops effective approaches to teaching and learning - IB
programmes help students to develop the attitudes and skills
they need for both academic and personal success
• works within global contexts - IB programmes increase
understanding of languages and cultures, and explore globally
significant ideas and issues
• explores significant content - IB programmes offer a curriculum
that is broad and balanced, conceptual and connected.
IB learners strive to become inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers,
communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers,
balanced, and reflective. These attributes represent a broad range
of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond intellectual
development and academic success.
What is the IB Diploma Programme (DP)?
The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is an academically challenging
and balanced programme of education with final examinations
that prepares students, aged 16 to 19, for success at university and
life beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social,
emotional and physical well-being of students. The programme has
gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.
The Diploma Programme prepares students for effective participation
in a rapidly evolving and increasingly global society as they:
• develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically
• acquire breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding,
studying courses from six subject groups
• develop the skills and a positive attitude towards learning that will
prepare them for higher education
• study at least two languages and increase understanding of
cultures, including their own
• make connections across traditional academic disciplines and
explore the nature of knowledge through the programme’s
unique theory of knowledge course
• undertake in-depth research into an area of interest through the
lens of one or more academic disciplines in the extended essay
• enhance their personal and interpersonal development through
creativity, action and service.
IB Diploma Programme students must choose one subject from
each of the five groups (1 to 5), ensuring breadth of knowledge
and understanding in their best language, additional language(s),
the social sciences, the experimental sciences and mathematics.
Students must also choose either an arts subject from group 6, or a
second subject from groups 1 to 5.
DP subjects can be taken at higher level or standard level.
At least three and not more than four subjects are taken at higher
level (240 teaching hours), while the other subjects are taken at
standard level (150 teaching hours). Students can study and take
examinations, in English, French or Spanish.
Two DP subjects are classified as interdisciplinary subjects and so
satisfy the requirements of more than one subject group:
• Literature and performance - group 1 and group 6
• Environmental systems - group 3 and group 4
In addition to disciplinary and interdisciplinary study, the Diploma
Programme features three core elements that broaden students’
educational experience and challenge them to apply their
knowledge and skills.
The Diploma Programme core
The extended essay
asks students to engage in independent
research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one
of the DP subjects they are studying. The world studies extended
essay option allows students to focus on a topic of global
significance which they examine through the lens of at least two
Theory of knowledge
develops a coherent approach to learning
that unifies the academic disciplines. In this course on critical
thinking, students inquire into the nature of knowing and deepen
their understanding of knowledge as a human construction.
Creativity, action, service (CAS)
involves students in a range
of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the
Diploma Programme. Creativity encourages students to engage in
the arts and creative thinking. Action seeks to develop a healthy
lifestyle through physical activity. Service with the community
offers a vehicle for new learning with academic value. The three
strands of CAS enhance students’ personal and interpersonal
development through experiential learning and enable journeys