Excellence For All

International Baccalaureate Organization – IB Diploma Programme

The IB Diploma Programme

The IB Diploma Programme is designed as an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students, normally aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. The programme is normally taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.

The IB Diploma Curriculum Model

IB students study six courses: 3 at higher level and 3 at standard level. Students must choose one subject from each of groups 1 to 5, thus ensuring breadth of experience in languages, social studies, the experimental sciences and mathematics. The sixth subject may be an arts subject chosen from group 6, or the student may choose another subject from groups 1 to 5.

In addition there are three core requirements designed to broaden the educational experience and challenge students to apply their knowledge and understanding.

The extended essay is a requirement for students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the subjects they are studying.

Theory of knowledge is a course designed to encourage each student to reflect on the nature of knowledge by critically examining different ways of knowing (perception, emotion, language and reason) and different kinds of knowledge (scientific, artistic, mathematical and historical).

Creativity, action, service requires that students actively learn from the experience of doing real tasks beyond the classroom. Students can combine all three components or do activities related to each one of them separately.

Read more on the Diploma Programme curriculum


Students take written examinations at the end of the programme, which are marked by external IB examiners. Students also complete assessment tasks in the school, which are either initially marked by teachers and then moderated by external moderators or sent directly to external examiners.

The diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject to certain minimum levels of performance across the whole programme and to satisfactory participation in the creativity, action, service requirement. The highest total that a Diploma Programme student can be awarded is 45 points.

Read more on the Diploma Programme assessment process

Workshops and professional development: quality assurance

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is known around the globe for providing best-in-class professional development for educators. This is a challenging programme that demands the best from both motivated students and teachers. Schools can access an extensive package of IB professional development for teachers and administrators and commit to ongoing professional development. Schools are required to participate in an ongoing process of review and development, using standards and practices that apply to all IB World Schools.

The workshop structure offers a continuum of offerings within each subject area (Categories 1, 2 and 3)

  • Allowing creation of a distinctive pathway of growth, with learning goals and objectives catering to the range of IB teaching levels – from beginning to experienced.
  • Providing a variety of pathways for educators and administrators to build and enhance their professional development portfolios.

Workshops are available in 3 modalities with registration process and fees for each provided through the links below:

1.     Standard 2½ day workshops: (schedule through October 2011 at http://www.ibo.org/events/workshops.cfm)

2.     On-line workshops: See http://www.ibo.org/programmes/pd/online/

3.     “District” workshops (it may be possible to arrange workshops on a state or regional basis): for inquiries, please contact Sandra Wade Pauly (sandra.wadepauly@ibo.org)

Research on the IB

Research plays a central role in the development, quality assurance, and validation of IB programmes and services.

The Policy and Research department in the Schools Division is responsible for investigating IB programme impact and outcomes (programme validation) and for evaluation and quality assurance of IB services.   The Policy and Research department also coordinates global research services such as the International Education Research Database.

Currently available programme validation research includes complete descriptions of studies, both completed and in progress, about the IB Continuum:  Primary Years Programme (PYP); Middle Years Programme (MYP); and the Diploma programme (DP). See http://www.ibo.org/en/about-the-ib/research/programme-impact-research/.

How to become an IB World School

Any school wishing to offer the Diploma Programme and attain IB World School status must first go through the authorization process. The process is designed to ensure schools are well prepared to implement the programme successfully.

The authorization process is a challenging but rewarding process that normally takes 2-3 years to complete. It is the same for all schools and has been designed to support schools in:

  • making the decision to become an IB World School
  • understanding the nature and requirements of the IB programme
  • defining their readiness to implement the programme
  • planning to sustain the programme in the long term.

Guidance and regulations for the application procedure are at http://ibo.org/en/become-an-ib-school/how-to-become-an-ib-school/.  Documents available in pdf format are

o    Rules for candidate schools for each programme

o    Programme standards and practices

o    Guide to school authorization for each programme

o    Guide to the authorization/verification visit for each programme

Details of the fee structure and core services for authorized schools are available at http://ibo.org/en/become-an-ib-school/fees-and-services/.

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) has made a commitment to the growing field of special educational needs (SEN). We embrace inclusive practices where developing the learning of all students is the shared responsibility of the classroom teacher and specialist support teachers.

We acknowledge the issues this commitment raises for teachers within all three programmes and provide the following:

  • A full-time SEN manager
  • Development of publications and resources for administrators and teachers
  • Regional workshops to address specific needs in particular areas.

The SEN manager acts as a clear point of reference for administrators and teachers on a number of issues, including:

  • Personal and direct contact to discuss sensitive issues related to individual students’ needs in all three programmes
  • Administrative queries related to the granting of special arrangements for the examination sessions in the Diploma Programme
  • Consultation on delivery, resources and the use of assistive technology by SEN students to access many aspects of each programme.

For additional information about the IB curriculum and/or clarification of any item in this document, please contact:

Sandra Wade Pauly

University & Government Liaison

IB Americas

Email:  sandra.wadepauly@ibo.org

Phone:    1 604 733 8980

Toll free:  1 866 826 4262

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