The Diploma Programme
The Diploma Programme is a rigorous pre-university course of study designed for students in the 16 to 19 age range. It is a broad-based two-year course that aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable and inquiring, but also caring and compassionate. There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness, and the attitudes necessary for them to respect and evaluate a range of points of view.
The Diploma Programme hexagon
The course is presented as six academic areas enclosing a central core. It encourages the concurrent study of a broad range of academic areas. Students study: two modern languages (or a modern language and a classical language); a humanities or social science subject; an experimental science; mathematics; one of the creative arts. It is this comprehensive range of subjects that makes the Diploma Programme a demanding course of study designed to prepare students effectively for university entrance. In each of the academic areas students have flexibility in making their choices, which means they can choose subjects that particularly interest them and that they may wish to study further at university.
Choosing the right combination
Students are required to choose one subject from each of the six academic areas, although they can choose a second subject from groups 1 to 5 instead of a group 6 subject. Normally, three subjects (and not more than four) are taken at higher level (HL), and the others are taken at standard level (SL). The IBO recommends 240 teaching hours for HL subjects and 150 hours for SL. Subjects at HL are studied in greater depth and breadth than at SL.
At both levels, many skills are developed, especially those of critical thinking and analysis. At the end of the course, students’ abilities are measured by means of external assessment. Many subjects contain some element of coursework assessed by teachers. The course is available for examinations in English, French and Spanish.
The core of the hexagon
All Diploma Programme students participate in the three course requirements that make up the core of the hexagon. Reflection on all these activities is a principle that lies at the heart of the thinking behind the Diploma Programme.
The theory of knowledge (TOK) course encourages students to think about the nature of knowledge, to reflect on the process of learning in all the subjects they study as part of their Diploma Programme course, and to make connections across the academic areas. The extended essay, a substantial piece of writing of up to 4,000 words, enables students to investigate a topic of special interest that they have chosen themselves. It also encourages them to develop the skills of independent research that will be expected at university. Creativity, action, service (CAS) involves students in experiential learning through a range of artistic, sporting, physical and service activities.
The IBO mission statement and the IB learner profile
The Diploma Programme aims to develop in students the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need to fulfill the aims of the IBO, as expressed in the organization’s mission statement and the learner profile. Teaching and learning in the Diploma Programme represent the reality in daily practice of the organization’s educational philosophy.
First examinations 2009