Students in the Diploma Programme standing as a group

 

IB Diploma Programme

Introduced at IST in 1983, the IB Diploma Programme (DP) is a two-year programme based primarily on courses leading to the IB Diploma or IB Certificates.

This curriculum is a rigorous, academically challenging and balanced programme of education designed to prepare students aged 16 to 19 for success both in university and life beyond their academic career. The DP aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable, inquiring, caring and compassionate, and to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness and the attitudes necessary to respect and evaluate a range of viewpoints.

An IB Diploma is recognized globally by higher education, with students gaining competitive offers from the top universities around the world for further study after graduation.

IB Diploma Programme Curriculum

The DP curriculum is the best preparation for those who are moving onto further education as it produces young adults with a broad academic base, inquiring minds and diverse social interests.

It allows for the study of six subjects - with three at a Higher Level and three at Standard Level in six group areas. It’s recommended that students choose Higher Level subjects that they are passionate about, and perhaps even aim to study at the university level.

picture of the IB Diploma Programme wheel

To ensure both breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding, students must choose at least one subject from five groups: 1) their best language, 2) additional language(s), 3) social sciences, 4) experimental sciences and 5) mathematics. Students may choose either an arts subject from group 6, or a second subject from groups 1 to 5. At least three and not more than four subjects are taken at a Higher Level (240 recommended teaching hours), while the remaining are taken at Standard Level (150 recommended teaching hours). In addition, three core elements—the extended essay, theory of knowledge and creativity, action, service—are compulsory and central to the philosophy of the programme.

It is the responsibility of each student and their parents to ensure that subjects chosen match the entry requirements of individual universities for which the student may apply at a later stage.

IST offers a wide range of Standard Level and Higher Level courses. Course selection at this stage in a student’s life entails important decisions and should be made in consultation with parents, teachers and the college counsellors at the school.

These choices must take into account each student’s:

  • Long-term education and career goals
  • Demonstrated skills and strengths
  • Current interests

 

The Extended Essay

The Extended Essay (compulsory for IB Diploma students only) is an independent research paper of approximately 4000 words in one of the subjects of the IB curriculum. Each student is assigned a supervisor from the school’s teaching staff who will assist and advise with the planning, development and completion of the essay. The Extended Essay provides excellent preparation for the kind of research work required at many colleges and universities. These Essays are assessed by an external examiner.

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a required course for the full IB Diploma, while it remains only an optional course for the IST High School Diploma. It focuses on developing skills of critical analysis and thought. In the course each student examines various ways of knowing, including sense perception, emotion, language, reasoning, imagination, intuition, faith and memory, as well as various areas of knowledge, including the arts, mathematics, history, ethics, natural science, human science, indigenous knowledge systems and religious knowledge systems. At the forefront of discussions and class activities will be the central questions, all of which revolve around the core TOK concepts: belief, certainty, culture, evidence, explanation, experience, interpretation, values, truth and technology.

In class, we use knowledge questions to examine the knowledge claims made from various knowledge perspectives. Some of the core knowledge questions discussed in TOK classes are:

  • How do we know?
  • How do we know this is true?
  • What makes us be certain about what we claim to know?
  • What are the issues of knowledge (its acquisition/ verification/ justification or presentation)?
  • What are the links between different ways of knowing and areas of knowledge?

The formal assessment of TOK is based upon an essay of 1600 words, which is assessed externally, as well as an internally assessed presentation (10 minutes per candidate).

 

CAS Programme

In order to receive an IB Diploma from IST, all students must participate in the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) Programme. CAS aims to challenge and extend a student by developing a spirit of discovery, self-reliance, as well as additional skills and interests. All students during the IB DP years are required to participate in a range of experiences and projects that span the C, A and S strands.

Throughout their CAS journey, students are required to provide evidence of meeting seven learning outcomes. Each student also initiates a CAS Project that follows the CAS stages. CAS is an integral part of the IB Diploma Programme at IST, the benefits of which stay with students far beyond their two years at IST.

Click here to see an example of one of our student’s CAS Project.


Personal and Social Education (PSE)

The majority of the time is spent in preparation for further education with units on the college/university application process, college admissions testing, the transition from high school to college and college life. Taught by high school counselors, time is also devoted to other important personal and social topics.

Group 1: Language A: Literature

Languages Offered: English, Swahili

Higher and Standard Level

Our newly redesigned Language A: Literature course offers much variety in the selection of texts for study (13 at Higher Level, nine at Standard Level) and will focus on different aspects of literature including readers, writers and texts, time and space and intertextuality. There will also be varied types of assessment (commentaries, essays and an oral presentation). Emphasis is placed on in-depth literary analysis and critical personal response.

The aim of language and literature within the DP curriculum at both Higher and Standard Level is designed to:

  1. Develop students’ powers of expression (both oral and written).
  2. Introduce students to literature of different genres and from a range of periods and cultures and to instill in them a lifelong interest in quality writing.
  3. Encourage students to appreciate different cultural perspectives.
  4. Give students the skills to analyze literature and make critical and comparative judgments of it.

Group 2: Language Acquisition

French, Swahili and Spanish - Standard and Higher Level

The topics common to both levels are divided into five areas and are a required area of study.

High Level students read two works of literature.

  • Identities - explore the nature of self and what it is to be human.
  • Experiences - explore and tell stories of the events and experiences and journeys that shape our lives.
  • Social organizations - explore the ways in which groups of people organize themselves or are organized through common systems or interests.
  • Sharing the planet - explore the challenges and opportunities faced by individuals and communities in the modern world.
  • Human ingenuity - Explore the ways in which human creativity and innovation affect our world.

The aim of language acquisition within the DP curriculum at both Higher and Standard Level is designed to:

Language B is an additional language-learning course designed for students with some previous learning of that language. It may be studied at either Standard Level or High Level. The main focus of the course is on language acquisition and development of language skills. These language skills should be developed through the study and use of a range of written and spoken material. Such material will extend from everyday oral exchanges to literary texts and should be related to the culture(s) concerned. The material should be chosen to enable students to develop mastery of language skills and intercultural understanding. The level placement is made in consultation with the department and at the discretion of the school.

Group 2: AB Initio Languages

Spanish and Swahili - Standard Level only

The Language AB initio course is organized into five themes:

  1. Identities
  2. Sharing the planet
  3. Social organization
  4. Human ingenuity
  5. Experiences

Each theme has a list of topics that provide the students with opportunities to practice and explore the language as well as to develop intercultural understanding. Through the development of receptive, productive and interactive skills, students should be able to respond and interact appropriately in a defined range of everyday situations.

The aim of AB initio languages within the DP curriculum at Standard Level:
The course is designed for students who have insufficient prior knowledge to follow a Language B programme or those who want to take up a new language. AB initio is only open to beginners with no - or minimal - knowledge of the language. The course is aimed at developing the student’s ability to communicate in speech and in writing in order to deal adequately with familiar and practical needs. This is a demanding course.

Group 3: Individuals and Societies

Economics

Higher and Standard Level

The core content for Higher Level and Standard Level includes an introduction to economics, microeconomics, macroeconomics, international trade theory and economic development.

The aim of economics within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level is:

To provide students with the core knowledge, the analytical framework and the critical thinking skills that will enable them to understand how humans can make the best use of their scarce resources. It also promotes an awareness and understanding of internationalism in economics and enables a student to recognize their own tendencies for bias.

Geography

Higher and Standard Level

Part 1: Core theme—(SL/HL)

  1. Population distribution, change and possibilities
  2. Climate change - vulnerability and resilience
  3. Consumption, sustainability and security

Part 1: Extension to the core (HL)

  1. Places, power and networks
  2. Global development and diversity
  3. Global risks and resilience

Part 2: Optional themes (SL/HL)
Two optional themes are required at Standard Level. Three optional themes are required at Higher Level.

  1. Freshwater—drainage basins
  2. Oceans and coastal margins
  3. Extreme environments
  4. Geophysical hazards
  5. Leisure, sport and tourism
  6. Food and health
  7. Urban environments

The aim of geography within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level is:

  1. To develop an understanding of the dynamic interrelationships between people, places, spaces and the environment at different scales.
  2. To develop a critical awareness of geographic issues, including:
    1. Acquiring an in-depth understanding of how geographic issues have been shaped by powerful human and physical processes.
    2. Synthesizing diverse geographic knowledge in order to form viewpoints about how these issues could be resolved.
  3. To understand and evaluate the need for planning and sustainable development through the management of resources at varying scales.

History

Higher and Standard Level

Both Standard and Higher Level students will cover these topics:

  • The Move to Global War: Italian, German and Japanese Expansion
  • Authoritarian and Single Party States: Stalin, Mao and Castro
  • The Cold War: Russia, United States, China and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Latin America

Higher Level students will also complete three topics on Europe.

The DP history course at IST focuses on 20th century world history. It is based on a comparative and multi-perspective approach to history. The course encourages students to develop critical thinking, research skills and international-mindedness. The course fosters an understanding of multiple interpretations of history.

Psychology

Higher and Standard Level

Year 1: Core (Standard and Higher Level)
Introduction to Psychological Research
The Biological Approach to Behaviour
The Cognitive Approach to Behaviour
The Sociocultural Approach to Behaviour

Year 2: Options
Standard Level students study one of the options below
Higher Level students study two of the options below
Abnormal Psychology
Psychology of Human Relationships

Year 2: Qualitative research methodology (Higher Level students only)
Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology

Year 2: Internal Assessment (Standard and Higher Level)
A replication of a simple experiment with a written report detailing the experimental method, results and conclusions.

The aim of psychology within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level:

Psychology is the systematic study of behaviour and mental processes. Psychology has its roots in both the natural and social sciences, leading to a variety of research designs and applications, and providing a unique approach to understanding modern society.

IB DP psychology examines the interaction of biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behavior, thereby adopting an integrative approach. Understanding how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied enables students to achieve a greater understanding of themselves and appreciate the diversity of human behavior. The ethical concerns raised by the methodology and application of psychological research are key considerations in IB DP psychology.

Group 3 and Group 4: Individuals and Societies / Sciences

Environmental Systems and Societies

Standard Level

Environmental systems and societies (ESS) is a transdisciplinary subject, uniting the Group 3 (Individuals and Societies) and Group 4 (Sciences) subjects while presenting a unique set of aims, objectives and assessment criteria.

The course is divided into eight sections:

  1. Foundations of environmental systems and societies
  2. Ecosystems and ecology
  3. Biodiversity and conservation
  4. Water and aquatic food production systems and societies
  5. Soil systems and terrestrial food production systems and societies
  6. Atmospheric systems and societies
  7. Climate change and energy production
  8. Human systems and resource use

The aim of environmental systems and societies within the DP curriculum at Standard Level:

The aim is to provide students with a holistic awareness of the interrelationship between the physical environment and societies. The understandings and skills of the ESS course allow students to adopt an informed personal response to the range of environmental issues faced by society and to be critically aware that resources are finite and often unevenly distributed/ exploited.

Students will be constantly engaged with the significant choices that they make in their own lives, which in turn will allow them to develop a deeper reflection and appreciation of environmental issues and the different responses to them. They will evaluate various aspects of past, current and future issues from scientific, ethical and socio-political perspectives. Scientific principles and methodologies within a ‘systems approach’ are employed to disentangle the complex issues surrounding the impact of society on the environment.

Group 4: Sciences

Higher and Standard Level

Students learn to construct abstract models such as analogies and mathematical systems to explain phenomena, then link these abstract concepts to reality through controlled experiments.

The Standard Level course is a subset of the Higher Level programme. The course covers mechanics, thermal physics, waves, electricity and magnetism, atomic, nuclear and particle physics and energy production.

The Higher Level course also includes units of gravitational and electric fields, electromagnetic induction and quantum physics. The optional units that we will study one of (at Standard and Higher Level) are astrophysics, relativity, engineering physics and imaging.

The aim of physics within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level:


Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself from the smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies.

This course is designed for students interested in the study of physics on both a practical and theoretical level. Students develop competence in the collection and analysis of data derived from investigations and laboratory work and also the ability to analyze, evaluate and synthesize scientific information.

Physics

Higher and Standard Level

Students learn to construct abstract models such as analogies and mathematical systems to explain phenomena, then link these abstract concepts to reality through controlled experiments.

The Standard Level course is a subset of the Higher Level programme. The course covers mechanics, thermal physics, waves, electricity and magnetism, atomic, nuclear and particle physics and energy production.

The Higher Level course also includes units of gravitational and electric fields, electromagnetic induction and quantum physics. The optional units that we will study one of (at Standard and Higher Level) are astrophysics, relativity, engineering physics and imaging.

The aim of physics within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level:


Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself from the smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies.

This course is designed for students interested in the study of physics on both a practical and theoretical level. Students develop competence in the collection and analysis of data derived from investigations and laboratory work and also the ability to analyze, evaluate and synthesize scientific information.

Chemistry

Higher and Standard Level

Chemistry is a branch of science in which we study the materials that comprise our environment. We do this by investigating their properties, their composition and the way they react.

The course contains the following topics:

  • Stoichiometric relationships
  • Atomic structure
  • Periodicity
  • Chemical bonding and structure
  • Energetics
  • Chemical Kinetics
  • Equilibrium
  • Acids and bases
  • Redox processes
  • Organic chemistry
  • Measurement and data processing
  • Medicinal chemistry

The aim of chemistry within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level:
The aim is to familiarise students with the principles of chemistry and to develop analytical and problem-solving skills. The course offers a broad and strong foundation for science, engineering or medical-related degrees at university.

Biology

Higher and Standard Level

For Standard Level the compulsory core section covers:

  • Cell biology
  • Molecular biology
  • Genetics
  • Ecology
  • Evolution and biodiversity
  • Human physiology

For Higher Level the course covers all of the Standard Level material and is extended in these areas:

  • Nucleic Acids and metabolism
  • Photosynthesis and respiration
  • Plant biology
  • Genetics and evolution
  • Human and animal physiology

Classes will complete one option from the following:

  • Neurobiology and behavior
  • Biotechnology and bioinformatics
  • Ecology and conservation
  • Human physiology

The aim of biology within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level is to examine singular and emergent properties of living things from the biochemistry of life to the interactions of communities in the biosphere. It forms an introduction to many disciplines of further study, including medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, nursing and pharmacy.

Biochemistry understandings and theoretical concepts of different topics in biology are covered in a wide range of core and additional higher level topics. It is, therefore, suitable to the science specialist who might go on to further biological studies at university.

The Standard Level course is designed to meet the needs of a more varied group of students, including a nonscience specialist who may not necessarily need preparation for higher level university science courses but can still pursue the rigor of the Group 4 assessment requirements.

Design Technology

Higher and Standard Level

Students learn about the role of the designer in society, the nature of materials and the environment from which resources are attained. Students explore the concepts of invention, innovation and the use and application of appropriate technology.

The theory of the topics is studied concurrently with and in relation to practical-based projects which helps students understand the links between abstract concepts in a real-world context.

The course covers the following core topics:

  • Human factors and Anthropometrics
  • Resource management and sustainable production
  • Modeling
  • Raw materials to final production
  • Innovation and Design
  • Classic design

Additional Higher Level core topics include:

  • User-centered design
  • Sustainability
  • Innovation and markets
  • Commercial production

Both the core and option topics are taught throughout the first year and should prepare students for their Group 4 Project at the end of Year 1 and the Major Project in Year 2. Throughout the first year, students are assessed through a series of short, practical projects, investigations and reports. The Standard Level course is a subset of the Higher Level programme.

The aim of design technology within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level:
his course is designed for students interested in the study of design and technology in a global society on both a practical and theoretical level. Students develop competence in investigation and analysis of various design concepts and apply their knowledge and skills through problem-solving practical projects. This course is recommended to students with an interest in architecture, interior and environmental design, industrial or product design, graphics and engineering.

Group 5: Mathematics

Applications and Interpretation

Higher and Standard Level

Mathematics Higher Level covers all the material in mathematics Standard Level, but goes more in-depth on these topics, and generally, the questions on these topics are more challenging.

Students within the applications and interpretation section of the DP curriculum will cover the following topics:

  • Number and algebra
  • Functions
  • Geometry and trigonometry
  • Statistics and probability
  • Calculus

The aim of applications and interpretation within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level:

Applications and interpretation Standard Level and Higher Level is appropriate for students who are interested in developing their mathematics for describing our world and solving practical problems. They will also be interested in harnessing the power of technology alongside exploring mathematical models.

Students who take applications and interpretation will be those who enjoy mathematics best when seen in a practical context. This subject is aimed at students who will go on to study subjects such as social sciences, natural sciences, statistics, business, some economics, psychology and design, for example.

Analysis and Approaches

Higher and Standard Level

The outline of this course is the same as applications and interpretations.

The aim of analysis and approaches within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level:

Analysis and approaches at Standard Level and Higher Level is appropriate for students who enjoy developing their mathematics to become fluent in the construction of mathematical arguments and develop strong skills in mathematical thinking. They will also be fascinated by exploring real and abstract applications of these ideas, with and without the use of technology.

Students who take this course will be those who enjoy the thrill of mathematical problem-solving and generalization. This subject is aimed at students who will go on to study subjects with substantial mathematics content such as mathematics itself, engineering, physical sciences or economics, for example.

Group 6: The Arts

Visual Arts

Higher and Standard Level

There are three components within the visual art DP curriculum:

Part 1 - Comparative Study

Analysis of artists, genres and artistic processes is ongoing throughout the course. The comparative study is a final independent piece study that compares the artwork of at least two artists in written and visual forms. It’s not an ‘essay’, does not have a word limit, but it is an academic piece of writing that should show evidence of understanding in line with the given assessment criteria.

Part 2 - Process Portfolio

This consists of practical, experimental and alternative explorations usually in the form of a visual journal. This journal charts the artistic process and artistic development of the student. The content of the portfolio exhibits a direct correlation to the pieces presented for exhibition and should consist of planning, process documentation, reflection, media exploration as well as research on a wide variety of artists, genres and cultures.

Part 3 - Exhibition

Throughout the two-year programme, students will carry out independent artwork for the culminating exhibition in March. The comparative study and the process portfolio is digitalized and externally examined. The exhibition is internally assessed and externally moderated. There is no formal written examination.

The aim of visual arts within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level:

The aim of visual art is to make artwork that is influenced by personal and cultural contexts. Students become informed, critical observers and makers of visual culture. They develop skills, techniques and processes in a wide variety of media with the aim of communicating concepts and ideas.

Theatre

Higher and Standard Level

There are three types of theatre in the DP curriculum:

  1. Presenting Theatre
    This area addresses the staging and presentation of theatre, as well as the presentation of research and ideas through both practical and written work. Students present theatre through the roles of creator, performer, director and designer.
  2. Theatre Processes
    Students explore the skills, techniques and processes involved in theatre-making. They will explore these processes through the roles of creator, performer, director and designer.
  3. Theatre in Context
    Students investigate the personal, theoretical and cultural contexts of theatre practices from around the world. As well, they investigate the context that informs their own work in theatre.

The aim of theatre within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level:

This course aims to develop students’ understanding of theatre in its radically different forms, styles and traditions. In a range of diverse productions and performances, students will undertake the roles of creator, performer, director and designer. DP theatre is both academic and practical, requiring an investigation into theory as well as practical exploratory work.

Music

Higher and Standard Level

Higher Level:

This course is designed for the student who is a music enthusiast, who is passionate about creating music and who may intend to pursue music at university or college level. It comprises three parts: performance, composition and musical perception and analysis.

This consists of the study of prescribed work, the study of musical styles and a musical investigation.

Standard Level:
There are three options:

  • Solo performance option: This course is designed for student who have a background in musical performance. There are two parts: performance (voice or instrument) and musical perception and analysis.
  • Group performance option: This course is designed for students with a general interest in music particularly members of ensembles, e.g. band or choir. There are two parts: group performance and musical perception and analysis.
  • Composition option: This course is designed for student who have a background in musical composition. There are two parts: composition (two contrasting pieces) and musical perception and analysis.

The aim of music within the DP curriculum at Standard and Higher Level:

This course aims to give students the opportunity to explore and enjoy the diversity of music throughout the world. Students will be able to develop a wide range of musical skills through academic and practical work. They will be allowed to develop their potential as musicians both personally and collaboratively.


Why the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme?

We teach the IB DP programme because we believe in its mission statement:

"The IB programme aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end, the IBO works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessments. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people with their differences can also be right."

 

 

Interested in learning more about the IB Diploma Programme at IST?
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