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International Baccalaureate

What is IB?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is a comprehensive and challenging pre-university curriculum for junior and seniors recognized worldwide. According to IBO, "Diploma holders are ready to debate real-world issues from an international perspective, and to provide leadership and support in the local and global community. Students demonstrate a capacity for in-depth study while maintaining a broad perspective of the different subject areas." Dow High offers English (Language & Literature), Second Language (German & Spanish), Individuals and Societies (History, Business Management, Psychology), Sciences (Biology, Environmental Systems & Societies, Physics), Mathematics (Analysis & Approaches and Applications & Interpretations), and Visual Arts and Musical Perspectives.

Participation options

1. Diploma Programme
Students take courses in the six areas identified in the programme model. They also complete the three components in the core of the model (TOK, EE, and CAS).

2. Course Certificate
Students may select individual courses within the curriculum groups and complete all the internal and external assessments to earn an IB course certificate in that area.

3. Course enrollment only
Students may enroll in any IB course for the academic experience and choose not to pursue certificate requirements. Dependent on the college or university, an IB course certificate may result in college credit.

What does the curriculum require?

In addition to completing the three core groups (below), Diploma Programme students take classes in each of the six subject areas for either one or two years over the course of their junior and senior years. They complete internal assessments and exams in three of these classes at the standard level (SL - 150 hours minimum), and the other three at the higher level (HL - 240 hours minimum).

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
An interdisciplinary, two semester course that explores the different concepts of knowledge found in the subject areas.

Extended Essay (EE)
An individual research project over two years, culminating in a paper of not more than 4,000 words. Students select a topic in one of the curricular areas of study.

Creativity/Activity/Service (CAS)
Volunteering and community/school involvement, including music/dramatic performances and sports participation.

Helpful Resources and Links

International Baccalaureate District Site 
How Do Universities View The IB Diploma Programme
Diploma Program Guide
IB Guide for Parents
How IB Differs from AP

Core Program Components

Extended Essay

Learner Profile
  • Ten traits that link all IB teaching and learning, the Learner Profile forms the backbone of an IB education.
Approaches to Teaching and Learning(ATL)
  • In an IB education, students utilize these approaches to understand and learn new concepts and material.

Alden B. Dow House/IB Partnership