The DP is an academically challenging programme of education aiming at developing the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students, and is highly valued by universities all over the world.
The programme offers breadth and depth of knowledge through an international education that extends across national frontiers and aims at creating global, responsible citizens who recognize that people of the world share a common heritage that deserves respect.
The development of the IB learner profile attributes is at the core of the IB philosophy.
“The learner profile is the IB’s mission in action. It requires IB learners to strive to become inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers (courageous), balanced and reflective. These attributes of internationally minded people represent a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond a concern for intellectual development and academic content. They imply a commitment to implement standards and practices that help all members of the school community learn to respect themselves, others and the world around them”. (IB: From principles into practice, 2015)
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum sets out the requirements for study of the DP.
The curriculum is made up of the DP core and six subject groups.
Made up of the three required components, the DP core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills.
The three core elements are:
- Theory of knowledge, in which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.
- The extended essay, which is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.
- Creativity, activity, service, in which students complete a project related to those three concepts.
The six subject groups are:
- Studies in language and literature
- Language acquisition
- Individuals and societies
- The arts.
There are different courses within each subject group.
Choosing subjects in the Diploma Programme
Students choose courses from the following subject groups: studies in language and literature; language acquisition; individuals and societies; sciences; mathematics; and the arts.
Students may opt to study an additional sciences, individuals and societies, or languages course, instead of a course in the arts.
Students will take some subjects at higher level (HL) and some at standard level (SL). HL and SL courses differ in scope but are measured according to the same grade descriptors, with students expected to demonstrate a greater body of knowledge, understanding and skills at higher level.
Each student takes at least three (but not more than four) subjects at higher level, and the remaining at standard level.
Standard level subjects take up 150 teaching hours. Higher level comprises 240 teaching hours.
Pathway to university and employment
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) is recognized and respected by the world’s leading universities, and evidence suggests that higher rates of DP students go on to university and higher education study than non-IB students.
DP students apply to more than 3,300 higher education institutions each year, in close to 90 countries.
The most popular of these institutions are ranked among the top universities in the world.
The IB recognition resource and document library has testimonials from universities working with DP students, and our research pages look in detail at the performance of DP students, including comparisons with other students.
Choosing IB: impact on university admissions
Research suggests that the DP is a strong pathway to university – the impact of studying the DP on admission to university and higher education depends on each student’s performance.
The IB has answered frequently asked questions about the DP and admission to university.
There is information relevant to students, universities and parents, covering questions like:
- How do DP scores equate to other qualifications?
- How is the DP different from other pre-university academic programmes?
The DP as a pathway to employment
The DP focuses on rigorous academic study, within a broad and balanced curriculum, which can prepare students well for employment.
Students in the DP also have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to community service, gaining valuable experience outside the academic world.
See creativity, action, service (CAS) for further information.