IB Curriculum: IB Diploma Program

iB curr

The IB Diploma Program (DP)

The full Diploma Program (DP) is designed to prepare students in the best way possible for College/University expectations and requirements. The many benefits of this preparation and its results are shown by extensive research. All IB courses are taken Junior and Senior years. Freshman and Sophomore years are preparatory to the courses chosen.

Curriculum Requirements

The DP Program concentrates on all areas of a well-rounded liberal arts education. Courses come from the six curriculum groups (see model above).

Requirements: Each Diploma Candidate must take at least one course in each of the above 6 curriculum groups after completing required prerequisites; see the IB Diploma Candidate 4-Year Planner.

  • At least three (but no more than four) must be studied on a Higher Level (HL) (two years)
  • the remaining courses are studied on a Standard Level (SL) (one-two years depending on completed pre-requisites; see course outlines in the IB Diploma Candidate 4-Year Planner.
  • There are special considerations for Group 6:
    • An IB Arts Course can be replaced with
      • a third IB Language (Group 2)
      • an additional course from Group 3
      • an additional course from Group 4
      • Further Mathematics HL (Group 5)


The DP Core

In addition to the above listed IB Curriculum, there are three important features unique to the DP Program and known as the DP Core–Theory of Knowledge; Creativity, Action, and Service; and the Extended Essay. These elements are required for completion of the Diploma and contribute greatly to the overall education of the student. All of these components work to develop the student into a life-long learner (Learner Profile)

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

This is a two semester course with the first semester taken at the end of the junior year and the second semester taken at the beginning of the senior year. It is an interdisciplinary course designed to stimulate critical reflection on the knowledge gained inside and outside the classroom. Students examine the basis of knowledge as well as how we learn. They learn how to be aware of subjective and ideological biases, and how to analyze, contrast, and compare. They learn tolerance and appreciation for the ideas and perspectives of other people and cultures. The course also concentrates on concurrency of learning between all the IB courses. This is a course unique to the IB program.

Extended Essay (EE)

The Extended Essay is an opportunity for each student to choose a topic of interest to research. There are over 35 subjects with an infinite number of topics and questions to research. It is truly an opportunity for the students to find an area of high interest to them that has potential for research. The purpose of the essay is to show the ability to research and write in the style expected of university-bound students. The essay itself is of a length of 4000 words maximum. This project is monitored through the ToK Class (no separate class required).

Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS)

The goal of this component is to keep students involved in their school and community outside the IB classroom. These activities work toward the stated goal of IB to foster responsible, compassionate citizens. Students may participate in performing arts, sports, student clubs, leadership, debate, service projects... just about anything outside the IB classroom which can be shown to develop creativity, physical activity, and/or service. Students are expected to continue in these activities throughout the two years in the IB program and present reflections on their experiences. These activites are monitored through interviews with the CAS Coordinator (no separate class required).

Please click to see the IB Learner Profile

Please click on the IB Diploma Candidate 4-Year Planner to see the IB Courses offered by Hillcrest High School.