The Diploma Years

(Note: The Diploma Programme at Malvern will start at a later date with our first cohort in September 2021)

The Diploma Programme model

The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is a rigorous, academically challenging and balanced programme designed to prepare students aged 16 to 19 for success at university and in life. The DP aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable, inquiring, caring, open-minded and to develop intercultural understanding and the attitudes necessary to appreciate a range of viewpoints. The Programme is made up of the Diploma core and six subject groups.

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.

Choosing subjects in the Diploma Programme

Students choose courses from the subject groups listed below.

  • Students have the option to study an additional subject from the Sciences, or an additional subject from Individuals and Societies, instead of a course in the arts.
  • Each student takes at least three (but not more than four) subjects at Higher Level (HL), and the remaining 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.
  • Over the 2-year study of the Diploma Programme, Standard Level subjects take up 150 teaching hours and Higher Level comprise 240 teaching hours.
  • The following are the six subject groups and the list of subject choices that we anticipate offering and will expand over time:

    • Studies in language and literature
      • English
      • Chinese
    • Language Acquisition
      • English
      • Chinese
    • Individuals and Societies
      • Geography
      • History
      • Global Politics
      • Information Technology in a Global Society
      • Economics
      • Business Management
      • Philosophy
      • Psychology
    • Sciences
      • Biology
      • Chemistry
      • Physics
      • Environmental Systems and Societies
      • Computer Science
      • Design Technology
      • Sports, Exercise and Health Science
    • Mathematics
      • Mathematics SL
      • Mathematics HL
      • Mathematical Studies
    • The Arts
      • Music
      • Visual Arts
      • Dance
      • Film
      • Theatre
      • Literature and Performance

Curriculum and Assessment

Both SL and HL courses are meant to span the two years of the DP. In most cases both SL and HL courses consist of the same educational aims, core syllabus and curriculum and assessment models. HL courses typically also include a range of additional elements designed to allow students to explore areas of interest within the subject in more depth. In this sense, SL courses are not watered down versions of their HL counterparts. The assessment criteria are equally demanding for both levels, and SL exams are marked and standardised with the same rigour as with all IB coursework.

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