Curricula July 11, 2019

What is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)?

We asked 4 International Baccalaureate experts to explain what is the IB Diploma Programme and how it works. Learn more about this in this article!

What is the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP)?
How is the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP)structured?
What are the Benefits of the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP)?
What’s the university recognition of the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) like?
Is the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) right for you?
Read the Full Answers by IB Experts

Read the answers provided by the IB Experts from the best IB schools in the world !


What is the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP)?

The IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) is a high-quality two-year IB course offered to students aged 16 to 19 from all over the world. The IBDP aims to develop students physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically, and it culminates in the award of a worldwide recognized Diploma.
Experts Say:
The IB DP is a two-year programme offered in the last 2 years of high school. Students study 6 subjects and three core elements and complete examinations at the end of the programmes, resulting in an IB Diploma.
Experts Say:
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program (DP) is for students aged 16-19 who wish to attend a top university almost anywhere in the world. It is for students who are looking to become wholly educated and seeking a challenging, but rewarding program of study. The IBDP is also for students who hope to gain an increased understanding of different languages, cultures, and globally significant ideas and issues.


How is the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) structured?

Experts Say:
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), It’s a rigorous 2-year programme, with students sitting final exams at the end of the two years in May. There are 6 subject groups on offer for IBDP, and students choose one course from each of the subject groups. There is also the option to study an additional Sciences, Individuals and Societies, or Languages course instead of a course in The Arts. The IBDP is divided into levels, with each student required to take at least 3(but not more than 4) subjects at Higher Level ( HL), and the remaining at Standard Level ( SL). HL and SL courses differ in scope but fewer subjects are measured according to the same grade descriptors, with students expected to demonstrate a greater body of knowledge, understanding, and skills at a higher level. Aside from the subject groups, the IBDP has 3 compulsory core elements: Theory of Knowledge( TOK), the Extended Essay( EE), and Creativity, Action, Service ( CAS). Theory of Knowledge asks students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know. It is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1,600-word essay. The Extended Essay is an independent piece of study that culminates with a 4,000-word paper. Finally, CAS requires students to get involved with creative, physical and charitable/voluntary activities.


What are the Benefits of the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP)?

The IBDP offers students and families a lot of benefits:

  • It provides both breadth and depth to study;
  • It’s a recognized programme throughout the world;
  • It encourages students’ academic development;
  • It is supported by extensive and continual research into curriculum and pedagogy.
Experts Say:
The IB Diploma is a rigorous programme that prepares students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to do well at university and life outside of university. The strength of the IB Diploma is that it is both deep and broad. IB research shows that students graduating with an IB Diploma are more likely to be enrolled at top universities and are more likely to complete their degree (www.ibo.org/research, 2014).
Experts Say:
There are many benefits to choosing the IB Diploma Program. Students are better able to cope with demanding workloads, meet expectation placed on them, and manage their time. It also gives students a much broader view of life and increases their understanding of different languages, cultures, and globally significant ideas and issues.
Experts Say:
Firstly, the IB is recognized in (almost) every country in the world as excellent preparation for university entry. This means that students can be mobile in their future, allowing them to broaden their horizons for future study and employment as the IBO is recognised by employers as a post-16 qualification.
Experts Say:
The IBDP also encourages students’ academic development, helping become more academically confident, independent and critical. It teaches students how to manage their own time, and to explore themes across their subjects rather than treating each subject as self-contained. These prepare students to become true academics with an advanced approach to study, allowing them to hit the ground running at university.


What’s the university recognition of the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) like?

Experts Say:
Excellent. While not all countries truly recognize the difficulty of the programme and therefore set unrealistic expectations in terms of grades for entry, overall a strong IBDP score will open doors to top universities world-wide. Parents and students must be aware, however, that the IBDP is not an automatic entry: students still have to achieve high scores if they are targeting world-class universities. Countries like Canada have very welcoming policies for IBDP students, and some USA universities offer advanced credit for strong grades in the higher level subjects. Disappointingly, Russian universities and some countries in Central and South America are not equally welcoming, while German and Swiss universities have strict regulations on which subjects are accepted.

Is the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) right for you?

When deciding if the IBDP is the right choice for you, there are so many factors at play. In order to make sure you will make the right decision, read what the best IB schools’ experts say!

Are You Committed to Learning?
The IB Diploma Programme is a demanding and content-heavy course which requires constant work and excellent performance over a two-year period.

Experts Say:
Students taking the IB Diploma do better if they have a good attitude towards learning and are not averse to working hard. The IB is a good choice for students planning on going to university after high school.
Experts Say:
The IBDP is a rigorous programme that requires determination, commitment and perseverance. As IBDP Coordinator, my role is to help guide students through the process and ensure that they are on track to meet their grades and university requirements. If you would like to know more, I recommend speaking to the IBDP Coordinator at your school!
What are your Future Academic Goals?
The IB Diploma Program takes a holistic approach, and aims to develop “well-rounded students”, therefore it exposes them to a much wider range of subjects than other curriculums which tend to focus intensively on a particular subject.
Experts Say:
Many students describe the IB curriculum as challenging, but rewarding. Students who would prefer to focus on fewer subjects to create an area of specialism may prefer different curricula. Students may also wish to consider where they would like to continue their education and what programs of study will contribute best to their chosen higher education aspirations.

Read the Full Answers by IB Experts

Yew Chung International School (YCIS)

At YCIS Beijing we offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), which students study in Year 12 and Year 13. It’s a rigorous two-year programme, with students sitting final exams at the end of the two years in May. There are six subject groups on offer for IBDP, and students choose one course from each of the subject groups. There is also the option to study an additional Sciences, Individuals and Societies, or Languages course instead of a course in The Arts. The IBDP is divided into levels, with each student required to take 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 fewer subjects are measured according to the same grade descriptors, with students expected to demonstrate a greater body of knowledge, understanding and skills at higher level. Aside from the subject groups, the IBDP has three compulsory core elements: Theory of Knowledge, the Extended Essay, and Creativity, Action, Service (CAS). Theory of Knowledge asks students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know. It is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1,600 word essay. The Extended Essay is an independent piece of study that culminates with a 4,000 word paper. Finally, CAS requires students to get involved with creative, physical and charitable/voluntary activities. YCIS Beijing also supports the bilingual IB Diploma. If a student studies Chinese or Korean Language and Literature in school, they may earn a bilingual IB Diploma. Alternatively, students may take Language and Literature in their self-studied mother tongue, also enabling them to complete the bilingual Diploma. In 2018, more than half of our students earned a bilingual Diploma.

Who is the programme for?
It’s for academically strong students aged 16-19 years old, especially for those aiming for places at the world’s leading universities.

What are the benefits?
The nature of the IBDP means that there are many benefits to students, spanning academic and non-academic areas. Firstly, in terms of university applications. The IBDP is recognised by universities in nearly 150 countries worldwide. CAS, the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge all provide students with ample material for university application essays. The demands of the course also prepare students for the academic step-up at university, and some universities even give course credit for IBDP courses taken. It also encourages students’ academic development, helping become more academically confident, independent and critical. It teaches students how to manage their own time, and to explore themes across their subjects rather than treating each subject as self-contained. These prepare students to become true academics with an advanced approach to study, allowing them to hit the ground running at university.

How to know if it is the right choice for my child?
The IBDP is a rigorous programme that requires determination, commitment and perseverance. As IBDP Coordinator at YCIS Beijing, my role is to help guide students through the process and ensure that they are on track to meet their grades and university requirements. If you would like to know more, I recommend speaking to the IBDP Coordinator at your school!


KIS International School

What is the DP Programme (DP)?
The IB DP is a two year programme offered in the last 2 years of high school. Students study 6 subjects and three core elements and complete examinations at the end of the programmes, resulting in an IB Diploma.

Who is the programme for?
The programme is for 16-19 year olds.

What are the benefits?
The IB Diploma is a rigorous programme that prepares students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to do well at university and life outside of university. The strength of the IB Diploma is that it is both deep and broad. IB research shows that students graduating with an IB Diploma are more likely to be enrolled at top universities and are more likely to complete their degree (www.ibo.org/research, 2014). Students taking the IB Diploma do not have to specialize early and they can leave their options of what to study or in which field they would like to work until later. The core elements of the Diploma furthermore provide benefits that other curricula don’t include. Students learn to question the status quo in all of their subjects by learning Theory of Knowledge. They lead a balanced life by engaging in Creativity, Activity and Service, and through writing their original research paper, the extended essay, they solidify their skills in research, writing, citation and time management. On top of these skills, IB students are independent, open-minded and culturally aware, which helps them to be successful at university.

How to know if it is the right choice for my child?
Students taking the IB Diploma do better if they have a good attitude towards learning and are not averse to working hard. The IB is a good choice for students planning on going to university after high school.


Collège Alpin Beau Soleil

What are the benefits of the IBDP? Why should you choose it?
Collège Alpin International Beau Soleil advocates three main reasons for choosing the IBDP. Firstly, the IB is recognized in (almost) every country in the world as excellent preparation for university entry. This means that students can be mobile in their future, allowing them to broaden their horizons for future study and employment as the IBO is recognised by employers as a post-16 qualification. Secondly, the IB provides both breadth and depth to study, allowing students to choose their areas of strength (Science, Languages, Humanities, Performing and Fine Arts) whilst still giving importance to other fields of study such as communication. Communication and the ability to communicate effectively is a key skill in every field through written, oral, mathematical and scientific forms. The final reason relates to the challenge of the IB programme which does not focus only on academics but requires students to also think of others through Service and to care for their own wellbeing through reflection, Activity, and Creativity. A student on the IBDP cannot simply shut themselves away for two years and study!

What’s the university recognition of the IBDP like?
Excellent. While not all countries truly recognize the difficulty of the programme and therefore set unrealistic expectations in terms of grades for entry, overall a strong IBDP score will open doors to top universities worldwide. Parents and students must be aware, however, that the IBDP is not an automatic entry: students still have to achieve high scores if they are targeting world-class universities. Countries like Canada have very welcoming policies for IBDP students, and some USA universities offer advanced credit for strong grades in the higher level subjects. Disappointingly, Russian universities and some countries in Central and South America are not equally welcoming, while German and Swiss universities have strict regulations on which subjects are accepted, but overall students graduating from Beau Soleil benefit by taking the IBDP.


The American International School

What is the DP Programme (DP)?
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program (DP) is for students aged 16-19. There are many benefits to the Diploma Program, as it aims to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge. Typically, students taking the Diploma Program flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally, and ethically. They often feel completely equipped for the challenges they encounter in higher education.

Who is the programme for?
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program (DP) is for students aged 16-19 who wish to attend a top university almost anywhere in the world. It is for students who are looking to become wholly educated and seeking a challenging, but rewarding program of study. The IBDP is also for students who hope to gain an increased understanding of different languages, cultures, and globally significant ideas and issues.

What are the benefits?
There are many benefits to choosing the IB Diploma Program. Students are better able to cope with demanding workloads, meet expectation placed on them, and manage their time. It also gives students a much broader view of life and increases their understanding of different languages, cultures, and globally significant ideas and issues.