International Baccalaureate Program

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    •  What is the International Baccalaureate?

      The International Baccalaureate diploma program is a comprehensive and rigorous college-preparatory program designed to meet the needs of academically talented and highly motivated high school students. Only schools authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization in Geneva, Switzerland may offer the IB curriculum and allow their students to sit for IB examinations in hopes of earning an IB diploma.  IB diploma students follow a prescribed course of study in six disciplines, sit for examinations in each discipline, and fulfill additional requirements of the program.

      Internationally recognized as one of the most challenging college-preparatory curricula available, this prestigious program is offered in over 1,400 schools in 130 countries.  IB students are assured that their courses of study conform to world standards, not merely local, state, or national standards.  The student who fulfills IB's expectations demonstrates a strong commitment to learning, in terms of both the mastery of subject content and the development of the skills and discipline necessary for success in a competitive world.  Students who successfully complete the program and pass their IB examinations earn the IB diploma and may earn college credit and advanced standing at colleges and universities around the world.  To learn more about IBO, visit its Web site,

    • How does the IB Diploma Program compare with other qualifications?

      By encouraging students to develop intellectually, emotionally and ethically as well as academically, the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) differs from other education frameworks.

      Over the last 10 years several qualification bodies and research institutions have compared elements of DP course curriculums and assessments with others courses of study.

      Overall findings from the research have been very favourable for the DP.

      The Education Policy Improvement Center undertook a four-year project [1.2 MB]  to create a set of academic-content standards in eight DP subject areas and determined the degree to which these standards aligned with accepted college-readiness standards.

      In 2012, the UK’s Ofqual compared A levels to 19 other curriculums/examinations, including the IB Diploma Programme. The DP material was highly regarded in a number of areas.

      In the US, a comparison of four DP standard level (SL) courses (biology, mathematics, language A and world history) and similar Advanced Placement (AP) courses assigned the DP SL courses equal or higher grades than the AP courses.

      What has IB research shown so far?

      Several studies commissioned by the IB have concluded that, compared to their peers, IB students tend to go to university at higher rates, go to more selective universities, and perform better once there. For example:

      • Former DP students in the United States (US) are significantly more likely to attend a ‘selective’ or ‘highly selective’ institution compared to the average US college-goer.
      • In the UK, they are more than twice as likely attend a top 20 university than the average A level student.
      • Minority and low income IB students from Chicago Public Schools were shown to go on to university at significantly higher rates than a matched control group of their non-IB peers of similar academic ability.
      • Feedback collected from a wide range of IB graduates suggests that IB students have an easier time adjusting to university studies.  
      • Surveys of university and college admissions staff in the US, the European Union (EU) and Australia show that these professionals are both familiar with the programme and hold it in very high esteem compared to other qualifications.
      • An analysis of the recognition policies of the top universities in the US reveals that most of these institutions grant credit or advanced standing for high performance in DP courses. 

      For more detail on these findings, please explore our research

    • How is the Diploma Programme different from other pre-university academic programmes? 

      The Diploma Programme is a comprehensive and balanced two-year curriculum and assessment system that requires students to study six subjects and core components across all disciplines. Within this structured framework, the DP provides a great deal of flexibility, accommodating student interests and abilities. Through careful subject selection, students may tailor their course of studies to meet their needs.

      Regardless of the subject selection, all students explore the connections between the six major subject areas, study each subject through an international perspective, reflect critically on aspects of knowledge, pursue one subject in great detail through independent research, and have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills through local and community service.

      The assessment of student achievements happens in a variety of ways throughout the course of the two-year programme. It includes the assessment of student work both by external examiners as well as the students’ own teachers. Internal or teacher assessment normally contributes between 20% and 30% of the subject assessment, but can account for as much as 50% in some of the arts courses. The assessment itself undergoes careful review and moderation to ensure that a common standard is applied equally to the work of all students internationally. All students’ work, regardless of which school they attended, are subjects to the same assessment principles.

      The IB diploma is widely recognized by colleges and universities around the world as superior preparation for students to succeed at post-secondary institutions.

      You can find more information on the Diploma Programme here.

    • Which Universities Recognize the IB Diploma Program? 

      Higher education institutions around the world admit students based on their IB credentials, and many have specific admissions policies and guidelines for IB students. Admissions criteria can vary widely across educational systems and selectivity of the institution.

      University policy index 

      The university policy index [505 KB]  includes examples of self-reported policy information provided by universities to the IB. Please check with individual universities prior to college application.

    • Where do IB students tend to go to university and how do they do once there? 

      There is a growing body of evidence on how universities value IB credentials, rates of college-going for IB students and types of institutions IB students tend to attend, preparedness for university level study and adjustment to university life. Read a brief introduction to research on postsecondary patterns of IB students.



  • Five things I would have done differently

    Very meaningful thoughts and advice from an IB graduate - a message worth its weight in GOLD!

    Comments (-1)
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Last Modified on September 6, 2019