Privacy Policy

The British International School of Jeddah (BISJ) takes the privacy of its website users very seriously.

What this website privacy Policy covers:

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Changes to this privacy policy:

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Group 1: Studies in language and literature

  • Language A: Literature
  • Language A: Language and literature

Arabic, English, French

Language A: Literature 

Course Description

The course is built on the assumption that literature is concerned with our conceptions, interpretations and experiences of the world. The study of literature can therefore be seen as an exploration of the way it represents the complex pursuits, anxieties, joys and fears to which human beings are exposed in the daily business of living. It enables an exploration of one of the more enduring fields of human creativity, and provides opportunities for encouraging independent, original, critical and clear thinking. It also promotes respect for the imagination and a perceptive approach to the understanding and interpretation of literary works.


Through the study of a wide range of literature, the language A: literature course encourages students to appreciate the artistry of literature and to develop an ability to reflect critically on their reading. Works are studied in their literary and cultural contexts, through close study of individual texts and passages, and by considering a range of critical approaches. In view of the international nature of the IB and its commitment to intercultural understanding, the language A: literature course does not limit the study of works to the products of one culture or the cultures covered by any one language. The study of works in translation is especially important in introducing students, through literature, to other cultural perspectives. The response to the study of literature is through oral and written communication, thus enabling students to develop and refine their command of language.


Self-taught Languages

Students whose native language is neither English nor Arabic may also enrol in the language A: literature self-taught course at the Standard Level. This is an entirely self-guided course for students who have demonstrated comfort and ability levels reading and analysing literature in their native language. Special permission must be sought from the IB DP Coordinator before enrolling in a self-study course.


Arabic, English, French

Language A: Language and Literature 

Course Description

The study of the texts produced in a language is central to an active engagement with language and culture and, by extension, to how we see and understand the world in which we live. A key aim of the language A: language and literature course is to encourage students to question the meaning generated by language and texts, which, it can be argued, is rarely straightforward and unambiguous. Helping students to focus closely on the language of the texts they study and to become aware of the role of each text’s wider context in shaping its meaning is central to the course.


The language A: language and literature course aims to develop in students skills of textual analysis and the understanding that texts, both literary and non-literary, can be seen as autonomous yet simultaneously related to culturally determined reading practices. The course is designed to be flexible—teachers have the opportunity to construct it in a way that reflects the interests and concerns that are relevant to their students while developing in students a range of transferable skills. An understanding of the ways in which formal elements are used to create meaning in a text is combined with an exploration of how that meaning is affected by reading practices that are culturally defined and by the circumstances of production and reception.


In view of the international nature of the IB and its commitment to intercultural understanding, the language A: language and literature course does not limit the study of texts to the products of one culture or of the cultures covered by any one language. The study of literature in translation from other cultures is especially important to IB Diploma Programme students because it contributes to a global perspective, thereby promoting an insight into, and understanding of, the different ways in which cultures influence and shape the experiences of life common to all humanity.


Group 2: Language acquisition

  • Language B
  • Language ab initio
Arabic, English, French, Spanish
Language B 
Course Description
Language B is an additional language-learning course designed for students with some previous learning of that language. It may be studied at either SL or HL. The main focus of the course is on language acquisition and development of language skills. These language skills will be developed through the study and use of a range of written and spoken material. Such material will extend from everyday oral exchanges to literary texts, and will be related to the culture(s) concerned. The material will be chosen to enable students to develop mastery of language skills and intercultural understanding.
The study of an additional language adds to the international dimension of the Diploma Programme. While learning the target language, the student becomes aware of the similarities and differences between his or her own culture(s) and those of the target culture(s). With this awareness, a greater respect for other peoples and the way in which they lead their lives is fostered. Within the course framework, through the study of authentic texts, students investigate and reflect on cultural values and behaviours. The language B course achieves this reflection on cultural values and behaviours in different ways.
The language B course seeks to develop international understanding and foster a concern for global issues, as well as to raise students’ awareness of their own responsibility at a local level. It also seeks to develop students’ intercultural awareness, which contributes to the relationship between language B and the international dimension.

Arabic, French, Spanish, Mandarin*

Language ab initio 

Course Description

The language ab initio course is organised into three themes.

Individual and society

Leisure and work

Urban and rural environment


Each theme has a list of topics that provide the students with opportunities to practise and explore the language as well as to develop intercultural understanding. Through the development of receptive, productive and interactive skills, students should be able to respond and interact appropriately in a defined range of everyday situations. Each language ab initio course has a language-specific syllabus that is used in conjunction with the guide. Language ab initio is available at SL only.


The study of an additional language adds to the international dimension of the Diploma Programme. Intercultural understanding is a major cohesive element of the syllabus in language ab initio. While learning the target language, the student becomes aware of the similarities and differences between his or her own culture(s) and those of the target culture(s). With this awareness, a greater respect for other peoples and the way in which they lead their lives is fostered. Within the course framework, through the study of authentic texts, students investigate and reflect on cultural values and behaviours.


The language ab initio course achieves this reflection on cultural values and behaviours in different ways. The course’s three broad themes are well suited to fostering an international perspective. The language ab initio course, albeit at a basic level, seeks to develop intercultural understanding and foster a concern for global issues, as well as to raise students’ awareness of their own responsibility at a local level.



The language ab initio course is designed for students with little or no prior experience of the language they wish to study. All final decisions on the appropriateness of the course for which students are entered are taken by the IB DP Coordinator in conjunction with teachers, using their experience and professional judgment to guide them. The most important consideration is that the language ab initio course should be a challenging educational experience for the student.


* Mandarin

The Mandarin course will be delivered via an on-line platform and is limited to a maximum enrolment level of five students. These students will work under the guidance of an on-site coordinator who will monitor student progress as they work in the Pamoja Education on-line environment. Only highly-motivated students with high effort scores in KS4 will be permitted to enrol in this course. Please note that there will be a non-refundable technology fee associated with the delivery of the Mandarin ab initio course.


Group 3: Individuals and societies

  • Business and management
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Global politics
  • History
  • Information technology in a global society
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology

Business and Management (SL/HL) 

Course Description

Business and management is a rigorous and dynamic discipline that examines business decision-making processes and how these decisions impact on and are affected by internal and external environments. It is the study of both the way in which individuals and groups interact in an organization and of the transformation of resources


The Diploma Programme business and management course is designed to develop an understanding of business theory, as well as an ability to apply business principles, practices and skills. The application of tools and techniques of analysis facilitates an appreciation of complex business activities. The course considers the diverse range of business organizations and activities and the cultural and economic context in which business operates.


Emphasis is placed on strategic decision-making and the day-to-day business functions of marketing, production, human resource management and finance. Links between the topics are central to the course, and this integration promotes a holistic overview of business activity.


The business and management course aims to help students understand the implications of business activity in a global market. It is designed to give students an international perspective of business and to promote their appreciation of cultural diversity through the study of topics like international marketing, human resource management, growth and business strategy.


The ideals of international cooperation and responsible citizenship are at the heart of Diploma Programme business and management. The course encourages the appreciation of ethical concerns and issues of social responsibility in the global business environment. Students should be able to make sense of the forces and circumstances that drive and restrain change in an interdependent and multicultural world. The business and management course will contribute to students’ development as critical and effective participants in local and world affairs.

Course Description
Economics is a dynamic social science, forming part of group 3 – individuals and societies. The study of economics is essentially about dealing with scarcity, resource allocation and the methods and processes by which choices are made in the satisfaction of human wants. As a social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements.
The IB Diploma Programme economics course emphasizes the economic theories of microeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting individuals, firms and markets, and the economic theories of macroeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting countries, governments and societies. These economic theories are not studied in a vacuum; rather, they are applied to real-world issues. Prominent among these issues are fluctuations in economic activity, international trade, economic development and environmental sustainability.
The ethical dimensions involved in the application of economic theories and policies permeate throughout the economics course as students are required to consider and reflect on human end-goals and values.
The economics course encourages students to develop international perspectives, fosters a concern for global issues, and raises students’ awareness of their own responsibilities at a local, national and international level. The course also seeks to develop values and attitudes that will enable students to achieve a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interdependent world.


Course Description

Geography is a dynamic subject that is firmly grounded in the real world and focuses on the interactions between individuals, societies and the physical environment in both time and space. It seeks to identify trends and patterns in these interactions and examines the processes behind them. It also investigates the way that people adapt and respond to change and evaluates management strategies associated with such change. Geography describes and helps to explain the similarities and differences between spaces and places. These may be defined on a variety of scales and from a range of perspectives.


Within group 3 subjects, geography is distinctive in that it occupies the middle ground between social sciences and natural sciences. The Diploma Programme geography course integrates both physical and human geography, and ensures that students acquire elements of both scientific and socio-economic methodologies. Geography takes advantage of its position between both these groups of subjects to examine relevant concepts and ideas from a wide variety of disciplines. This helps students develop an appreciation of, and a respect for, alternative approaches, viewpoints and ideas.


The geography course examines key global issues, such as poverty, sustainability and climate change. It considers examples and detailed case studies at a variety of scales, from local to regional, national and international. Inherent in the syllabus is a consideration of different perspectives, economic circumstances and social and cultural diversity.


Geography seeks to develop international understanding and foster a concern for global issues as well as to raise students’ awareness of their own responsibility at a local level. Geography also aims to develop values and attitudes that will help students reach a degree of personal commitment in trying to resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interconnected world.

The optional themes covered in this course will be: Extreme environments; Hazards and disasters – risk assessment and response; and Leisure, sport and tourism.


Global Politics 

Course Description

The twenty-first century is characterised by rapid change and increasing interconnectedness, impacting people in unprecedented ways and creating complex global political challenges. The study of global politics enables students to critically engage with new perspectives and approaches to politics, in order to better make sense of this changing world and their role in it as active citizens. Global politics is an exciting dynamic subject which draws on a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, reflecting the complex nature of many political issues.


 The Diploma Programme global politics course explores fundamental political concepts such as power, rights, liberty and equality, in a range of contexts and at a variety of levels. It allows students to develop an understanding of the local, national, international and global dimensions of political activity, as well as allowing them the opportunity to explore political issues affecting their own lives. The course helps students to understand abstract political concepts by grounding them in real world examples and case studies. It also invites comparison between such examples and case studies to ensure a transnational perspective.


The core units of the course together make up a central unifying theme of “people, power and politics.” The emphasis on people reflects the fact that the course explores politics not only at a state level but also explores the function and impact of non-state actors, communities and individuals. The concept of power is also emphasised as being particularly crucial to understanding the dynamics and tensions of global politics. Throughout the course issues such as conflict or migration are explored through an explicitly political lens; politics providing a uniquely rich context in which to explore how people and power interact.

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Course Description

History is more than the study of the past. It is the process of recording, reconstructing and interpreting the past through the investigation of a variety of sources. It is a discipline that gives people an understanding of themselves and others in relation to the world, both past and present.


Students of history should learn how the discipline works. It is an exploratory subject that poses questions without providing definitive answers. In order to understand the past, students must engage with it both through exposure to primary historical sources and through the work of historians. Historical study involves both selection and interpretation of data and critical evaluation of it. Students of history should appreciate the relative nature of historical knowledge and understanding, as each generation reflects its own world and preoccupations and as more evidence emerges. A study of history both requires and develops an individual’s understanding of, and empathy for, people living in other periods and contexts.


Diploma Programme history fosters an understanding of major historical events in a global context. It requires students to make comparisons between similar and dissimilar solutions to common human situations, whether they be political, economic or social. It invites comparisons between, but not judgments of, different cultures, political systems and national traditions.


The content of the history course is intrinsically interesting and it is hoped that many students who follow it will become fascinated with the discipline, developing a lasting interest in it, whether or not they continue to study it formally.


The international perspective in Diploma Programme history provides a sound platform for the promotion of international understanding and, inherently, the intercultural awareness necessary to prepare students for global citizenship. Above all, it helps to foster respect and understanding of people and events in a variety of cultures throughout the world. 

Information Technology in a Global Society 
Course Description
The IB Diploma Programme information technology in a global society (ITGS) course is the study and evaluation of the impacts of information technology (IT) on individuals and society. It explores the advantages and disadvantages of the access and use of digitized information at the local and global level. ITGS provides a framework for the student to make informed judgments and decisions about the use of IT within social contexts.
Although ITGS shares methods of critical investigation and analysis with other social sciences, it also considers social and ethical considerations that are common to other subjects in group 3. Students come into contact with IT on a daily basis because it is so pervasive in the world in which we live. This increasingly widespread use of IT inevitably raises important questions with regard to the social and ethical considerations that shape our society today. ITGS offers an opportunity for a systematic study of these considerations, whose range is such that they fall outside the scope of any other single discipline.
The nature of the subject is defined by the use of fundamental ITGS terms. For the purpose of the ITGS syllabus the following definitions apply.
Information technology (IT) is the study, design, development, implementation, support or maintenance of computer-based information systems.
Social and ethical significance refers to the effects that the development, implementation and use of information technology has on individuals and societies. Social impacts and ethical considerations are not mutually exclusive and are therefore categorized as a single entity. However, in general:
1. social impacts tend to refer to the effects of IT on human life
2. ethical considerations tend to refer to the responsibility and accountability involved in the design and implementation of IT.
An information system is a collection of people, information technologies, data, processes and policies organized to accomplish specific functions and solve specific problems.
ITGS has links with subjects not included in group 3, notably computer science, but it should be noted that there are clear differences between the subjects. The main difference between ITGS and computer science relates to the focus of study. ITGS is about how people are affected by systems already in use and those planned for the future. Computer science looks first at the technology and then later at its interaction with those affected by it. Some degree of overlap between the two subjects is intentional, inevitable and desirable.
Course Description
This course will be delivered via an on-line platform and is limited to a maximum enrolment level of five students. These students will work under the guidance of an on-site coordinator who will monitor student progress as they work in the Pamoja Education on-line environment. Only highly-motivated students with high effort scores in KS4 will be permitted to enrol in this course. Please note that there will be a non-refundable technology fee associated with the delivery of this course.
Philosophy deals with issues that are profound, complex, challenging and important for humanity. The Diploma Programme philosophy course aims to be inclusive and to deal with a wide range of issues that can be approached in a philosophical way. A concern with clarity of understanding lies at the core of the philosophy course. This clarity is achieved through critical and systematic thinking, careful analysis of arguments, the study of philosophical themes and a close reading of texts. Through this examination of themes and texts, the philosophy course allows students to explore fundamental questions that people have asked throughout human history. For example: What is it to be a human being? How do I know what is the right thing to do? Moreover, it confronts new problems arising within contemporary society, including those that result from increasing international interaction.
The emphasis of the philosophy course is very much on “doing” philosophy. Doing philosophy requires a willingness to attempt an understanding of alternative views by applying intellectual rigour and cultivating an open and critical mind. It also invites the development of perspectives that encompass cultural pluralism and an awareness of the international context within which it unfolds. This constitutes a new challenge for students doing philosophy within a worldwide perspective—an important feature that is reflected in the themes and activities of the course.
Course Description
This course will be delivered via an on-line platform and is limited to a maximum enrolment level of five students. These students will work under the guidance of an on-site coordinator who will monitor student progress as they work in the Pamoja Education on-line environment. Only highly-motivated students with high effort scores in KS4 will be permitted to enrol in this course. Please note that there will be a non-refundable technology fee associated with the delivery of this course.
Psychology is the systematic study of behaviour and mental processes. Psychology has its roots in both the natural and social sciences, leading to a variety of research designs and applications, and providing a unique approach to understanding modern society.
IB psychology examines the interaction of biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behaviour, thereby adopting an integrative approach. Understanding how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied enables students to achieve a greater understanding of themselves and appreciate the diversity of human behaviour. The ethical concerns raised by the methodology and application of psychological research are key considerations in IB psychology.
IB psychology takes a holistic approach that fosters intercultural understanding and respect. In the core of the IB psychology course, the biological level of analysis demonstrates what all humans share, whereas the cognitive and sociocultural levels of analysis reveal the immense diversity of influences that produce human behaviour and mental processes. Cultural diversity is explored and students are encouraged to develop empathy for the feelings, needs and lives of others within and outside their own culture. This empathy contributes to an international understanding.

Group 4: Sciences

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Environmental systems and societies
  • Physics
  • Sports, health and exercise science


Course Description

Biologists have accumulated huge amounts of information about living organisms, and it would be confusing to learn large numbers of seemingly unrelated facts. In the Diploma Programme biology course, it is hoped that students will acquire a limited body of facts and, at the same time, develop abroad, general understanding of the principles of the subject.


Although the Diploma Programme biology course at standard level (SL) and higher level (HL) has been written as a series of discrete statements, there are four basic biological concepts that run throughout:


1.Structure and function. This relationship is probably one of the most important in a study of biology and operates at all levels of complexity. Students should appreciate that structures permit some functions while, at the same time, limiting others.


2.Universality versus diversity. At the factual level, it soon becomes obvious to students that some molecules (for example, enzymes, amino acids, nucleic acids and ATP) are ubiquitous, and so are processes and structures. However, these universal features exist in a biological world of enormous diversity. Species exist in a range of habitats and show adaptations that relate structure to function. At another level, students can grasp the idea of a living world in which universality means that a diverse range of organisms (including ourselves) are connected and interdependent.


3.Equilibrium within systems. Checks and balances exist both within living organisms and within ecosystems. The state of dynamic equilibrium is essential for the continuity of life.


4.Evolution. The concept of evolution draws together the other themes. It can be regarded as change leading to diversity within constraints, and this leads to adaptations of structure and function.


These four concepts serve as themes that unify the various topics that make up the three sections of the course: the core, the additional higher level (AHL) material and the options.


Course Description
Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. It is called the central science, as chemical principles underpin both the physical environment in which we live and all biological systems. Apart from being a subject worthy of study in its own right, chemistry is a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, such as medicine, biological science and environmental science, and serves as useful preparation for employment.
The Diploma Programme chemistry course includes the essential principles of the subject but also, includes several options (modern analytical chemistry, human biochemistry, chemistry in industry and technology, medicines and drugs, environmental chemistry, food chemistry, and further organic chemistry). The course is available at both standard level (SL) and higher level (HL), and therefore accommodates students who wish to study science in higher education and those who do not.
Computer Science 
Course Description
Computer science requires an understanding of the fundamental concepts of computational thinking as well as knowledge of how computers and other digital devices operate.
The Diploma Programme computer science course is engaging, accessible, inspiring and rigorous. It has the following characteristics:
•Draws on a wide spectrum of knowledge
•Enables and empowers innovation, exploration and the acquisition of further knowledge
•Interacts with and influences cultures, society and how individuals and societies behave
•Raises ethical issues
•Is underpinned by computational thinking.
Computational thinking involves the ability to:
•Think procedurally, logically, concurrently, abstractly, recursively and think ahead
•Utilize an experimental and inquiry-based approach to problem-solving
•Develop algorithms and express them clearly
•Appreciate how theoretical and practical limitations affect the extent to which problems can be solved computationally.
During the course the student will develop computational solutions. This will involve the ability to:
•Identify a problem or unanswered question
•Design, prototype and test a proposed solution
•Liaise with clients to evaluate the success of the proposed solution and make recommendations for future developments.
Computer science has links with subjects outside of group 4, notably information technology in a global society (ITGS), but it should be noted that there are clear differences between the subjects.
Environmental Systems and Societies 
Course Description
As a transdisciplinary subject, environmental systems and societies is designed to combine the techniques and knowledge associated with group 4 (the experimental sciences) with those associated with group 3 (individuals and societies). By choosing to study a transdisciplinary course such as this as part of their diploma, students are able to satisfy the requirements for both groups 3 and 4 of the hexagon, thus allowing them to choose another subject from any hexagon group (including another group 3 or 4 subject). Transdisciplinary subjects therefore introduce more flexibility into the IB Diploma Programme. The environmental systems and societies course is offered at SL only.
The prime intent of this course is to provide students with a coherent perspective of the interrelationships between environmental systems and societies; one that enables them to adopt an informed personal response to the wide range of pressing environmental issues that they will inevitably come to face. Students’ attention will be constantly drawn to their own relationship with their environment and the significance of choices and decisions that they make in their own lives. It is intended that students develop a sound understanding of the interrelationships between environmental systems and societies, rather than a purely journalistic appreciation of environmental issues.
Course Description
Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself, from the very smallest particles – quarks (perhaps 10-17 m in size), which may be truly fundamental – to the vast distances between galaxies (1024 m).
Despite the exciting and extraordinary development of ideas throughout the history of physics, certain things have remained unchanged. Observations remain essential at the very core of physics, and this sometimes requires a leap of imagination to decide what to look for. Models are developed to try to understand the observations, and these themselves can become theories that attempt to explain the observations. Theories are not directly derived from the observations but need to be created. These acts of creation can sometimes compare to those in great art, literature and music, but differ in one aspect that is unique to science: the predictions of these theories or ideas must be tested by careful experimentation. Without these tests, a theory is useless. A general or concise statement about how nature behaves, if found to be experimentally valid over a wide range of observed phenomena, is called a law or a principle.
The Diploma Programme physics course allows students to develop traditional practical skills and techniques and to increase facility in the use of mathematics, which is the language of physics. It also allows students to develop interpersonal skills, and information and communication technology skills, which are essential in modern scientific endeavour and are important life-enhancing, transferable skills in their own right.

Sports, Health and Exercise Science 

Course Description

The attainment of excellence in sport is the result of innate ability or skill and the dedicated pursuit of a programme of physical and mental training accompanied by appropriate nutrition. Training programme design should not be left to chance. Rather, it should be designed thoughtfully and analytically after careful consideration of the physiological, biomechanical and psychological demands of the activity. This is the role of the sport and exercise scientist who, regardless of the athletic event, should be equipped with the necessary knowledge to be able to perform this task competently. Furthermore, in a world where many millions of people are physically inactive and afflicted by chronic disease and ill health, the sport and exercise scientist should be equally proficient when prescribing exercise for the promotion of health and well-being.


Scientific inquiry conducted over many decades, has accumulated a vast amount of information across a range of sub-disciplines that contribute to our understanding of health and human performance in relation to sport and exercise. The Diploma Programme course in sports, exercise and health science involves the study of the science that underpins physical performance and provides the opportunity to apply these principles.


The course incorporates the traditional disciplines of anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, psychology and nutrition, which are studied in the context of sport, exercise and health. Students will cover a range of core and option topics and carry out practical (experimental) investigations in both laboratory and field settings. This will provide an opportunity to acquire the knowledge and understanding necessary to apply scientific principles and critically analyse human performance. Where relevant, the course will address issues of international dimension and ethics by considering sport, exercise and health relative to the individual and in a global context.

Group 5: Mathematics

  • Mathematics HL
  • Mathematics SL
  • Mathematical studies SL
Mathematics HL
Course Description
This course caters for students with a good background in mathematics who are competent in a range of analytical and technical skills. The majority of these students will be expecting to include mathematics as a major component of their university studies, either as a subject in its own right or within courses such as physics, engineering and technology. Others may take this subject because they have a strong interest in mathematics and enjoy meeting its challenges and engaging with its problems.
The course focuses on developing important mathematical concepts in a comprehensible, coherent and rigorous way. This is achieved by means of a carefully balanced approach. Students are encouraged to apply their mathematical knowledge to solve problems set in a variety of meaningful contexts. Development of each topic should feature justification and proof of results. Students embarking on this course should expect to develop insight into mathematical form and structure, and should be intellectually equipped to appreciate the links between concepts in different topic areas. They should also be encouraged to develop the skills needed to continue their mathematical growth in other learning environments.
The internally assessed component, the exploration, offers students the opportunity for developing independence in their mathematical learning. Students are encouraged to take a considered approach to various mathematical activities and to explore different mathematical ideas. The exploration also allows students to work without the time constraints of a written examination and to develop the skills they need for communicating mathematical ideas.
This course is a demanding one, requiring students to study a broad range of mathematical topics through a number of different approaches and to varying degrees of depth. Students wishing to study mathematics in a less rigorous environment should therefore opt for one of the standard level courses, mathematics SL or mathematical studies SL.
Mathematics (SL)
Course Description
This course caters for students who already possess knowledge of basic mathematical concepts, and who are equipped with the skills needed to apply simple mathematical techniques correctly. The majority of these students will expect to need a sound mathematical background as they prepare for future studies in subjects such as chemistry, economics, psychology and business administration.
The course focuses on introducing important mathematical concepts through the development of mathematical techniques. The intention is to introduce students to these concepts in a comprehensible and coherent way, rather than insisting on the mathematical rigour required for mathematics HL. Students should, wherever possible, apply the mathematical knowledge they have acquired to solve realistic problems set in an appropriate context.
The internally assessed component, the exploration, offers students the opportunity for developing independence in their mathematical learning. Students are encouraged to take a considered approach to various mathematical activities and to explore different mathematical ideas. The exploration also allows students to work without the time constraints of a written examination and to develop the skills they need for communicating mathematical ideas.
This course does not have the depth found in the mathematics HL courses. Students wishing to study subjects with a high degree of mathematical content should therefore opt for a mathematics HL course rather than a mathematics SL course.
Mathematical Studies SL
Course Description
This course is available only at standard level, and is equivalent in status to mathematics SL, but addresses different needs. It has an emphasis on applications of mathematics, and the largest section is on statistical techniques. It is designed for students with varied mathematical backgrounds and abilities. It offers students opportunities to learn important concepts and techniques and to gain an understanding of a wide variety of mathematical topics. It prepares students to be able to solve problems in a variety of settings, to develop more sophisticated mathematical reasoning and to enhance their critical thinking. The individual project is an extended piece of work based on personal research involving the collection, analysis and evaluation of data. Students taking this course are well prepared for a career in social sciences, humanities, languages or arts. These students may need to utilize the statistics and logical reasoning that they have learned as part of the mathematical studies SL course in their future studies.
The course syllabus focuses on important mathematical topics that are interconnected. The syllabus is organized and structured with the following tenets in mind: placing more emphasis on student understanding of fundamental concepts than on symbolic manipulation and complex manipulative skills; giving greater emphasis to developing students’ mathematical reasoning rather than performing routine operations; solving mathematical problems embedded in a wide range of contexts; using the calculator effectively.
The course includes project work, a feature unique to mathematical studies SL within group 5. Each student completes a project, based on their own research; this is guided and supervised by the teacher. The project provides an opportunity for students to carry out a mathematical study of their choice using their own experience, knowledge and skills acquired during the course. This process allows students to take sole responsibility for a part of their studies in mathematics.
The students most likely to select this course are those whose main interests lie outside the field of mathematics, and for many students this course will be their final experience of being taught formal mathematics. All parts of the syllabus have therefore been carefully selected to ensure that an approach starting from first principles can be used. As a consequence, students can use their own inherent, logical thinking skills and do not need to rely on standard algorithms and remembered formulae.

Group 6: The arts

  • Music
  • Visual arts
  • Theatre
Course Description
Music functions as a means of personal and communal identity and expression, and embodies the social and cultural values of individuals and communities. This scenario invites exciting exploration and sensitive study.
Music, and all of its associations, may vary considerably from one musical culture to another: yet music may share similarities. Such richness offers a variety of ways to encounter and engage with a constantly changing world.
A vibrant musical education fosters curiosity and openness to both familiar and unfamiliar musical worlds. Through such a study of music we learn to hear relationships of pitch in sound, pattern in rhythm and unfolding sonic structures. Through participating in the study of music we are able to explore the similarities, differences and links in music from within our own culture and that of others across time. Informed and active musical engagement allows us to explore and discover relationships between lived human experience and specific sound combinations and technologies, thus informing us more fully of the world around us, and the nature of humanity.
The Diploma Programme music course provides an appropriate foundation for further study in music at university level or in music career pathways. It also provides an enriching and valuable course of study for students who may pursue other careers. This course also provides all students with the opportunity to engage in the world of music as lifelong participants.
Visual Arts 
Course Description
The impulse to make art is common to all people. From earliest times, human beings have displayed a fundamental need to create and communicate personal and cultural meaning through art.
The process involved in the study and production of visual arts is central to developing capable, inquiring and knowledgeable young people, and encourages students to locate their ideas within international contexts. Supporting the principles of the IBO mission statement (that is, to foster students’ appreciation of diverse world cultures and traditions), the course encourages an active exploration of visual arts within the students’ own and other cultural contexts. The study of visual arts and the journey within it encourages respect for cultural and aesthetic differences and promotes creative thinking and problem solving.
Visual arts continually create new possibilities and can challenge traditional boundaries. This is evident both in the way we make art and in the way we understand what artists from around the world do. Theory and practice in visual arts are dynamic, ever changing and connect many areas of study and human experience through individual and collaborative production and interpretation.
New ways of expressing ideas help to make visual arts one of the most interesting and challenging areas of learning and experience. The processes of designing and making art require a high level of cognitive activity that is both intellectual and affective. Engagement in the arts promotes a sense of identity and makes a unique contribution to the lifelong learning of each student. Study of visual arts provides students with the opportunity to develop a critical and intensely personal view of themselves in relation to the world.
The Diploma Programme visual arts course enables students to engage in both practical exploration and artistic production, and in independent contextual, visual and critical investigation, with option A students focusing more on the former and option B students on the latter. The course is designed to enable students to study visual arts in higher education and also welcomes those students who seek life enrichment through visual arts.
Course Description

Theatre is a dynamic, collaborative and live art form. It is a practical subject that encourages discovery through experimentation, the taking of risks and the presentation of ideas to others. It results in the development of both theatre and life skills; the building of confidence, creativity and working collaboratively.

The IB Diploma Programme theatre course is a multifaceted theatre-making course of study. It gives students the opportunity to make theatre as creators, designers, directors and performers. It emphasizes the importance of working both individually and collaboratively as part of an ensemble. It offers the opportunity to engage actively in the creative process, transforming ideas into action as inquisitive and productive artists.

Students experience the course from contrasting artistic perspectives. They learn to apply research and theory to inform and to contextualize their work. The theatre course encourages students to appreciate that through the processes of researching, creating, preparing, presenting and critically reflecting on theatre—as participants and audience members—they gain a richer understanding of themselves, their community and the world.

Through the study of theatre, students become aware of their own personal and cultural perspectives, developing an appreciation of the diversity of theatre practices, their processes and their modes of presentation. It enables students to discover and engage with different forms of theatre across time, place and culture and promotes international-mindedness.

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