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IB Programme » Curriculum and Components

Curriculum and Components

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program curriculum sets out the requirements for study of the DP.  The curriculum is made up of the DP core and six subject groups.

Made up of the three required components, the DP core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills.

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 essaywhich is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.

The six subject groups are:

There are different courses within each subject group.

Choosing subjects in the Diploma Program

Students choose courses from the following subject groups: studies in language and literature; language acquisition; individuals and societies; sciences; mathematics; and the arts.

Students may opt to study an additional sciences, individuals and societies, or languages course, instead of a course in the arts.

Students will take some subjects at higher level (HL) and some 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.

Each student takes at least three (but not more than four) subjects at higher level, and the remaining at standard level.

Course Sequence Options

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is a comprehensive, rigorous program of advanced studies that demands the best from motivated students. IB students study a broad spectrum of subjects and engage in research (Extended Essay) and experiential learning through school, community, and international activities. In the forty years since its founding, the IB Diploma has become a symbol of academic integrity and intellectual promise, recognized by leading universities in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Valdosta High School’s IB Diploma Program aims to provide a balanced education, facilitate geographic mobility, and promote international understanding through a shared academic experience. All our IB Diploma subjects are taught over a two-year period across a wide range of disciplines leading to international examinations for students in grades 11 & 12. 


CAS Component

The International Baccalaureate is committed to developing sudents who will make a meaningful contribution to the world, both during and after their education.

As part of our commitment to this, the Diploma Programme (DP), includes creativity, action, service (CAS) as one of the required components of the DP core. The DP core is studied throughout the curriculum, alongside a student’s chosen subjects.

The service element of CAS requires students to undertake an unpaid and voluntary exchange, which then has learning benefits.

Students therefore apply knowledge and skills to community service, complementing their academic study.
Developing civic responsibility

Research suggests that CAS develops students’ skills for civic engagement.

One study says that students can develop valuable project-management skills that will serve them well as citi­zens and in their careers.

A second study looked specifically at CAS. Students and coordinators at IB World Schools responded positively, stating that students develop personally and socially as a result of service.

Both groups thought students:
developed an ethic of service
became more caring, open-minded, and reflective
developed greater levels of self-confidence and maturity.


IB Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) Website 

Extended Essay


The extended essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.

One component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program core, the extended essay is mandatory for all students.


IB Extended Essay Website 

Examples of extended essay titles

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of knowledge (TOK) is assessed through an oral presentation and a 1,600 word essay.

It asks students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know.

TOK is part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program core, and is mandatory for all students.


General information about theory of knowledge.

Some examples of TOK essay titles