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The International Baccalaureate

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The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP) is a course of study designed and administered by an international, non-governmental educational organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. The IB is a two-year program (at St. John’s normally Grades 11 and 12, or, exceptionally, Grade 12 and a post-graduate Grade 13 year), which offers students the opportunity to engage in intellectually stimulating academic studies, and which culminates in an “externally assessed” secondary school leaving qualification, the International Baccalaureate Diploma, recognized as an entrance credential by universities throughout the world. Many U.S. institutions grant advanced standing in selected subjects to the diploma holder.

Optional programs

Full diploma

To obtain the IB diploma, a student must:

  • study subjects from six groups, with three being at Higher Level (HL) and three at Standard Level (SL), or four at HL and two at SL
  • write an Extended Essay in one of the IB subjects
  • complete the Theory of Knowledge course
  • participate in the CAS program (Creativity, Action, Service), the equivalent of three to four hours per week.

Individual IB courses, Extended Essay or TOK course

For students not wishing to obtain the full diploma, individual IB diploma courses, the extended essay and/or the TOK course can be chosen instead of the full IB program.

Note: Higher Level grades are recognized by U.S. institutions as equivalent to Advanced Placement grades, with advanced standing in that subject usually granted. Most competitive universities in the U.K. require the full IB Diploma to be presented as an alternate qualification for admissions’ consideration, as do most European universities.

Personal choice

IB designated courses may be studied by a well-motivated student who does not wish, or is not academically strong enough, to take the external final examinations. In such cases, students will either take the course for honors credit, being assessed internally by IB criteria or an Alternative Course Form will be completed which modifies the name of the course, the content and the assessment criteria.

IBO general regulations

The International Baccalaureate Office regularly publishes General Regulations concerning the IB program and diploma. A copy of these General Regulations is available here.

For course descriptions and information brochures, please visit the Downloads section.