Diploma Programme (DP)


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The majority of SCIS students pursue the IB Diploma in Grades 11-12. In addition, all students at SCIS are working toward the SCIS High School Diploma, an accredited American diploma which certifies completion of a four year high school education. Students normally begin Grade 11 as IB Diploma candidates. Students who prefer to pursue the SCIS Diploma only, may opt out of the IB Diploma in consultation with their parents, the college counselor, and the DP coordinator.

The IB Diploma Programme (DP) was established in 1968 to provide an international education that would enable young people to better understand and manage the complexities of our world, and to provide them with the skills and attitudes to take action to improve it. Such an education was grounded in the more progressive educational thinking of the time but also in the belief that the world could be made better through an education that focused on concepts, ideas and issues that crossed disciplinary, cultural, national and geographical boundaries.

The Diploma Programme (DP) provides a challenging, internationally focused, broad and balanced educational experience for students aged 16 to 19. Students are required to study six subjects and a curriculum core concurrently over two years. The programme is designed to equip students with the basic academic skills needed for university study, further education and their chosen profession. Additionally the programme supports the development of the values and life skills needed to live a fulfilled and purposeful life. From The Diploma Programme: From Principles into Practice, IBO, 2015.


DP Structure:

A distinguishing characteristic of the Diploma Programme is a concern with the whole educational experience of each student. The curriculum framework and the supporting structures and principles are designed to ensure that each student is necessarily exposed to a broad and balanced curriculum.

The Learner Profile and the Core are positioned at the centre of the programme and the core requirements of Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) broaden the educational experience and challenge students to apply their knowledge and understanding in real‑life contexts.

Students study six subjects concurrently. These include two languages, one subject from individuals and societies (group 3), one experimental science (group 4), one mathematics subject (group 5), and one subject from the arts (group 6) or another subject from groups 1 to 4.

In order to prepare students for the future, an IB education equips students with the depth of discipline‑specific knowledge and skills that they will need to follow their chosen university course and for use later in their professional lives. Specialization is encouraged in the Diploma Programme by expecting students to study three subjects at a higher level (HL). This is balanced with a requirement for breadth by expecting students to study three subjects at standard level (SL).

Students in the DP programme, then, choose subjects from six groups and complete three other core requirements. All six courses and core requirements are completed over a two year period.

Course Offerings for Grade 11 and 12:

All course descriptions are taken directly or adapted from the corresponding subject briefs published by the IBO.

DP Core Requirements:

Both the IB Diploma and the SCIS High School Diploma have core requirements that must be met in addition to the subject requirements. The timetable is designed to support all students in meeting these requirements.

Theory Of Knowledge (TOK)

All students will take this interdisciplinary two-semester course during their Grade 11-12 years. Theory of Knowledge calls for students to look critically at the nature of knowledge, and examine the knowledge questions implicit in real life situations. How do we know what we know? How is knowledge generated and diseminated in different? In what wawe understand the rules? The assessment for this course will include an oral presentation and essay. For IB Diploma students, the assessment tasks will be externally assessed and moderated. For SCIS Diploma students, assessment is internal only.

Extended Essay (EE)

Each student will complete an independent research project in a discipline of their choosing, leading to an original scholarly essay. The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity. It provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research in a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of a supervisor (a teacher in the school). This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen. For IB Diploma students, Extended Essay will be submitted to the IBO for assessment. For SCIS Diploma students, assessment is internal only.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

All students are expected to be engaged in ongoing meaningful experiences outside of the classroom. At SCIS students have many opportunities to engage with the creative arts, with physically demanding activity, and with service to the community both within the school and beyond, and each student is responsible to build a program that reflects their interests and allows them to grow as a thinker and learner. Over the two year program, students collect a range of reflective evidence showing their ongoing process of learning through experience. Please see the CAS handbook for details.


DP Course Selection:

In the Spring of their Grade 10 year, or on enrollment in Grades 11-12, all students will have an individual course selection conference with the DP Coordinator, the College Counselor, and at least one of their parents. Course selection is intended to allow students to pursue their current interests, and prepare them for their chosen pathways to higher education and beyond.

For IB Diploma students, course selections must meet the following requirements:

  • At least one Language & Literature class (Language A).
  • At least one Language Acquisition class (Language B). This requirement is waived for students enrolled in two Language A classes.
  • At least one Individuals & Societies class
  • At least one Science class*
  • Exactly one Math class
  • The Core Block, which includes TOK, Research Skills, and coordination of EE and CAS, is required for all students in Grades 11-12.
  • Course selection must allow for three Higher Level and three Standard Level courses.

SCIS Diploma candidates who choose not to pursue the full IB Diploma will work with the College Counselor and DP coordinator to develop an individualized program which meets all graduation requirements.

Standard Level (SL) classes meet for a minimum of 150 hours over the two years of the program while Higher Level (HL) classes meet for 240 hours. The extended meeting times for HL classes reflect the greater depth and complexity of the content studied. Most SCIS classes are taught with the levels combined. SL students are normally released for self-study during while HL content is being covered.

DP Requirements:

  1. Completion of six IB-DP courses meeting subject group requirements, with at least three taken at a Higher Level.
  2. All assessment components for each of the six subjects and the core Diploma requirements must be completed in order to qualify for the award of the IB Diploma.
  3. The IB Diploma will be awarded to a candidate provided all the following requirements have been met.
    • CAS requirements have been met.
    • The candidate’s total points are 24 or more.
    • There is no “N” awarded for theory of knowledge, the extended essay or for a contributing subject.
    • There is no grade E awarded for theory of knowledge and/or the extended essay.
    • There is no grade 1 awarded in a subject/level.
    • There are no more than two grade 2s awarded (HL or SL).
    • There are no more than three grade 3s or below awarded (HL or SL).
    • The candidate has gained 12 points or more on HL subjects (for candidates who register for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count).
    • The candidate has gained 9 points or more on SL subjects (candidates who register for two SL subjects must gain at least 5 points at SL).
    • The candidate has not received a penalty for academic misconduct from the Final Award Committee.
  4. A maximum of three examination sessions is allowed in which to satisfy the requirements for the award of the IB Diploma. The examination sessions need not be consecutive.

SCIS High School Diploma Requirements:

Students who opt out of the full IB Diploma will work toward the WASC accredited SCIS High School Diploma. SCIS Diploma students must complete a minimum of 25 year-long course credits during grades 9-12, and meet core requirements. Students who enter SCIS as transfer students after the beginning of Grade 9 will have requirements prorated.

Expectations for all courses will be consistent with Grade 9-10 MYP Courses or Standard Level DP Courses. Students must be enrolled in eight courses per year in Grades 9-10 and six courses per year during grades 11 and 12.

Students with ILPs under the Learning Support program, may work towards modified expectations, as appropriate.

Core Requirements

Extended Essay: An individually researched scholarly essay connected to one of the subject groups, supervised by the EE Coordinator and internally assessed.

Creativity, Activity, Service: Engagement in a range of experiences leading to progress toward the CAS Learning outcomes.

Theory of Knowledge: A TOK presentation and TOK essay, internally assessed.


You can find out more information about our DP programmes in this brochure:

Upper School Academic Handbook