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International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, UWC Dilijan

Publish Date: Mar 16, 2016

Please visit Global Education Fair 2016 in Yerevan (14 May 2016, Best Western Congress Hotel, Picasso Hall ) for more information about this program and scholarship opportunities

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma

Advantages and Features of the IB Diploma Programme

IB Diploma

Teaching in UWC colleges is entirely in English under the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma programme for students aged from 16 to 19. This programme was chosen deliberately. On the one hand, the mission, values and goals of the IB Diploma are akin to the UWC ideals, while on the other this programme provides a first-rate education, which enables UWC graduates to develop their abilities comprehensively and easily enroll in the world’s best universities.

The IB Diploma is a challenging yet engaging educational programme. It includes both elements of narrow specialization, typical for national educational systems in certain countries, and formation of a broad worldview, which receives preference in several other countries. As a result, the IB Diploma is a balanced compromise between two opposing approaches to school education, since this programme incorporates advantages from both. The mission of the International Baccalaureate is the “development of intellectually curious, erudite and caring young people, who will help to create a better and more peaceful future by means of intercultural understanding and respect.” Upon completing the programme, graduates earn a qualification recognized by leading universities in many countries. Moreover, the International Baccalaureate Organization tirelessly works to improve the academic programme, revising and supplementing it so as to meet the educational needs of young people in today’s continuously-changing world.

Academic Programme

The IB Programme includes six groups of subjects, of which the student must select one, and the three core elements mandatory for all students.

Core Elements of the IB Diploma Programme

  • Extended essay. Each student conducts independent research in a topic of interest, and then writes an essay totaling 4000 words. In completing this task, students enhance their academic work and scholarly writing skills, essential for university study.
  • Theory of knowledge. This course helps create holistic insight into the receipt of knowledge and encompasses all academic disciplines. In classes held in discussion format, students develop critical thinking skills, discuss questions of the nature of learning and deepen their understanding of “knowledge” as a social construct. Throughout the course, students examine different forms of knowledge and the factors impacting their formation and dissemination. Upon completing the course, each student writes a final essay on a topic developed by the International Baccalaureate Organization.
  • Creativity, action, service – CAS. This area encompasses students’ extracurricular activities. Creativity refers to students’ participation in various projects involving art and creative thinking. Action relates to different forms of physical activity: sport, hiking, outdoors games, etc. Service is the sphere of community work, which allows students to provide tangible help to those around them, simultaneously developing their practical, organizational and communicative skills. This mandatory element of the IB Diploma envisages not only active involvement, but also reflection upon experience received.

Curricular Groups

Academic disciplines of the IB Diploma Programme are separated into six groups, from each of which students must select one subject (three at both the advanced and standard levels). Provided below are general descriptions of each group and the disciplines they include. Please recall that not all groups are taught at each college. In addition, colleges may teach certain subjects only at the advanced or standard level. However, each UWC school provides students with ample selection and guarantees a well-rounded education meeting all standards of the International Baccalaureate and university requirements. Lists of subjects taught and levels are available on the websites of UWC colleges.  

  • Group 1. Studies in language and literature. In this group students typically choose to study their native language and literature. Programmes are currently in place for over 80 languages. This group includes the following disciplines: literature, language and literature, and the interdisciplinary course “literature and theater” (satisfies group 1 and 6 requirements).
  • Group 2. Language acquisition. Choosing from this group, students can either further study a foreign language (language B), or begin studying a language “from scratch” (language ab initio). Moreover, this group includes classical languages – ancient Greek and Latin.
  • Group 3. Individuals and societies. This group includes the humanities and social sciences: economics, geography, history, philosophy, psychology, social and cultural anthropology, business and management, information technologies in world society, world religions and political science, and the interdisciplinary course “ecological systems and communities” (meets group 3 and 4 requirements).
  • Group 4. Experimental sciences. This group includes chemistry, biology, physics and informatics, as well as such disciplines as “design technologies,” “sport, fitness and health” and the interdisciplinary course “ecological systems and communities” (meets group 3 and 4 requirements).
  • Group 5. Mathematics. Subjects of this group are listed in order of increasing difficulty: mathematical research, mathematics and advanced mathematical studies.
  • Group 6. The arts. Programmes for this group have been developed in music, dance, theater, visual arts and cinema. Also included here is the interdisciplinary course “literature and theater” (satisfies group 1 and 6 requirements). Please note that subjects from this group are not mandatory. If preferred, students may choose to substitute another subject from the other groups for the group 6 discipline: any from groups 1-4 or advanced mathematical studies from group 5.

Levels of Subject Study

Subjects in the IB Diploma Programme may be studied at the advanced or standard level. The advanced level covers all standard level material, as well as more in-depth study of certain topics and additional modules. Teaching disciplines at the advanced level, accordingly, receives more academic hours, and these exams are more difficult. It is recommended to choose disciplines at this level which are necessary for future university enrollment under a chosen profession, as well as those where a student is more adept than others.

However, this is not to say that studying subjects at the standard level is bad, ineffective or too easy. As mentioned above, the IB Diploma Programme is quite rigorous. At the standard level students grasp the chosen discipline well and perfectly understand it. In addition, at this level students may choose subjects they previously studied with more difficulty than others or which they never studied before. The majority of interdisciplinary subjects of the IB Diploma are taught precisely at the standard level. 

Grading System and Graduation Requirements

Academic disciplines are graded on a scale from 1 to 7, where 7 is the highest score. Final grades in each subject are composed of grades for work during the course (graded by the teacher), grades for final work or a course portfolio (graded by the teacher and independent outside examiner) and final exam grades (graded by an independent outside examiner). The overall grade for the IB Diploma core elements adds from 1 to 3 points to the final diploma grade. Therefore, the maximum International Baccalaureate Diploma score is 45 (maximum curricular grade – 42 points plus maximum grade for “core” elements – 3 points).

In order to be awarded a diploma upon completing the programme, students must accumulate at least 24 points in total. In addition, students must not receive a score lower than 3 in any subject, while the total score for subjects studied at the advanced level must equal at least 12. Students must also be mindful of the programme’s core elements. Diplomas are awarded only to those students who fulfilled the mandatory CAS requirements and earned a score of at least D for the final essay and essay on theory of learning. 

The IB Diploma is a challenging and stimulating course whose advantages are recognized by many of the world’s leading universities. Earning high grades requires that students choose subjects which motivate and interest them, and ideally develop their abilities and talents. Also importantly, they must choose subjects that will ensure the necessary academic footing for future university study under a chosen specialty.

What to do after UWC?

Many universities (especially in Europe and North America) accept final grades for the International Baccalaureate Diploma as admission tests. Moreover, many academic institutions gladly admit alumni of UWC colleges, as they are familiar with the high academic standards and unique conditions for personal development in place at these schools. Those wishing to continue their studies abroad begin the application process during the autumn of the second academic year at UWC. To assist with this, each college has a dedicated department where students receive consultation on universities and specializations, as well as advice on submitting paperwork. Employees from many universities visit UWC colleges to speak with students about their programmes and funding, conduct interviews and answer questions.

Please visit Global Education Fair 2016 in Yerevan (14 May 2016, Best Western Congress Hotel, Picasso Hall ) for more information about this program and scholarship opportunities

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