Diploma Programme

The Diploma Programme (DP) is an academically-challenging, pre-university programme for 16- to 19-year-old students. It is a two year programme which aims to give your son or daughter the knowledge and skills they need to enable them to excel in university and beyond.

10 reasons why the IB Diploma Programme is ideal preparation for university:

  1. It increases academic opportunity.
  2. IB students care about more than just results.
  3. It encourages you to become a confident and independent learner.
  4. It’s an international qualification.
  5. Graduates are globally-minded.
  6. The IB encourages critical thinking.
  7. DP students have proven time management skills.
  8. It assesses more than examination techniques.
  9. Subjects are not taught in isolation.
  10. It encourages breadth and depth of learning.

Based on IB research – www.ibo.org/research


The DP is recognised by top universities in over 140 countries around the world.

DP Curriculum Model

IB Diploma ProgrammeAt the core of the DP is the IB Learner Profile

Students following the DP must complete nine components including three compulsory elements: The Extended Essay, Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS), and Theory of Knowledge (ToK).


In addition, your son or daughter will choose subjects from the six subject areas.

DP Subject Groups

Your son or daughter will select one subject from each subject area. Three subjects are taken at standard level and three are taken at higher level. Subjects taken at the higher level require 240 teaching hours while subjects taken at the standard level require 150 teaching hours. New students to the Diploma Programme may chose from the following subjects:

Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature

  • English
  • Dutch
  • School Supported Self Taught Language – Literature A

Group 2: Language acquisition

  • English
  • Dutch
  • French
  • Spanish

Group 3: Individuals and societies

  • History
  • Environmental Systems and Societies
  • Economics

Group 4: Experimental sciences

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Systems and Societies

Group 5: Mathematics and computer science

  • Mathematics: Analysis and approaches
  • Mathematics: Applications and interpretation

Group 6: The arts*

  • Visual Arts

* Instead of selecting a Group 6 subject, students have the option of selecting an additional subject from Groups 1-4.

At ISB, we also offer the opportunity to replace one of the courses with an online course by Pamoja Education.

Core Elements

Extended Essay
The extended essay is a major independent research project focused on one of the subjects taken by your son or daughter. It is a great opportunity for them to demonstrate their knowledge on, and enthusiasm for, a topic of their choice.

The extended essay takes about 40 hours to complete and culminates in the production of a formal piece of structured writing. It is a compulsory element for all DP students and is externally assessed against prescribed assessment criteria.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)
CAS is a core element of the programme and is managed by the CAS Coordinator. Your son or daughter will spend three to four hours per week involved with CAS experiences over the course of the two-year Diploma Programme. CAS experiences are real, purposeful experiences which have a significant outcome. Students learn by personal experience and their progress is logged by the CAS Coordinator/Advisors. Please visit our CAS website at https://isb-cas.weebly.com for more information.

Theory of Knowledge
The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course can best be described as a critical thinking course. It is the third core element of the DP and will challenge your son or daughter to reflect on issues related to knowledge. It is assessed by means of an essay and a presentation related to knowledge issues.