International Baccalaureate Program

The International Baccalaureate Program (“IB” Program), is a comprehensive curriculum that was designed by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.  The goal of the program is to prepare students for success at the college-level.

According to the IBO, their mission is “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect…these programs encourage students around the world to become active lifelong learners…”

International Baccalaureate Program Overview

In North America, over 645 school offer IB Programs.  There are a total of three IBO Programs:

1. The Diploma Program for High School Juniors & Seniors

2. The Middle Years Program for Students (Ages 11-16)

3.  The Primary Program for Students (Age 3-12)

Each program can operate independently or all programs can be taken sequentially, it just depends on each school system.

For the purpose of this post, we will focus on the Diploma Program for High School Juniors and Seniors.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

The IB Diploma Program was created in 1968.  It is a comprehensive, 2 year international curriculum.  The program itself is unique because it emphasizes critical thinking skills, intercultural understanding and exposure to multiple view points.  The curriculum is divided into 6 different groups:

Group 1 – English Language & World Literature

Group 2 – Modern Foreign Language

Group 3 – Individuals & Societies

Group 4 – Experimental Sciences

Group 5 – Mathematics

Group 6 – The Arts and Electives

Additional Class Requirements – Theory of Knowledge (TOK); Creativity, Action and Service (CAS); Extended Essay (EE).

Students must take a variety of different classes covering the above topic areas throughout their Junior and Senior year of high school in order to earn the IB Diploma.

Explanation of Scoring

For each course that a student takes under the International Baccalaureate Program, they will receive a grade of 1 (minimum) thru 7 (maximum).  In order to receive an IB Diploma, students must earn a minimum of 24 points (or 28 points depending on the grades received in some of the advanced level classes).

In addition, students must also satisfactorily complete the Theory of Knowledge, Creative, Action and Service, and Extended Essay requirements.  The total maximum score that students can earn in these 3 classes is 45 points.

Will I Earn College Credit?

The IB Diploma is widely recognized, both in America and abroad, currently being accepted at universities in over 115 countries.  Similar to AP exam scores, every school has different requirements in terms of which grades (i.e. 1-7) they will accept and how many credits will be granted.

To find out more information, contact each college or university directly or visit the IBO website (

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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