Question & Answer: International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP)



My daughter is currently studying in Grade 10 in Dubai, going to do her IGCSE finals next year. She’s thinking of going for International Baccalaureate (IB) after her IG’s. The subjects she opted for to do her IG’s are Media, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Economics and Art, and she’s aiming to go for designing and/or animation. I would like to know more details about the IB course, it’s difficulty levels compared to the IGCSE’s, how broad the subject choices are, and possibly an alternative to IB.

Thank you


The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is recognized to be academically challenging and will provide successful students with an advantage to be better prepared for university. Not only is the curriculum rigorous but will also provide a strong foundation for graduates to think critically, synthesize knowledge, reflect on their own thought processes and get their feet wet in interdisciplinary thinking.

Over two years the students need to study six subjects and these could be either at standard level or advanced level. For the Diploma a minimum of three subjects should be at the advanced level. The curriculum has six groups and the student is required to select one subject from each group. The sixth subject could be either from group six or from any of the five groups. The intention is to span the spectrum of knowledge to allow students to study the sciences, humanities, arts, languages, literature and mathematics.

In addition the program has three core requirements that are included to broaden the educational experience a) The extended essay which requires students to do an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the subjects they are studying. b) Theory of knowledge is designed to encourage students to understand the nature/type of knowledge c) Creativity, action, service requires that students to actively learn from their experience beyond the classroom.

A lot of Universities recognize the rigor and quality of the IB curriculum and will give credit to students who have pursued the diploma. It is prudent to discuss this in detail with the University.

An Alternative to the IB would be to continue to A levels with the subjects of Computing / Math’s / Art as she wishes to move to the field of Animation / Designing. Also if you are looking at applying to universities abroad you need to start preparing a portfolio which would be required for applications.

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