DP Curriculum Components

The Diploma Programme centres on the DP core. Three components make up the core, which are studied alongside individual subjects and throughout a student’s time in the DP. These components provide a framework for the study of individual subjects. The components of the DP core are outlined in the DP curriculum. The DP organizes teaching and learning through six subject groups, underpinned by the DP core. Students choose a course from within each subject group. Read about the six subject groups.
For most courses, students take written examinations at the end of the DP. In many programme areas, students complete externally assessed coursework. Components of the DP core require students to produce coursework, for example.

The curriculum is made up of the DP core and six subject groups.
Made up of the three required components, the DP core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills.
The three core elements are:
– Theory of knowledge, in which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.
– The extended essay, which is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.
– Creativity, action, service, in which students complete a project related to those three concepts.

The six subject groups are:
1. Studies in language and literature
2. Language acquisition
3. Individuals and societies
4. Sciences.
5. Mathematics
6. The arts.
There are different courses within each subject group. Students choose courses from the following subject groups: studies in language and literature; language acquisition; individuals and societies; sciences; mathematics; and the arts.

Students may opt to study an additional sciences, individuals and societies, or languages course (group 1-4), instead of a course in the art.

Students will take some subjects at higher level (HL) and some at standard level (SL). HL and SL courses differ in scope but are measured according to the same grade descriptors, with students expected to demonstrate a greater body of knowledge, understanding and skills at higher level.

Each student takes at least three (but not more than four) subjects at higher level, and the remaining at standard level.
Standard level subjects take up 150 teaching hours.
Higher level comprises 240 teaching hours.