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International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a group of three educational programmes and their respective examinations, as established by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).

These three programmes are the following:

The programmes are modelled after educational systems from around the world, without being based on any particular one, incorporating both the breadth offered by some as well as the early specialisation offered by others. Since their founding in 1968, their rigour and high standards have ensured their wide recognition throughout the world.

The International Baccalaureate Programme is also a common misnomer used to refer to one of these programmes (most frequently the IB Diploma Programme). High schools often advertise that they offer the 'International Baccalaureate Programme', in which case it is obvious that they are referring to the DP as it is the only of the three programmes intended for students of senior high school age. However, the use of this form may cause confusion in some cases.


Psychology is a subject assessed within the scheme of the International Baccalaureate. It falls within the Group Three of IB Diploma Programme subjects, subtitled individuals and societies, consists of the humanities and social sciences. The available subjects are Business and Management, Economics, Geography, History (including History of the Islamic World, History of the Americas, as well as others), Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS), Philosophy, Psychology, and Social and Cultural Anthropology. Current Pilot subjects include Ecosystems and Societies which is transdisciplinary (can be taken as a group 4 also, or to fulfill 3 and 4)

The IB syllabus in psychology contains four main parts. The first part is concerned with the perspectives, the second part with the options, the third part with research methodology and finally all students have to carry out their own experimental study. There are three main perspectives, the biological, the cognitive and the learning. In addition to that higher level students also study the humanistic perspective. The options include comparative psychology, cultural psychology, psychology of dysfunctional behaviour, health psychology, lifespan psychology, psychodynamic psychology and social psychology. Students at higher level study two options whereas standard level students study only one.

Each of the perspectives should be explored using the following four compulsory topics:

  • development and cultural contexts
  • framework
  • methodologies
  • application.

The aims of the psychology course at HL and at SL are to:

  • interpret and/or conduct psychological research to apply the resulting knowledge for the benefit of human beings
  • ensure that ethical practices and responsibilities are implemented in psychological inquiry
  • develop an understanding of the biological, social and cultural influences on human behaviour
  • develop an understanding of different theoretical processes that are used to interpret behaviour, and to be aware of how these processes lead to the construction and evaluation of psychological theories
  • develop an awareness of how applications of psychology in everyday life are derived from psychological theories
  • develop an appreciation of the eclectic nature of psychology
  • understand and/or use diverse methods of psychological inquiry.

First, students must choose an experiment to replicate. When conducting the experiment, the IBO demands that certain ethical guidelines be followed[1]. After the experiment has been completed, a written report must be produced detailing the experiment. The external assessment, which is administered in May or November, is the second component of the IB Psychology SL exam. The test is divided into two parts, which are referred to as "papers". Using the internal and external assessment, the IBO calculates a grade value between and including one through seven. A score of four is considered passing; a score of seven is considered outstanding.

Further details of the two levels can be found at:

See alsoEdit

External linkEdit

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