International Baccaluareate Core Components

COURSES

Individual IB course descriptions can be found in the appropriate department.

In addition to their IB coursework, students pursuing the IB Diploma Program are required to complete three core components. They get started on all of these components during their junior year and complete them over the course of their senior year. All of these core components are accomplished outside the student’s normal school day schedule.

Full IB Diploma

Course Grade 11 Grade 12
Theory of Knowledge TOK Year 1 TOK Year 2
Creativity, Activity, Service CAS Year 1 CAS Year 2
Extended Essay Begin in January Complete by November

Click a course title to jump to a description

Creativity, Activity, Service
Academic Pathway: IB Program Students 
Term: two-year course 
Credit: 1 full credit

Creativity, activity, service (CAS) is one of the three essential elements that every student must complete as part of the Diploma Program (DP). CAS involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies. It is not formally assessed. However, students reflect on their CAS experiences as part of the DP and provide evidence of achieving the seven learning outcomes for CAS.

The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:

  • Creativity – arts and other experiences that involve creative thinking
  • Activity – physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the DP
  • Service – an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity, and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

In order to demonstrate these concepts, students are required to undertake a CAS Project. The project challenges students to.

  • show initiative;
  • demonstrate perseverance;
  • develop skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, and decision making.

CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience.

A good CAS program should be both challenging and enjoyable – a personal journey of self‑discovery.

CAS is a component of the DP core. Students must have three formal “interviews” or check-in appointments with the CAS Coordinator.

Theory of Knowledge
Academic Pathway: IB Program Students 
Term: two-year course 
Credit: 1 full credit

Theory of Knowledge is an interdisciplinary course that meets twice a week during students’ junior and senior years. TOK is not focused on any particular area of knowledge; rather, it challenges students to question the world around them and what we regard as knowledge. At the heart of the course is the question, “how do we know what we claim to know?” The course will draw on a variety of materials, ranging from documentaries and journalism to academic articles and creative nonfiction. Through Socratic seminars, we will explore how different ways of knowing -- such as emotion, language, intuition, and reason -- inform and work within established frameworks of knowledge (life sciences, humanities, and religion, to name a few).

Extended Essay
Academic Pathway: IB Program Students 
Term: two-year course 
Credit: 1 full credit

The Extended Essay is an externally-assessed piece of independent research on a topic chosen by the student and presented as a formal piece of academic writing. The Extended Essay is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery, and creativity while engaging students in personal research. This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing of up to 4,000 words in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned, coherent, and appropriate manner. Students are guided through the process of research and writing by an assigned supervisor (a teacher in the school). All students undertake three mandatory reflection sessions with their supervisor, including a short interview, or “viva voce,” following the completion of the extended essay.

Extended essay topics may be chosen from a list of approved DP subjects — normally one of the student’s six chosen subjects for the IB diploma or the world studies option. World Studies provides students with the opportunity to carry out an in-depth interdisciplinary study of an issue of contemporary global significance, using two IB disciplines.