Diploma Program (11-12)
What is the Diploma Program?
The Diploma Programme (DP) is a rigorous pre-university course of study designed for students in the 16 to 19 age range. It is a broad-based, two-year course that aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable and inquiring but also caring and compassionate. There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness, and attitudes necessary for them to respect and evaluate a range of points of view.
Through the DP, TCIS is able to cultivate internationally-minded learners who:
TCIS Offers the DP to a Greater Variety of Students
TCIS runs an inclusive DP program. Where some schools restrict access to students as a sort of elite program, we believe very strongly that the quality and challenge of the DP program is beneficial to a wide range of students. Students who successfully pass their DP courses and all of their supplementary requirements find themselves ahead of many in the world for university acceptance; they will have been through a course of study that prepared them exceptionally well for university.
TCIS is committed to supporting all students to achieve their potential in a holistic academic program. TCIS senior classes consistently score well above the world average and achieve remarkably well, especially for an inclusive group.
The Diploma Program at TCIS
Students may engage with the DP program of study at one of two levels:
- students are encouraged to become full IB Diploma Program Candidates by meeting all IB DP requirements, including TOK and the EE.
- students may choose to be IB Diploma Course Candidates, which means that they must take six DP courses, but they are not required to take three Higher Level courses and complete the TOK and EE. This reduces the intensity of academic requirements significantly and results in a fully accredited transcript of high school completion.
Subject Areas of Study
The Diploma Program encourages the study of a broad range of academic areas. Students in the DP study:
- two languages (one as a language with a literature component and one as language acquisition)
- one humanities or social science subject
- one science
- one of the mathematics courses
- one of the creative arts courses.
This comprehensive range of subjects makes the TCIS curriculum a demanding course of study designed to prepare students effectively for university entrance. In each of the academic areas, students have flexibility in making their choices, which means they can choose subjects that particularly interest them and that they may wish to study further at university.
* Students at TCIS also have the ability to choose "Double Science" or "Double Humanities" if that will best further their plans for university entrance and study.
- Individuals and Societies (Humanities)
- Language Acquisition
- Language and Literature
Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts all offered at the HL and SL levels
Through studying any of the group 6 subjects, the Arts, students become aware of how artists work and communicate. The aims of all arts subjects are to enable students to:
- enjoy lifelong engagement with the arts
- become informed, reflective and critical practitioners in the arts
- understand the dynamic and changing nature of the arts
- explore and value the diversity of the arts across time, place and cultures
- express ideas with confidence and competence
- develop perceptual and analytical skills.
Design Technology offered at the HL and SL levels
Through studying Design Technology, students should become aware of how designers work and communicate with each other. While the design methodology may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through design work that characterizes this subject.
The aims of Design Technology enable students, through the overarching theme of the nature of design, to develop:
- a sense of curiosity as they acquire the skills necessary for independent and lifelong learning and action through inquiry into the technological world around them
- an ability to explore concepts, ideas and issues with personal, local and global significance to acquire in-depth knowledge and understanding of design and technology
- initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to identify and resolve complex social and technological problems through reasoned ethical decision-making
- an ability to understand and express ideas confidently and creatively using a variety of communication techniques through collaboration with others
- a propensity to act with integrity and honesty, and take responsibility for their own actions in designing technological solutions to problems
- an understanding and appreciation of cultures in terms of global technological development, seeking and evaluating a range of perspectives
- a willingness to approach unfamiliar situations in an informed manner and explore new roles, ideas and strategies so they can articulate and defend their proposals with confidence
- an understanding of the contribution of design and technology to the promotion of intellectual, physical and emotional balance and the achievement of personal and social well-being
- empathy, compassion and respect for the needs and feelings of others in order to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment
- skills that enable them to reflect on the impacts of design and technology on society and the environment in order to develop their own learning and enhance solutions to technological problems.
(*Design as a subject area normally falls under Sciences within the DP program, but TCIS departmental structures tend to make a distinction internally.)
Business Management, Economics, and Global Politics all offered at the HL and SL levels
The aims of Individuals and Societies courses are to:
- encourage the systematic and critical study of: human experience and behavior; physical, economic and social environments; and the history and development of social and cultural institutions
- develop in the student the capacity to identify, to analyze critically and to evaluate theories, concepts and arguments about the nature and activities of the individual and society
- enable the student to collect, describe and analyze data used in studies of society, to test hypotheses, and to interpret complex data and source material
- promote the appreciation of the way in which learning is relevant both to the culture in which the student lives, and the culture of other societies
- develop an awareness in the student that human attitudes and beliefs are widely diverse and that the study of society requires an appreciation of such diversity
- enable the student to recognize that the content and methodologies of the individuals and societies subjects are contestable and that their study requires the toleration of uncertainty.
English HL and SL, Mandarin HL, SL, and ab initio, and Spanish HL, SL, and ab initio
This subject consists of three language courses accommodating the different levels of linguistic proficiency that students have when they begin. There is a single set of Language Acquisition aims, which are common to all the courses, but the assessment objectives are differentiated according to what the students are expected to be able to demonstrate at the end of each course.
The aims of Language Acquisition courses are to:
- develop students’ intercultural understanding
- enable students to understand and use the language they have studied in a range of contexts and for a variety of purposes
- encourage, through the study of texts and through social interaction, an awareness and appreciation of the different perspectives of people from other cultures
- develop students’ awareness of the role of language in relation to other areas of knowledge
- develop students’ awareness of the relationship between the languages and cultures with which they are familiar
- provide students with a basis for further study, work and leisure through the use of an additional language
- provide the opportunity for enjoyment, creativity and intellectual stimulation through knowledge of an additional language.
Korean and English Literature, and Korean, English, and Mandarin Language and Literature all offered at the HL and SL levels
The aims of the Literature and the Language and Literature courses are as follows:
- Introduce students to a range of texts from different periods, styles and genres
- Develop in students the ability to engage in close, detailed analysis of individual texts and make relevant connections
- Develop the student's powers of expression, both in oral and written communication
- Encourage students to recognize the importance of the contexts in which texts are written and received
- Encourage, through the study of texts, an appreciation of the different perspectives of people from other cultures, and how these perspectives construct meaning
- Encourage students to appreciate the formal, stylistic and aesthetic qualities of texts
- Promote in students an enjoyment of, and lifelong interest in, language and literature.
In addition, the aims specific to Language and Literature courses include:
- Developing in students an understanding of how language, culture and context determine the ways in which meaning is constructed in texts
- Encouraging students to think critically about the different interactions between text, audience and purpose.
Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches HL & SL, and Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation HL & SL
The aims of all mathematics courses in group 5 are to enable students to:
- enjoy mathematics and develop an appreciation of the elegance and power of mathematics
- develop an understanding of the principles and nature of mathematics
- communicate clearly and confidently in a variety of contexts
- develop logical, critical and creative thinking as well as patience and persistence in problem-solving
- employ and refine their powers of abstraction and generalization
- apply and transfer skills to alternative situations, to other areas of knowledge and to future developments
- appreciate how developments in technology and mathematics have influenced each other
- appreciate the moral, social and ethical implications arising from the work of mathematicians and the applications of mathematics
- appreciate the international dimension in mathematics through an awareness of the universality of mathematics and its multicultural and historical perspectives
- appreciate the contribution of mathematics to other disciplines and as a particular “area of knowledge” in the TOK course.
Biology, Chemistry, and Physics all offered at the HL and SL levels
Through studying Biology, Chemistry or Physics, students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the scientific method may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that characterizes these subjects.
The aims of the Natural Sciences courses enable students, through the overarching theme of the nature of science, to:
- appreciate scientific study and creativity within a global context through stimulating and challenging opportunities
- acquire a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize science and technology
- apply and use a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize science and technology
- develop an ability to analyze, evaluate and synthesize scientific information
- develop a critical awareness of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration and communication during scientific activities
- develop experimental and investigative scientific skills, including the use of current technologies
- develop and apply 21st-century communication skills in the study of science
- become critically aware, as global citizens, of the ethical implications of using science and technology
- develop an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations of science and technology
- develop an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and their influence on other areas of knowledge.
In Grades 11 and 12, students are challenged to examine Christian principles and beliefs as well as reflect on their own beliefs. In the Grade 11 Pauline Epistles class, students study the letters of the apostle Paul ,written almost 2000 years ago to various churches with whom he had relationships, with the purpose of examining two of Paul’s major themes of his writing: the major beliefs of Christians and the organization of the Christians.
The Grade 12 Spiritual Reflections class engages students in an examination of their principles of life. Students study the rationale and understanding of Christianity through a study of C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. After examining this book, students progress further to ponder what values they possess and how those values will shape their lives. Throughout these courses, students are encouraged to examine the value of Christian faith.
What is the Extended Essay (EE)?
The Extended Essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper that is considered university-level work. This essay is a culminating task and a required component of the IB Diploma Program.
The extended essay provides:
- practical preparation for undergraduate research
- an opportunity for students to investigate a topic of special interest to them, which is also related to one of the student's six DP subjects.
Through the research process for the extended essay, students develop skills in:
- formulating an appropriate research question
- engaging in a personal exploration of the topic
- communicating ideas
- developing an argument.
Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyze, synthesize and evaluate knowledge.
An extended essay can also be undertaken in world studies, where students carry out an in-depth interdisciplinary study of an issue of contemporary global significance, across two IB Diploma disciplines.
What is Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?
Theory of knowledge plays a special role at TCIS by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge and on "how we know" what we claim to know.
As a thoughtful and purposeful inquiry into different ways of knowing and different kinds of knowledge, TOK is composed almost entirely of questions. The most central of these is, "How do we know?" Through discussion of this and other questions, students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions as well as developing an appreciation of the diversity and richness of cultural perspectives.
TOK aims to make students aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge, including personal ideological biases – whether these biases are retained, revised or rejected.
TOK offers students and their teachers the opportunity to:
- reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and on areas of knowledge
- consider the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the cultures of others and in the wider world.
In addition, TOK prompts students to:
- be aware of themselves as thinkers, encouraging them to become more acquainted with the complexity of knowledge
- recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected but uncertain world.
TOK also provides coherence for the student by linking academic subject areas as well as transcending them. It, therefore, demonstrates the ways in which the students can apply their knowledge with greater awareness and credibility.
What is Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)?
Studied throughout the Diploma Programme, CAS involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies. Students reflect on their CAS experiences as part of the DP, and provide evidence of achieving the eight 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 Diploma Program
- 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.
CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience. It provides opportunities for self-determination and collaboration with others, fostering a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from their work. At the same time, CAS is an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the DP.
TCIS offers the benefits of a rigorous and holistic educational experience through its inclusive IB DP program. TCIS graduating seniors are internationally-minded learners who lead in purposeful change, and they consistently achieve well above the world average in DP exam scores.
Take a look at the DP exam results from our most recent cohort of DP Program Candidate students: