Students in the Diploma Programme standing as a group

IB Diploma Programme

Introduced at the International School of Tanganyika in 1983, the IB Diploma Programme (DP) is a two-year programme based primarily on courses leading to the IB Diploma or IB Certificates.

This curriculum is a rigorous, academically challenging and balanced programme of education designed to prepare students aged 16 to 19 for success both in university and life beyond their academic career. The DP aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable, inquiring, caring and compassionate, and to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness and the attitudes necessary to respect and evaluate a range of viewpoints.

An IB Diploma is recognized globally by higher education, with students gaining competitive offers from the top universities around the world for further study after graduation.

For more details on how the IB Diploma Programme works at IST, please download this FAQ Guide for Parents.

IB Diploma Programme Curriculum

The DP curriculum is the best preparation for those who are moving onto further education as it produces young adults with a broad academic base, inquiring minds and diverse social interests.

It allows for the study of six subjects - with three at a Higher Level and three at Standard Level in six group areas. It’s recommended that students choose Higher Level subjects that they are passionate about, and perhaps even aim to study at the university level.

picture of the IB Diploma Programme wheel

To ensure both breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding, students must choose at least one subject from five groups: 1) their best language, 2) additional language(s), 3) social sciences, 4) experimental sciences and 5) mathematics. Students may choose either an arts subject from group 6, or a second subject from groups 1 to 5. At least three and not more than four subjects are taken at a Higher Level (240 recommended teaching hours), while the remaining are taken at Standard Level (150 recommended teaching hours). In addition, three core elements—the extended essay, theory of knowledge and creativity, action, service—are compulsory and central to the philosophy of the programme.

It is the responsibility of each student and their parents to ensure that subjects chosen match the entry requirements of individual universities for which the student may apply at a later stage.

IST offers a wide range of Standard Level and Higher Level courses. Course selection at this stage in a student’s life entails important decisions and should be made in consultation with parents, teachers and the college counsellors at the school.

These choices must take into account each student’s:

  • Long-term education and career goals
  • Demonstrated skills and strengths
  • Current interests


The Extended Essay

The Extended Essay (compulsory for IB Diploma students only) is an independent research paper of approximately 4000 words in one of the subjects of the IB curriculum. Each student is assigned a supervisor from the school’s teaching staff who will assist and advise with the planning, development and completion of the essay. The Extended Essay provides excellent preparation for the kind of research work required at many colleges and universities. These Essays are assessed by an external examiner.

Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a required course for the full IB Diploma, while it remains only an optional course for the IST High School Diploma. It focuses on developing skills of critical analysis and thought. In the course each student examines various ways of knowing, including sense perception, emotion, language, reasoning, imagination, intuition, faith and memory, as well as various areas of knowledge, including the arts, mathematics, history, ethics, natural science, human science, indigenous knowledge systems and religious knowledge systems. At the forefront of discussions and class activities will be the central questions, all of which revolve around the core TOK concepts: belief, certainty, culture, evidence, explanation, experience, interpretation, values, truth and technology.

In class, we use knowledge questions to examine the knowledge claims made from various knowledge perspectives. Some of the core knowledge questions discussed in TOK classes are:

  • How do we know?
  • How do we know this is true?
  • What makes us be certain about what we claim to know?
  • What are the issues of knowledge (its acquisition/ verification/ justification or presentation)?
  • What are the links between different ways of knowing and areas of knowledge?

The formal assessment of TOK is based upon an essay of 1600 words, which is assessed externally, as well as an internally assessed presentation (10 minutes per candidate).




CAS Programme

In order to receive an IB Diploma from IST, all students must participate in the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) Programme. CAS aims to challenge and extend a student by developing a spirit of discovery, self-reliance, as well as additional skills and interests. All students during the IB DP years are required to participate in a range of experiences and projects that span the C, A and S strands.

Throughout their CAS journey, students are required to provide evidence of meeting seven learning outcomes. Each student also initiates a CAS Project that follows the CAS stages. CAS is an integral part of the IB Diploma Programme at IST, the benefits of which stay with students far beyond their two years at IST.

Click here to see an example of one of our student’s CAS Project.

Personal and Social Education (PSE)

The majority of the time is spent in preparation for further education with units on the college/university application process, college admissions testing, the transition from high school to college and college life. Taught by high school counselors, time is also devoted to other important personal and social topics.

Why the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme?

We teach the IB DP programme because we believe in its mission statement:

"The IB programme aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end, the IBO works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessments. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people with their differences can also be right."



Interested in learning more about the IB Diploma Programme at IST?
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