What is the IB Diploma?

The IB was developed in Geneva 50 years ago to allow mobile students in international schools to obtain a rigorous credential that would be recognized around the world. Today the IB Diploma is widely recognized as the most comprehensive college preparation available.

The IB Diploma is nothing less than a two-year degree program. Its power lies in the overall experience which is designed to educate the whole student. We are one of the only independent schools in San Francisco offering the IB Diploma program.

International High School was the 4th school in the U.S. authorized to deliver the full IB Diploma Program, of 894 today.

The Value of an IB Education

Stanford University's Assistant Dean of Admissions Debra Von Bargen discusses the value of an IB education. 

Hear Debra Von Bargen's answers to five of the top questions received from parents and students about the university admissions process and IB diploma.

Personalizing your IB Diploma

The IB Diploma consists of six classes which combine to form a strong and balanced liberal arts program. You have freedom of choice to emphasize your passions and strengths by choosing to take three or four classes at a “higher level.” IB courses are in-depth honors classes taught over two years. All IB disciplines place a high value on critical thinking and integrate international and intercultural perspectives. In addition to the selection of six core classes, there are three additional Diploma requirements that further set the IB apart from rival programs:

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

Students begin their IB Diploma studies with 16 years of life experience and more than 10 years of formal education behind them. They will have accumulated knowledge, beliefs, and opinions, not just from school, but from life outside the classroom. Consider TOK a first philosophy class. Students are encouraged to step back from regular classes in order to consider knowledge itself. TOK is about asking deep questions and daring to know for oneself. It is subversive in the sense that it discourages swallowing conventional ideas, or prepackaged opinions of peers or authority figures, without demanding evidence and serious critical thinking.

Extended Essay

A memorable rite of passage for all IB Diploma students is writing an independent research paper. Students work under the guidance of a teacher, but are free to choose their own research question—leading them to feel confident and prepared when it comes time to write their first college midterm paper.  

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

IB Diploma studies include participation in a range of co-curricular activities including service learning at home and abroad. Students are entirely free to create their own CAS project, and the categories are broad. Creativity includes performing and visual arts as well as entrepreneurial initiatives. Action encompasses athletics as well as leadership. It is no coincidence that IB CAS requirements align perfectly with college admission expectations. Read more about the service learning and CAS component of the IB >>

Dina Srouji

Dina Srouji
IB Coordinator
(415) 558-2074

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IB World Organization

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International High School

150 Oak Street

San Francisco, CA 94102-5912

Phone: 415.558.2000

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An independent Pre-K through 12th grade co-educational day school in the heart of San Francisco. The school delivers a rigorous bilingual (French/English) immersion program through middle school, culminating in either French Baccalaureate or International Baccalaureate program in its International High School.

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