DP – Diploma Programme

In late 2013, Al Zahra College became certified to run the IB: Diploma Programme for years 11 and 12. In 2014, AZC began to enrol students into Year 11 and offered Year 12 classes at the start of 2015.

Diploma Programme curriculum framework
IB Diploma Programme students must choose one subject from each of five groups (1 to 5), ensuring breadth of knowledge and understanding in their best language, additional language(s), the social sciences, the experimental sciences and mathematics. Student 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 higher level (240 teaching hours), while the other subjects are taken at standard level (150 teaching hours). Students can study and take examinations, in English, French or Spanish.

In addition to disciplinary and interdisciplinary study, the Diploma Programme features three core elements that broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills.


Why Study The IBDP at Al Zahra College?
The decision to launch the IB Diploma Program was inspired by the principles which are enshrined in it. We are excited about the benefits which the IB has brought to the school and to our students.
•       The IBDP was a logical progression for Al Zahra College. The extra-curricular life of the school is already rich and varied.

•       A dedicated, highly-qualified teaching staff is enthusiastic about teaching a curriculum which demands active involvement by students.

•       We have carefully planned for the challenges which face all schools embarking on the IBDP, and have consulted widely with other schools and experienced IBDP teachers.

•       There has been extensive teacher training. We are committed to providing the resources necessary to making it work well from the outset.

What is Special About The IBDP?
We live in an inter-connected world in which international understanding plays an increasingly important part and will do so over time in the future. Internationalism lies at the heart of IBO philosophy. It is exciting to be part of a ‘club’ which includes teachers and students from all over the world.

The IBDP promotes breadth of study without sacrificing depth. We know that there is a serious danger of unwise subject choices being made at 16, when university ambitions are hazy and career options uncertain. Moreover, we want our students to be as attractive as possible to university admissions tutors and prospective employers. As you can see from the ‘hexagon’ below students will continue with Mathematics, English, a language, a humanities and sciences, which keeps all options alive. The IBDP encourages students to think for themselves. There are no modules. All examinations are at the end of the course. Therefore there is space to explore ideas and to mature at a measured pace. The style of questioning encourages students to think flexibly; it tends to be open-ended and the mark-schemes allow examiners to assess quality of thinking. Teachers have to give students the confidence to argue, handle evidence critically and find an individual intellectual voice.

The much-admired Theory of Knowledge course invites students to reflect on how we know; it provides a unique opportunity to consider the nature of truth in all its forms.

The IBDP recognizes the importance of life outside the classroom. All students have to take part in a balanced program, entitled ‘Creativity, Action and Service.’ Thus, involvement in sport, drama, music, and community service for example, is encouraged and accredited and personalities are developed.

Through the requirement to write an Extended Essay, the Diploma Program demands independent study. This opportunity to examine a chosen topic in depth is invaluable in providing insight into a subject which may be studied at university.

Should I Choose the IBDP?
Only if you are hopelessly disorganized or are unable to cope with a particular area of the curriculum, should you avoid IB.

The IB Diploma allows you to study a broad range of subjects If you are undecided about your future choice of university or career (and that is probably most of you), the IB allows you to keep your options open. But the Diploma Program also provides depth. Taking subjects at Higher Level will provide a strong foundation for university study, and the Extended Essay enables you to stretch yourself still further in an area which particularly interests you.

The IB Diploma will equip you well for study in higher education. Good research skills are developed through the Diploma program. The Extended Essay is written under the expert guidance of your tutors, who will assist you in formulating questions, identifying sources, and refining your conclusions. In addition, there is an emphasis on oral presentation which is a major feature of university life nowadays. There are oral components in Theory of Knowledge, English, Languages and Science. These are excellent ways of developing self-confidence.