Diploma Programme (DP)

  • Diploma Programme

    Diploma Programme

    What is DP?

    The Diploma Programme (DP) is a curriculum framework designed by the International Baccalaureate (IB) for students in the last two years of high school.
    Diploma Programme students study six subjects (three at standard level and three at higher level) over two years and complete three additional requirements: the theory of knowledge (TOK), the extended essay and at least 150 hours of CAS - creativity, activity and services tasks outside of the classroom. In addition to these requirements, students must earn a minimum of 24 points out of a possible 45 points on the final assessments, which are externally marked and moderated by the IB, in order to receive an IB diploma.
    DP model

    How can students benefit from the DP?

    IB students graduating with the DP diploma are able to study at universities all around the world, often with advanced credit. Students report that their involvement with the IB has given them the tools needed to succeed at college. In particular, students comment on their sense of preparedness, self-confidence, research skills and their ability to manage their time. Even more important, they have developed a sense of the world around them and their responsibility to it. 

    The DP enables students to:

    • have higher university and college acceptance rates than other applicants.
    • have increased opportunities of being granted scholarships and grant opportunities.
    • develop into international-minded individuals.
    • become lifelong learners.
    • not be afraid of approaching unfamiliar situations and uncertainties. They are taught to be independent-spirited, be able to explore new strategies, ideas and roles, to be expressive and able to defend their beliefs.
    • be able to explore concepts and issues that have both local and global significance which will in turn, help them to acquire in-depth knowledge and understanding of various disciplines.
    • understand and appreciate their own personal histories.
    • be open to the perception, values and traditions of other people. They confidently seek and evaluate a variety of perceptions and tend to grow from the experience gained therein.
    • grow up to be principled individuals who act with integrity and honesty, coupled with an astonishing sense of fairness and respect for other individuals, groups and even communities.
    • be creative and imaginative in dealing with everyday problems and dilemmas.
    • project themselves into another person’s situation in order to understand that particular person’s reasoning and emotions over a given condition.
    • pride themselves with being confident in their respective abilities as learners, and not shy away from taking risks where necessary and at the same time, applying whatever they learn from the risk taken and applying them to their everyday life.

    How do colleges and universities view the Diploma Programme?

    The DP is internationally recognized as representing one of the highest standards in university preparatory education. More than 1,000 colleges and universities in North America have recognition policies on how they weigh it in admissions, advanced standing, college credit and scholarships. A list of colleges and universities that grant credit, scholarships, and/or advanced studies for DP diplomas and certificates is available at www.ibo.org.


    What kind of student is a good candidate for the DP?

    The DP is a rigorous course of study for motivated students. That said, prior academic success is less an indicator of ability to earn the diploma than are a student's determination to do his or her best, willingness to be organized in order to complete the work while leading a full, balanced life, and a strong commitment to learning in and beyond the classroom.


    Do DP students have time for anything beyond academics?

    Absolutely. Most successful Diploma Programme students lead very full lives. They are often members of athletic teams and involved in a wide range of activities. Time management and organization are key skills the IB develops in students.


    Do DP teachers receive special training?

    All DP teachers receive professional development in the IB's approaches to teaching and approaches to learning from certified IB workshop leaders. This is a requirement for IB World Schools implementing the DP.


    What's the difference between the diploma and certificates?

    Not all students choose to take the full course load leading to a diploma. Instead, some take a few DP courses in areas where they have particular interest or strength, similar to honors and Advanced Placement classes. Certificates are awarded on a course-by-course basis to students who choose not to do the full programme. Students who satisfactorily complete a DP course earn a certificate and may be eligible for university credit.


    Can you give a specific example of how the DP prepared students for college?

    A 2012 study by the Consortium for Chicago School Research found that Diploma Programme students who graduated from 12 Chicago public schools were more likely to attend college, attend a selective college, and persist in college for 2 years than a matched comparison group. Additional studies on programme impact are available at www.ibo.org/research.


    How can I learn more about the IB and DP?

    *Information provided by the International Baccalaureate at www.ibo.org

What DP courses are offered at HHMS?

Course Offered Grade Level Prerequisites
Group 1: Literature HL Eleventh-Twelfth Successful completion of PDP English I and II with satisfactory progress.
Group 1: Language and Literature HL Eleventh-Twelfth Successful completion of PDP English I and II with satisfactory progress.
Group 2: Spanish B SL Eleventh-Twelfth Successful completion of PDP Spanish I and II with satisfactory progress.
Group 3: History of the Americas HL Eleventh-Twelfth Successful completion of PDP US Gov. & Pol. and PDP Human Geography with satisfactory progress.
Group 3: Psychology HL Eleventh-Twelfth Successful progress in the PDP programme.
Group 4: Biology HL Eleventh-Twelfth Successful completion of PDP Biology I and PDP Chemistry with satisfactory progress.
Group 4: Physics SL Eleventh-Twelfth Successful completion of PDP Biology and PDP chemistry with satisfactory progress. Strong Math skills are required.
Group 5: Mathematics SL Eleventh-Twelfth Successful completion of PDP Algebra I, PDP Geometry, PDP Algebra II with satisfactory progress.
Group 5: Math Studies SL Eleventh-Twelfth Successful completion of PDP Algebra I, PDP Geometry, and PDP Algebra II with satisfactory progress.
Group 6: Film HL Eleventh-Twelfth Successful progress in the PDP programme.
Core: Theory of Knowledge Eleventh-Twelfth Required for all full-diploma and certificate students.

DP Subject Briefs

  • For more information on each of the courses, please review the DP Subject BriefsDP Subject Briefs
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    Photo: Joan Costanza

    "In short, IB challenged the way I thought. For 4 years, I was encouraged to consider the perspectives of other people in many scenarios. This has helped me as a student, as a performer, and as a person, allowing me to become a more open-minded individual."

    -Daniel Loving, Class of 2016

DP Documents