How does the IB Diploma Programme prepare students for success at a university?

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) is a two-year academically challenging and balanced programme which is considered one of the world’s most innovative educational courses for 16 to 19-year-old students. It focuses not only on the students' academic or professional development but also on personal development.

More than 2000 universities globally recognize the DP program for the holistic and rigorous education it provides; therefore, DP students gain competitive offers for further study in the best universities in the world.

All DP curriculums are reviewed on a seven-year teaching cycle to ensure that each is fit for purpose in a changing world and incorporates the latest educational research and lessons learned from a thorough evaluation of the existing curriculum. The DP curriculum review is a collaborative process that aims to produce excellent, internationally-minded, research-based curriculums and support material that enable students to develop the attributes of the learner profile and the IB mission, thereby providing excellent preparation for life in the 21st century.

Ten reasons why the IB Diploma Programme (DP) is ideal preparation for university.

  • It increases academic opportunity: Research shows that DP graduates are much more likely to be enrolled at top higher education institutions than entrants holding other qualifications.
  • IB students care about more than just results: Through creativity, action, service (CAS) you learn outside the classroom and develop emotionally and ethically as well as intellectually.
  • It encourages you to become a confident and independent learner: For example, the extended essay requires independent research through an in-depth study.
  • It’s an international qualification: The DP is recognized globally by universities and employers
  • Graduates are globally minded: Language classes encourage an international mindset, key for increasingly globalized societies
  • The IB encourages critical thinking: Learn how to analyse and evaluate issues, generate ideas and consider new perspectives.
  • DP students have proven time management skills: Take good study habits and strong time management to further education and the working world.
  • It assesses more than examination techniques: Learn to understand, not just memorize facts or topics and prepare for exams.
  • Subjects are not taught in isolation: Theory of knowledge (TOK) classes encourages you to make connections between subjects.
  • It encourages breadth and depth of learning: You are able to choose courses from six subject groups and study subjects at different levels.

The Components of the Diploma Program

To complete the Diploma Programme, students should study concurrently six subjects from six different groups and complete all three parts of the core. Here are the details.

The Diploma Programme core

Extended Essay:

The extended essay (EE) requires students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the DP subjects they are studying. The world studies EE option allows students to focus on a topic of global significance, which they examine through the lens of at least two DP subjects.

Theory of Knowledge:

The theory of knowledge (TOK) develops a coherent approach to learning that unifies the academic disciplines. Within two years, students complete 100 hours of TOK classes. In this course on critical thinking, students inquire into the nature of knowing and deepen their understanding of knowledge as a human construction.

Creativity, Activity, & Service:

Creativity, activity, service (CAS) emphasizes helping students to develop their own identities following the ethical principles embodied in the IB mission statement and the IB learner profile. CAS complements a challenging academic programme in a holistic way, providing opportunities for self-determination, collaboration, accomplishment and enjoyment. It involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the DP.

The three strands of CAS are:

  • Creativity (exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance)
  • Activity (physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle)
  • Service (collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need).

In two years, students should show 150 hours of CAS performance.

The Curriculum

DP students must choose one course from each of five subject groups delivering a breadth of knowledge and understanding in language and literature, individuals and societies, the sciences and mathematics. Furthermore, students must also choose either an arts course from the arts group or a second course from one of the other subject groups. DP courses can be taken at a higher level (HL) or standard level (SL). At least three, and not more than four, are taken at HL (240 teaching hours), while the remaining courses are taken at SL (150 teaching hours). SL courses ensure students are exposed to a range of disciplines that they might otherwise opt-out of, and HL courses allow students to spend more time with subjects they are more interested in by exploring options in addition to the SL core curriculum. In this sense, all DP courses, regardless of whether they are SL or HL, are integral to the programme.

At Shirakatsy Lyceum we offer the following courses according to the DP subject groups

(Group I)

Studies in language and literature

Language A: Literature in

  • English
  • Armenian
  • Russian

(Group II)

Language Acquisition

Language B in

  • English
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • French

Language ab inition in

  • Spanish
  • French

(Group III)

Individuals and Societies

  • Geography
  • History
  • Business Management
  • Economics

(Group IV)


Experimental Sciences:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Computer Science

(Group V)


  • Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches (SL/HL)

Art (Group VI)


Note: This academic year we do not offer any subjects form group 6. Instead of the sixth group, students can choose one subject from the rest of five subject groups.

Assessment & Qualifications

Students take written examinations at the end of the programme, which are marked by external IB examiners. They also complete assessment tasks in the school, which are either initially marked by teachers and then moderated by external moderators or sent directly to external examiners. The grades awarded for each course range from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest). Students can also be awarded up to three additional points for their combined results on TOK and the EE. The diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject to certain minimum levels of performance across the whole programme and to satisfactory participation in the CAS requirement. The highest total that a DP student can be awarded is 45 points. Assessment is criterion-related, which means student performance is measured against specified assessment criteria based on the aims and objectives of each subject’s curriculum, rather than the performance of other students taking the same examinations.

Graduates of the IBDP may also obtain a national high-school graduation diploma, if they hold RA citizenship; study 3 additional subjects, namely: Armenian language, Armenian history and geometry; and by the end of the second academic year, in May, pass the state high-school graduation exams.

Pre-Diploma Program (Pre-DP)

Pre-DP is a one-year academic preparation course designed for DP applicants. In this program, students’ study three subjects: Mathematics, English and TOK. Besides the main subjects, they also complete one of the core DP components CAS. The pre-DP curriculum is designed in a way to provide students an opportunity to develop all essential skills required for succeeding in the IBDP. It focuses not only on developing academic skills such as essay writing, data analysis, analytical skills but also on enriching students as human beings and shows them what does it mean to be a global citizen and an impactful human being.

IB learner profile

The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people who, recognize their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.

DP students strive to be.

Inquirer: We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.

Knowledgeable: We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.

Thinkers: We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.

Communicator We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.

Principled: We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.

Open-minded: We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.

Caring: We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.

Risk-takers: We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.

Balanced: We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives-intellectual, physical, and emotional-to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.

Reflective: We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.