Diploma Programme

IBDP at Western International School of Shanghai

The Western International School of Shanghai is proud of offer the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) as part of the full continuum of IB programmes.

What is the IBDP?

The IBDP is for students aged 16-19. The IBDP is a two-year programme and is widely recognized as one of the most prestigious and challenging pre-university courses, being accepted in 3,300 universities in 90 countries.

The Core of IBDP

All Diploma Programme students participate in the three-course requirements that make up the core of the DP Model: TOK, CAS and the extended essay. Reflection on all these activities is a principle that lies at the heart of the thinking behind the Diploma Programme.

Strongly committed to the principle of developing the whole person, the IB believes that this is best achieved by identifying and developing clearer and more explicit aims for and relationships between TOK, CAS and the extended essay. Specifically, the IB believes a coherent view of the core:

  • supports the interconnectedness of learning
  • supports concurrency of learning
  • supports the IB continuum of education and the learner profile
  • supports a broader view of the subject disciplines
  • contributes to the common ground that unifies the curriculums in all PYP schools
Read Diploma Programme Guide Book

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

TOK is a course about critical thinking and inquiring into the process of knowing, rather than learning about a specific body of knowledge. The TOK course examines how we know what we claim to know. It does this by encouraging students to analyze knowledge claims and explore knowledge questions.

Creative Activity and Service (CAS)

CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning. The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:

Creativity: arts, and other experiences involving creative thinking

Activity: Physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the Diploma Programme.

Service: An unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity, and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

Extended Essay

The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic chosen from the list of approved Diploma Programme Subjects – normally one of the student’s six chosen subjects for the IB Diploma. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity.

IBDP Subject Choice at WISS

Students study six subjects in the DP from six groups; each group incorporates a wide variety of related disciplines. The range of subjects promotes balanced learning that is comprehensive enough to satisfy the rigorous demand for university entry.

Each student chooses one subject from each subject group, three of which must be taken at Higher Level (a minimum of 240 hours of study over two years) and three at Standard Level (a minimum of 150 hours of study over two years). This allows students to work to their strengths and prepares them for success at university.

Group 1

Studies in Language
and Literature

Language and Literature (English, Chinese, German, Korean, and Spanish) – SL/HL

Self-taught Literature (Dutch, French,
Russian and Swedish) – SL*

*Other languages may be available under
certain circumstances

Group 2
Language Acquisition
Language Acquisition
(English, Chinese, Spanish) – SL/HL

Ab Initio – Beginner (Chinese, Spanish) – SL*

*Other languages may be available under
certain circumstances

Group 3

Individuals and

Business Management – SL/HL

Economics – SL/HL

Geography – SL/HL

History – SL/HL

Group 4
Experimental Sciences

Biology – SL/HL

Chemistry – SL/HL

Design Technology – SL/HL

Environmental Systems and Societies – SL

Physics –SL/HL

Group 5

Mathematics and
Computer Science

Mathematics Analysis
and Approaches – SL/HL

Mathematics Applications
and Interpretation – SL/HL

Group 6
The Arts

Film, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts

Highlights of the IBDP at WISS

The Western International School of Shanghai’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme offers students a world-class education in a close-knit community that values small class sizes and personalized student attention.

The Group 4 Project is an interdisciplinary activity in which all Diploma Programme science students must participate. The intention is that students from the different Group 4 subjects analyze a common topic or problem. The exercise is a collaborative experience where the emphasis is on the processes involved in, rather than the products of, such an activity. It is a fantastic opportunity for our WISS DP candidates to appreciate the environmental, social, and ethical implications of science.

Visual Arts Exhibition serves as the internal assessment for the Visual Arts Diploma course. Students must choose artworks from the body of work they produced during the two-year course and curate the exhibition.

This is a wonderful opportunity for our young artists to feature work made with different media, from video and animation, drawing and painting, cut out and construction to prints and site-specific installation. They then use their exhibitions to express and share ideas and feelings on a range of social and personal issues.