The Diploma and Certificate
Diploma Programme candidates are required to study six subjects: one subject from each of groups 1 to 5 and a sixth subject from group 6 or an elective. The electives include a second subject from groups 1 to 4, further mathematics SL, computer science and a school-based syllabus approved by the IBO. At least three and not more than four of the six subjects are taken at higher level (HL), the others at standard level (SL). Each subject is graded on a scale of 1 (minimum) to 7 (maximum). The award of the diploma requires candidates to meet defined standards and conditions. These include a minimum total of 24 points and the satisfactory completion of three additional requirements: the extended essay of some 4,000 words, which provides a first experience of preparing an independent research paper; a course entitled theory of knowledge (TOK), which is an interdisciplinary requirement intended to stimulate critical reflection on knowledge and experience gained inside and outside the classroom; and the compulsory participation in CAS—creativity, action, service.
Approximately 80% of candidates are awarded the diploma. A candidate who does not satisfy the requirements of the full Diploma Programme, or who has elected to take fewer than six subjects, is awarded a certificate for the examinations completed. Diploma candidates who complete more than six subjects receive an extra certificate for the additional subject(s).
Grading and Results
A candidate’s examination performance in individual subjects is graded according to the following scale:
6. Very good
1. Very poor
N. No grade
The TOK course and the extended essay are graded according to this scale:
N. No grade
The Diploma Programme candidate’s six subjects can yield 42 points. Three further points are available for the combination of the extended essay and work in TOK. Therefore, the maximum possible score is 45 points.
Results are available in mid-July for May examination session candidates, and mid-January for November examination session candidates. If requested, an official transcript of results will be sent to universities. The transcript will indicate the
level of the subjects, the grade awarded in each, the total points scored and the completion of the additional diploma requirements. It is typically marked diploma awarded or certificate awarded. The bilingual diploma awarded indicates that the candidate has studied two languages A1, or has studied a language A1 and a language A2, or has taken an examination in at least one subject from group 3 or group 4 in a language other than his or her language A1.