What is the IB Diploma?

The IB was developed in Geneva 50 years ago to allow mobile students in international schools to obtain a rigorous credential that would be recognized around the world. Today the IB Diploma is widely recognized as the most comprehensive college preparation available.

The IB Diploma is nothing less than a two-year degree program. Its power lies in the overall holistic experience which is designed to educate the whole human being. We are the only independent school in San Francisco offering the IB Diploma program.

International High School was the 4th school in the U.S. authorized to deliver the full IB Diploma Program, of 894 today.

The Value of an IB Education

Stanford University's Assistant Dean of Admissions Debra Von Bargen discusses the value of an IB education. 

Hear Debra Von Bargen's answers to five of the top questions received from parents and students about the university admissions process and IB diploma.

Personalizing your IB Diploma

The IB Diploma consists of six classes which combine to form a strong and balanced liberal arts program. You have freedom of choice to emphasize your passions and strengths by choosing to take three or four classes at a “higher level.”  IB courses are in-depth honors classes taught over two years. All IB disciplines place a high value on critical thinking and integrate international and intercultural perspectives. In addition to the menu of six core classes there are three additional Diploma requirements. These are quite revolutionary and set the IB apart from rival programs:

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

As you begin your IB Diploma, you will already have 16 years of life experience, and more than 10 years of formal education behind you. You will have accumulated knowledge, beliefs and opinions, not just from school, but from your life outside the classroom. Consider TOK as your first philosophy class. You will have the opportunity to step back from regular classes in order to consider knowledge itself. TOK is all about asking deep questions and daring to know for oneself. It is subversive in the sense that it discourages swallowing piecemeal conventional ideas, or prepackaged opinions of peers or authority figures, without demanding evidence and serious critical thinking.

Extended Essay

A memorable rite of passage for all IB Diploma students is writing an independent research paper conforming to international academic conventions. You will be free to choose your own research question and you will be guided by a mentor/teacher. You will be proud of your Extended Essay; and when your first college mid-term paper comes along you will feel confident and prepared while some feel overwhelmed by the task.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

Your IB Diploma quest will include documented participation in a range of co-curricular activities including service learning at home and abroad. You are entirely free to craft your own CAS profile. The categories are broad. Creativity includes performing and visual arts as well as entrepreneurial initiatives. Action encompasses athletics as well as leadership. It is no coincidence that IB CAS requirements align perfectly with college admission expectations.

International High School

150 Oak Street

San Francisco, CA 94102-5912

Phone: 415.558.2000

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An independent Pre-K through 12th grade co-educational day school in the heart of San Francisco. The school delivers a rigorous bilingual (French/English) immersion program through middle school, culminating in either French Baccalaureate or International Baccalaureate program in its International High School.

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