About IB

The International Baccalaureate®

Diploma Programme

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) is for students aged 16-19.
This is a programme that enables students to obtain an internationally recognized qualification
for university admission (International Baccalaureate degree) by completing the prescribed curriculum
for two years and passing the final exam with the prescribed grades.

The DP curriculum

The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum is made up of six subject groups and DP core which is made up of the three required components. Students choose and take courses in each subject from the six subject groups in two years. Students may opt to study other courses instead of a course in the arts.
Students will take 3~4 subjects at higher level (HL: 240 teaching hours in each subject) and remaining subjects at standard level (SL: 150 teaching hours in each subject) from the perspective of acquiring the specialized knowledge and skills necessary to studies at universities and their careers in future prior to admission. In addition to the six subjects, students must complete following three core requirements as the “core” of curriculum.

Group Subject
Studies in language and literature (mother tongue)
Language A: literature, Language A: language and literature, Literature and performance(※)
Language acquisition
Language B, Language ab initio
Individuals and societies
Business management, Economics, Geography, Global politics, History, Psychology, Environmental systems and societies(※), Information technology in a global society, Philosophy, Social and cultural anthropology, World religions
Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Design technology, Environmental systems and societies(※), Computer science, Sports, exercise and health science
Mathematical studies, Mathematics SL, Mathematics HL、MathematicsFHL
The arts
Music, Visual arts, Dance, Film, Literature and performance(※)

(※)Literature and performance satisfies the requirements of Group 1 and 6. Environmental Systems and Societies satisfies the requirements of Group 3 and 4. World religions/sports, exercise and health science are only available at SL.

In addition to the above 6 groups, the curriculum is made up of the three required component (DP core). The three core elements are: Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Extended Essay (EE), Creativity, Action, &Service (CAS). This three core subjects are quite characteristic of IB education, which emphasizes the importance of inquiry learning and holistic education.

Group Subject
EE:Extended Essay Work on an individual research project in a research field related to the course and columinate a 4,000-word paper (8,000 characters in Japanese) on the results of the research.
TOK:Theory of Knowledge Consider the “nature of knowledge,” analyze “claims about knowledge,” and explore questions about the construction of knowledge. Cultivate critical thinking and encourage students to see things in their own way and to be aware of how they differ from others. Minimum 100 hours of study.
CAS:Creativity/Action/Service Engage in experiential learning, such as arts and other activities involving creative thinking, physical activities, and spontaneous, unpaid interaction activities.

DP evaluation

To obtain the IB Diploma, students must complete the entire DP curriculum and obtain at least 24 points out of 45 points through external evaluation (e.g., International Baccalaureate exams) and internal evaluation. The score is 7 points for each of the six courses (42 points total). In addition, a maximum of three points are awarded for the required core requirements (“core”), depending on the combination of TOK and EE assessment results (CAS is not subject to assessment). The International Baccalaureate examinations are administered twice a year in a single global forum to cover both the Southern and Northern Hemisphere school years. In Japan, the IB exams are generally held in November of the third year and final scores are sent out on January 5 of the following year.

How is IB recognized by universities?

Treatment of IB in University Admissions in Japan

International Baccalaureate degree holders who have reached 18 years of age are eligible for admission to universities in Japan. In order to be admitted to a university, applicants are required to go through an admission selection process at each university, and only those who have passed the selection process will be admitted. Application requirements vary slightly from university to university, but many universities clearly state the eligibility of IB Diploma recipients as one of the eligibility criteria for the AO entrance examination and special selection for returnee students in their application bulletins, etc. If you meet the requirements, you can take the university entrance examination under this system. In some cases, the selection process is based on the International Baccalaureate score, an essay and an interview, if necessary.

In addition, the Fourth Proposal of the Education Revitalization Executive Committee, “The Connection between High School and University Education and the Selection of University Students” (October 2013) states that “Universities should actively utilize the International Baccalaureate degree and its scores in the selection of students. For this purpose, the Government shall provide the necessary support and promote the use of these qualifications at the discretion of each university. The government shall provide the necessary support for this purpose and promote the use of these qualifications at the discretion of each university. In response to this trend, a growing number of Japanese universities have been actively introducing or expanding the use of International Baccalaureate scores and other criteria in their admission selection of students.

Treatment of IB in University Admissions in overseas

The International Baccalaureate is widely accepted as an internationally university entrance qualification by universities in many countries around the world, although the specific treatment of this qualification differs from country to country.

In addition, International Baccalaureate scores are widely used in the selection of overseas universities. For example, in the United Kingdom, the Central Agency for Academic Affairs (UCAS) produces a standardized conversion table of scores for the International Baccalaureate and A-levels, a common examination in the United Kingdom, etc., and uses the International Baccalaureate scores as a guideline for each university to use when making offers of admission. On the other hand, U.S. universities select students based on a comprehensive evaluation of common exams (e.g., SATs), high school grades, and other factors, and many highly selective universities recommend or actively consider the International Baccalaureate degree.

Overseas universities often grant exemptions (credit approval) to students who have achieved a certain score in advanced level International Baccalaureate (HL) courses, for example, for some subjects that are equivalent to the IB course.

University admission (IB Organization website)

List of Information on Overseas Universities (According to Tomonokai)

Universities in Japan where the International Baccalaureate is available

The status of entrance examinations at Japanese universities using International Baccalaureate scores, etc. as of December 2018 is as follows (based on research by the Consortium for Promotion of IB Education, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology).

Examples of university entrance examinations using the IB (as of December 2018)

Source: Consortium for the Promotion of IB Education, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology https://ibconsortium.mext.go.jp/about-ib/dp/