What is the IB Diploma Programme?

IB is a program that started in 1968 in Europe in an effort to establish preparatory school standards that could be recognized by European universities as rigorous and effective in preparing students for higher level studies.  It has been in American schools since 1980 and in NHS since 1997.  Its influence on American universities is supported by an IBO 2011 survey that shows IB seniors in the US are accepted into premier universities more often than the general admission pool of applicants. 

Highly motivated and academically focused student will find a rigorous and diverse educational experience in IB at NHS.  The IB Diploma program is offered to eligible students who are entering their junior year.  The program is designed to be an integrated interdisciplinary curriculum that focuses students as much on how they learn as what they learn. The course work is advanced and promotes the students intellectual, personal and social development. Students may choose to participate at the full diploma level or at the course level.

The centerpiece of the program is Theory of Knowledge (ToK), an interdisciplinary course intended to stimulate critical reflection upon the knowledge and experience gained inside and outside the classroom.  ToK, which is available to full diploma program students, unifies the academic subjects and encourages appreciation of other cultural perspectives.

General Regulations for IB Diploma Schools 

Key Research on the Impact of the IB Diploma Programme

Infographic from IB regarding showing the benefits for the IB Diploma Programme

IB Core Components at Norcross High School

Application Process

Rising Juniors at Norcross High School who wish to be a part of the IB Diploma Programme either as a full Diploma or Course candidate, must talk to their current subject area teachers about course registration and selection.  Current year teachers will recommend students for IB courses and an IB committee will look at student academic performance and approve placement.  Once placement is approved all IB students will be required to submit an IB Contract committing to the full two year program.

Students who do not attend Norcross High and are interested in joining the IB program at NHS should apply using the following applications:

Application for Rising Juniors

Application for Rising Freshmen

(Note: The application is required for students who are requesting permissive transfer from an out-of-district Gwinnett County Public School.)

IB Diploma Contract

Any student wishing to exit an the IB Programme at either the full Diploma or course level during a school semester must complete the exit request to submit to Mr. Byrne in the IB Office.

Exit Request

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the components of the IB Diploma?

IB Diploma

Students who earn the IB Diploma meet the following requirements during their junior and senior years:

  • Complete and test in one course from each area of the IB Curriculum Model (see above).  Electives may come from areas other than area 6.
  • Complete the IB Central Elements—Theory of Knowledge course; an Extended Essay;  Creativity, Activity, and Service hours (CAS)
For more information, visit the Core Components page. Return to Top
What is CAS?
IB is committed to the concept that a student should be a productive participant in a democratic society. To this end, students are expected to participate in experiences related to creativity, activity, and service which address student development in eight learning outcomes.  These hours are to be completed during the junior and senior years.  Students utilize a online management tool called ManageBac to document and record all CAS elements.

Link to Information about ManageBac

Link to Norcross' ManageBac page for IB Diploma Students and Parents

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What is an Extended Essay?

An extended essay is an independent research project that the student undertakes with the aid of a mentor knowledgeable in the area of interest.  The essay is 4,000 words and is assessed by an international IB examiner.

For more information, visit the Core Components page.

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What are the prerequisites for the IB Program?
Students wishing to pursue the IB Program must complete World History, Economics, Political Systems, and Physical Education and Health during the freshman and sophomore years.  American Literature survey will also be required in the sophomore year.

 (In some cases, a student transferring into NHS at the end of the freshman or sophomore years who wishes to pursue the IB Diploma may qualify.  A conference with the IB Coordinator will determine if the graduation requirements can be met during the pursuit of the IB diploma.)

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How does IB Middle Years Program (MYP) Fit?
At Norcross High School IB Year 4 (freshman year) and IB Year 5 (sophomore year) are part of IB-MYP.  Both of our feeder middle schools, Pinckneyville and Summerour, are MYP schools.  The program spans five years and the fourth and fifth years are completed at NHS.  MYP does not guarantee acceptance into IB Diploma program.  Return to Top
Can a student participate in the IB Diploma Program in only a couple of courses?
Yes, for students who choose not to earn the IB Diploma, it is possible to complete IB courses in areas of their greatest interests and ability.   In order to earn credit at most colleges IB course level students can only take courses at the Higher Level. Return to Top
Is my child a good fit for IB Diploma Program classes?
Many parents and students struggle with making the decision to take advanced level classes.  What are the characteristics that the students who are successful in IB classes most often display?  In order to assist with that decision, look at the Learner Characteristic Survey below.   If your student scores in the higher ranges of the survey, they could be a good fit for IB Diploma Program classes.

Learner Characteristics Survey

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What courses are offered in the IB Program?

IB Language A HL:  Literature (C):

Junior Year    Senior Year

IB Mathematics HL I (C)

IB Mathematics HL II (C)

IB Physics HL (C):

Junior Year    Senior Year

IB Mathematics SL I

IB Mathematics SL II

IB Biology SL

Theory of Knowledge

IB Music SL

IB Language B HL (C) or SL:  French

Junior Year    Senior Year    ab initio

IB Environmental Systems and Societies SL

IB Language B HL (C) or SL:  Spanish

Junior Year    Senior Year    ab initio

IB History of the Americas HL (C):

Junior Year    Senior Year

IB Sports and Excercise Science SL

IB Psychology SL

IB Visual Arts HL (C) or SL

Year 1    Year 2

*  All courses can be part of the IB Diploma Programme, however only courses indicated by a (C) can be taken as an stand alone IB Course Candidate.

There are many paths available for students to earning a full IB Diploma.  We would encourage students to consider their strengths and interest in determining the IB Diploma route that will work best for each student.  By selecting the link for Diploma course sequences you can see some of the many possible combinations of routes for various student interest.  All student routes will be verified for qualification for the IB Diploma as well as Georgia high school graduation requirements.

Sample Diploma Course Sequences

Powerpoint presentation from AP/IB Night (updated 1/16/2016)

Powerpoint Presentation from Sophomore IB Diploma Night 01/23/16

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Will the IB Diploma work with my schedule choices?
The attached form is designed to give you a sample of what the two year plan for IB diploma looks like with a student entering their course selections for Junior and Senior year.  Should you wish to understand the course selections in more depth, please contact the IB coordinator to discuss or schedule and appointment.

IB Diploma Two Year Plan Sample Form 

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Who should I contact with further questions?

Dan Byrne

Norcross High School IB Coordinator


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