Diploma and Curriculum
The IB Diploma follows a well-crafted liberal arts programme with room for individual strengths and challenges. IB Diploma Candidates study six diverse subject areas—the literature of their own language, a second language, a humanities course, an experimental science, a math course, and a sixth subject which could be a fine arts course or a second science or language. To complete the diploma requirements, candidates also add a course unique to IB, Theory of Knowledge, a critical thinking course.
By the end of the programme, students will complete an Extended Essay, an intensive, self-directed research project in one of the subject areas. Our alumni tell us that the Extended Essay was vital preparation for higher education, teaching them research and writing skills that other first- and second-year students struggled to learn when they entered university.
Throughout the programme, students also participate in CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) programme, encouraging them to continue developing artistic, athletic, and service interests.
The IB Diploma Programme provides GNS students an opportunity to stretch themselves in a world-recognized liberal arts program. Alternately, students may choose to study selected IB subjects (becoming certificate candidates). GNS IB graduates are clear that this was the best possible preparation for university success, through development of study skills, efficient use of time, while meeting the rigorous critical thinking, writing and lab demands of various IB courses. Establishing priorities between academics and co-curricular activities is crucial to student success over the two years of the programme.
Andrew Arida, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at UBC, explains how many universities draw equivalencies between IB scores and letter grades.
Extended Essays by GNS Students
The extended essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper. Below are essays written by GNS students.
- How does Oliver Sacks describe his growing understanding of science as a mixture of imagination and human relationships in his memoir, Uncle Tungsten? by Clare Skillman ’16
- Peering Into the Skull: How is the dichotomy of childhood and death explored in The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks? by Sandra Zhou ’16