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International Baccalaureate (Diploma and Certificate)

International Baccalaureate (IB) offers high quality international education to a worldwide community of schools in 140 countries.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is a rigorous pre-university course of studies, which meets the needs of highly motivated secondary school students. Designed as a comprehensive two-year curriculum (completed in grades 11 and 12) that allows its graduates to fulfil requirements of various national education systems, the diploma model is based on the pattern of no single country but incorporates the best elements of many.

The IB diploma curriculum is about building well-roundedness with six academic areas studied concurrently exposing students to balance within the two great traditions of learning i.e. the humanities and the sciences, as well as asking students to develop themselves inside and outside of the classroom through the three core areas. Students are required to take one subject from each of the six subject areas as well as the three core activities of Extended Essay (EE), Theory of Knowledge (TOK), and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS).

At McNally we are guided by our mission that, “We inspire success, one student at a time, through high quality learning and teaching, and through the meaningful engagement of students, parents, faculty and community.  Our students are prepared to live and serve within local, national and international contexts.”

Distribution requirements ensure that the science-oriented student is challenged to learn a foreign language and that the natural linguist becomes familiar with laboratory procedures. While overall balance is maintained, flexibility in choosing higher level concentrations allows the student to pursue areas of personal interest and to meet special requirements for university entrance.


Develop academic skills in a challenging learning environment


  • Improved ability to handle rigorous and advanced coursework
  • Improved ability to research, analyze and present arguments
  • Development of independence and responsibility for learning
  • Improved understanding of using different approaches to learning and understanding concepts
  • Development of intercultural understanding and respect


  • Curriculum with a global perspective
  • Instruction that demonstrates how concepts learned in one subject could apply in other subject areas
  • Choice in earning the full Diploma Programme or a certificate in individual Diploma Programme courses
  • International Baccalaureate Organization sets specific learning standards and practices
  • Note: The International Baccalaureate Programme is a two year course of study. To ensure readiness, Grade 10 students complete a prepatory year prior to entering IB in Grade 11. The focus of the instruction in McNally Pre-IB is on giving students the skills that will prepare them to be successful in IB in Grades 11 and 12. Students can then choose to pursue the full IB Diploma Program or they may choose to take individual IB courses. The right course of study depends on the student’s career goals and academic interests.

 IB Curriculum

Students can obtain an IB Diploma (full IB) or IB Certificate (partial IB). (Students may also take individual IB courses to receive an IB Certificate.) To obtain the diploma, three higher level (HL) and three standard level (SL) courses, Theory of Knowledge course, an Extended Essay and participation in CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) are required.

 IB Learner Profile

Within the International Baccalaureate® (IB) program, a learner profile also describes a broad range of student (human) capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success.

At McNally, our program develops learners who are:

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-takers
  • Balanced
  • Reflective

International Baccalaureate Diploma Requirements:

  1. Three higher level (HL) and three standard level (SL) courses (maximum of 4 HL)
  2. Theory of Knowledge course
  3. A self - directed research paper (Extended Essay) no longer than 4,000 words
  4. A minimum of 150 hours of Creativity, Action, and Service in Grades 11 and 12
  5. The classic IB Standard Level Full Diploma includes English, History, an International Language, Mathematics or Math Studies, a Science and a Fine Arts Course. (Students can also choose to take a second Science or a second International Language instead of a Fine Arts course.)

Higher Level Subjects

Standard Level Subjects

English A; Literature

French B, Spanish Ab initio


 Mathematics: analysis and approaches

French B


Visual Arts





Visual Arts, Dance, Music


Computing Science

Successful diploma candidates meet three requirements in addition to the six subjects. The first of these is the interdisciplinary Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course is designed to develop a coherent approach to learning. Secondly, the Extended Essay of some 4000 words offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected at university. The third requirement is participation in the schools' Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) programme which encourages students to be involved in sports, artistic pursuits and community service work.

GRADE 10 is a pre-IB Diploma preparation year designed to build the skills required for the successful completion of International Baccalaureate courses. In addition to fulfilling prerequisites for the IB Diploma, IB students must meet the demands of the Alberta High School Diploma. A typical Grade 10 programme is outlined in the IB brochure.

The International Baccalaureate programme is recognized by the University of Alberta. Students who successfully complete the Diploma requirements are granted a 100-level Open Elective (three credits). Selected courses are granted Advanced Placement or credit by Special Assessment.

For more information:

Key findings from research on the Diploma Programme (DP) core 

The international-mindedness journey-School practices for developing and assessing international-mindedness across the IB continuum