Made up of the three required components, the DP core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills.

The three core elements are:

  1. Theory of Knowledge, in which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.
  2. The Extended Essay, which is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.
  3. Creativity Activity and Service, in which students complete a project related to those three concepts.

Theory of Knowledge:

TOK aims to make students aware of the interpretative nature of knowledge, including personal ideological biases – whether these biases are retained, revised or rejected. It enables the students to reflect critically on diverse ways of knowing and on areas of knowledge, considering the role and nature of knowledge in their own culture, in the cultures of others and in the wider world.

TOK also provides coherence for the student, by linking academic subject areas as well as transcending them. It therefore demonstrates the ways in which the student can apply their knowledge with greater awareness and credibility.

Extended Essay:

The extended essay provides practical preparation for undergraduate research and an opportunity for students to investigate a topic of special interest to them, which is also related to one of the student’s six DP subjects. Students undertake EE where students carry out an in-depth interdisciplinary or disciplinary study of an issue of contemporary global significance, across IB diploma disciplines.

Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyze, synthesize and evaluate knowledge.

Creativity Activity and Service:

CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience. It provides opportunities for self-determination and collaboration with others, fostering a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from their work

The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:

  • Creativity – arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
  • Activity – physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in the DP.
  • Service – an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.

In order to demonstrate these concepts, students are required to undertake a CAS Project. The project challenges students to show initiative, demonstrate perseverance and develop skills such as collaboration, problem solving and decision making. At the same time, CAS is an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the DP.