The Diploma (Full) candidate must also take a unique course created by the IBO, known as the Theory of Knowledge. This course is designed to require at least 100 teaching hours, spread over two years in such proportion as the school determines. The student is asked to reflect on his/her secondary school experience in a comparative and critical way by investigating the knowledge claims and judgements made in logic, mathematics, natural and social sciences, history, ethics, and aesthetics. The course will conclude with an examination of the nature of belief, knowledge, and truth.
Diploma Course (Partial) students are expected to take ToK as a class in Grade 11, and will participate in ToK in Grade 12 in core classes. The partial student will not complete the ToK essay. The partial student will not complete an Extended Essay.
The object of TOK is not to “learn” new “knowledge” but to increase the student’s understanding of what he/she has already learned and to encourage reflection of it. A further aim is to promote integration of what the student knows: there should be continual connections drawn between the different parts of the IB Programme, and between TOK and other parts of the IB syllabus.
In addition to the specific courses of study and TOK, the school must have the Diploma candidates undertake independent work in one of the subjects offered by the IBO and prepare an extended essay or research paper, to be assessed by an IBO examiner. Although individual subject requirements may differ in some specifics and format, the length of the project in all subjects will be approximately 4000 words.
Evaluation of the TOK and Extended Essay requirement
TOK and Extended Essays are also assessed by IB-appointed examiners. ToK and EE marks (A, B, C, D or E) are combined to earn a diploma student up to three additional points toward the IB Diploma.
A score of E on either ToK or the EE will result in the student failing to earn the IB Diploma.