It’s February, and grade 10 students in my school are starting to consider and possibly start selecting the subjects they would like to study in grade 11 as part of their Diploma Programme courses.

My school is a ‘full’ IB school: we offer all four IB Programmes: CP, PYP, MYP and DP.

Occasionally one or two students start grade 11 just taking three or four subjects with the ‘certificates only’ option, but everyone else takes the full Diploma – six subjects plus ToK , CAS and the EE.


The Arts

Visual Arts is always a popular choice, both in my school and internationally.

Last May more people across the world took Visual Arts than all the other arts subjects combined.

Theatre is also a popular choice in my school.

Music, on the other hand, does not attract a lot of interest – and if only one person wishes to take the course it’s unlikely to run.

Internationally, numbers taking Theatre and Film are broadly similar with around 200 students fewer taking Music

Only Dance had fewer candidates than DP Music

Arts Candidate numbers May 2018 (HL and SL combined)

Dance                 712

Music                  3756

Film                     4010

Theatre              4131

Visual Arts         15233

Anyway, back to choosing which course to take…

Interdisciplinary courses

The traditional and most popular selection involves, of course, one subject from each of the main six subject groups.

However, there are also DP Interdisciplinary courses.

If your school offers ESS (Environmental Systems and Societies) this subject counts as a science and a humanities subject and as either a group 3 or 4, or covers both groups if no other subject has been chosen in either of those groups.

Therefore, if students register only ESS for groups 3 and 4, this means they are one subject short for the Diploma, so can choose another subject from another group.

Hence there is the possibility of a student taking more than one subject within the Arts, e.g. Visual Arts and Theatre, Visual Arts and Music, Theatre and Music etc.

So encourage your students to register for ESS, and then register for two group 6s!

Currently our IB class schedule has all DP Arts subjects running simultaneously, making it impossible for a student to take two Arts subjects.

However, the entire school timetable is being reviewed for the 2019–2020 school year, (starting in August this year) with a range of new teaching time combinations and offerings being considered.

Many grade 10 students are expressing interest in taking two Arts subjects, and students (and parents) have a lot of power – so I’m hopeful that the option of taking two Arts subjects will soon be available, so that in August we will have our first multiple Arts DP cohort!