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Widely recognized as the most challenging and respected pre-university course of study anywhere in the world, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program helps students develop the cognitive tools needed for success in an increasingly interconnected, global world.

Every 11th and 12th grade student at St. Paul’s take IB courses that provide an appropriate level of academic challenge, with more than half electing to pursue the IB diploma.

The IB Program teaches students to learn the same way they will be taught in college: with a focus on critical thinking instead of memorization; with assessments that go beyond standardized testing to develop students’ ability to write, communicate orally, and conduct research. 

Central to the design of our junior and senior IB program is student choice. Students can opt to take individual IB courses as part of their total course load, or students can choose to be part of the full Diploma Program, where all of their courses are IB.

IB alumni earn Fulbright Scholarships

In the three years since St. Paul’s first class of IB students graduated from college in 2011, four of the School’s alumni have been awarded highly prestigious Fulbright Scholarships. Fulbright Scholarships are the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, providing one year of study at a university abroad for scholars based on academic merit and leadership potential. They are:

  • Will Krieger ’07, Wesleyan University ’11, Germany;
  • John McCartin ’07, Vassar College ’11, Scotland;
  • Mike Moss ’07, Williams College ’11, Germany;
  • Nate Shane ’09, Wesleyan University, Georgia.

The St. Paul’s IB Program Structure

Generally, IB courses are two years in length, running for both junior and senior years. In each course, students take multiple creative IB assessments and receive a score from IB (on a scale of 1-7) in addition to their regular St. Paul’s grades. Our IB courses, arranged in six categories, are: 



Primary Language
English (Standard and Higher Level)

Secondary Language
Chinese, French, German, Japanese (Standard Level)
Spanish (Standard and Higher Level)

History and Social Sciences
History of the Americas (Standard and Higher Level)
Economics (Standard Level)
Psychology (Standard Level)
Information Technology in a Global Society (Standard and Higher Level)

Natural Sciences
Biology (Standard Level)
Physics (Standard Level)
Design Technology (Standard and Higher Level)
Environmental Systems and Societies (Standard Level)

Mathematics (Standard and Higher Level)
Mathematical Studies (Standard Level)

Music (Standard and Higher Level)
Theatre Arts (Standard and Higher Level)
Visual Arts (Standard and Higher Level)

Planning Your Courses

The choice between taking individual IB courses or the full IB Diploma Program is an important decision made in the spring of the 10th grade year.  The Upper School Academic Dean will meet with students and parents to share more about the IB Diploma and help each student make the best possible personal decision.   

IB Diploma Program

Students who opt for the Diploma Program take six IB courses, typically one from each category listed above. Diploma students must meet additional core requirements as well, including an Extended Essay (a sizeable, independent, research project) and the Theory of Knowledge course (which gives students opportunity to reflect upon and synthesize ideas from their main courses).

IB Exam Schedule

St. Paul’s School
11152 Falls Road 
P.O. Box 8100 
Brooklandville, Maryland 21022
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