International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program

QSI International School of Chengdu was granted authorization to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) in May 2015.  The program emphasizes critical thinking, intercultural understanding, and exposure to a variety of points of view.

The IBDP is an academically challenging program designed for highly motivated secondary school students. The program has earned a reputation for rigorous assessment, giving IB diploma holders access to the world’s leading universities. Students undertaking the program must demonstrate self-discipline and responsibility in pursuit of the IB diploma.

QSI Chengdu offers a varied range of IBDP subjects from which students can tailor study programs that best suit their immediate needs, personal interests and future goals. The current IB course offerings for students at QSI Chengdu are listed below.

To be awarded the IB diploma, students must satisfy the course requirements in one course from each of the six groups listed. In general, IB courses are completed over two years, with the exception of some one-year ‘anticipated’ courses. At least three and not more than four courses are taken at higher level (HL—240 hours over two years), the others at standard level (SL—150 hours over two years). 

Additionally, students must complete a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) component which is designed to foster critical reflection on students’ own knowledge and experience; a program of Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS); and an extended essay of 4,000 words on a topic of personal interest.



IB Diploma Program Courses


Group 1: Language A

Group 2: Language B

Group 3: Individuals and Societies

  • Language and Literature, Higher Level
  • Language and Literature, Standard Level
  • Chinese (Mandarin) ab 
  • Chinese (Mandarin), Standard Level
  • Chinese (Mandarin), Higher Level
  • Economics, Higher Level
  • Economics, Standard Level
  • History, Higher Level
  • History, Standard Level
  • Psychology (beginning 2016/2017 school year)

Group 4: Experimental Sciences

Group 5: Mathematics

Group 6: The Arts

  • Biology, Higher Level
  • Biology, Standard Level
  • Chemistry, Higher Level
  • Chemistry, Standard Level
  • Mathematical Studies
  • Mathematics, Standard Level
  • Mathematics, Higher Level
  • Visual Arts, Higher Level
  • Visual Arts, Standard Level
  • OR one other subject from Groups 2, 3, or 4


IB Diploma Program Course Descriptors


IB English A: Language and Literature (HL and SL)

Instructor:  Mrs. Laura Li

The goal of the course is to foster an understanding of how language, culture, and context determine the ways in which meaning is constructed in texts, including literary texts. Students will read independently, carry out interpretation and analysis of an author’s style as well as cultural and social influences, and express a thoughtful, personal response. Students will learn to write and speak in a well-organized and convincing way, showing an appreciation of each author’s choices and the possible influences on, and effect of, these choices. They will use formal language. Assessment tasks include both oral and written assignments which are submitted over the two-year duration of the course as well as final exams. All graded work will be assessed against task-specific criteria: e.g., knowledge and understanding, response to the question, organization and presentation, understanding of the use of stylistic features, interpretation of the text, organization and development, formal use of language, and more.



Language B: Mandarin (HL and SL)

Instructor: Ms. Euna Tang

The Language B courses occupy the middle ground of the group 2 modern languages spectrum and are language-learning courses for students with some previous experience learning the target language. The main focus of these courses is on language acquisition and the development of skills considerably beyond those expected of an ab initio candidate, up to a fairly sophisticated degree at a higher level. Language B course give students the opportunity to reach a high degree of competence in a language and explore the culture(s) using the language. The courses provide an integrated study of grammar, literature and cultural aspects. At the end of these courses students will have developed an ability to communicate clearly and effectively in a range of situations. Students in the higher level courses will demonstrate the ability to communicate more complex ideas and the ability to analyze longer and more difficult texts. They will also engage in an in-depth study of literary texts.

IB Mandarin (Ab Initio SL)

Instructor:  Mrs. Lizzie Li

The ab initio course is a language learning course for beginners, designed to be followed over two years by students who have little or no previous experience learning the target language. The main focus of the course is on the acquisition of language required for purposes and situations usual in everyday social interaction. The ab initio language courses aim to develop the four language skills and a basic awareness of the culture through the study of the core syllabus. The syllabus contains the following themes: the individual, education and work, town and services, the environment, health, etc. At the end of these courses students will develop an ability to communicate effectively in a limited range of situations.



IB Economics (HL and SL)

Instructor: Mr. Todd Remick

Economics is a dynamic social science, forming part of the study of individuals and societies. The study of economics has many facets, and this is reflected in the broad scope of SL and HL courses. At its core, economics is concerned with the concept of scarcity and problems of resource allocation. Students will analyze how markets function and the ways in which market factors and government policies influence unemployment, inflation, and economic growth. They will also consider economic theory in the contexts of microeconomics, macroeconomics, international, and developmental economics. The scientific approach characterizes the standard methodology of economics, featuring a progression from problem identification, through hypothesis formulation and testing, and arriving finally at a conclusion.

The HL course in economics differs from the SL course in terms of the hours devoted to teaching (240 hours for HL compared to 150 hours for SL) and the extra depth and breadth of study required for HL through the inclusion of “extension topics.”These courses also differ with regard to the number of external assessment components (three examination papers for HL, two examination papers for SL) and the weighting of the examination questions.

IB History (HL and SL)

Instructor: Mr. Eddie Rozzi

This Modern World History course examines interwar international relations, WWI, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, WWII, Cold War, Mao, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, China and Japan, and communism in crisis. Higher order thinking skills are developed through engaging classroom activities. The course aims to promote an understanding of history through an understanding of the impact of historical developments at national, regional, and international levels, and to develop an awareness of one’s own historical identity through the study of the historical experiences of different cultures. IBDP assessment is made up of two exam papers for standard level students and three exam papers for higher level students, as well as an internal assessment. Externally set and marked exams require students to undertake source analysis as well as compose structured and extended responses based on various topics studied over the two-year course. The internal assessment takes the form of an historical investigation.



IB Biology (HL and SL)

Instructor: Mrs. Desiree Martin

IB Biology will allow students to develop a natural curiosity of the interactions of organisms, build modes of communication within the scientific community, enhance critical thinking skills, and explore globally significant concepts impacting life on Earth. Students will develop an intrinsic motivation for studying living organisms ranging from the smallest known substance in Biochemistry to the broadest spectrum of the biosphere. Topics listed within the hierarchy of biology include organisms functioning at the cellular level, cellular distribution through genetics, and interactions of organisms throughout the biomes. Students will also research topics in human physiology, neurobiology, and behavior. In this course students will be expected to design and implement a range of experiments, complete data analysis, and record scientific evaluations in the lab that incorporate topics in microbiology, botany, and anatomy.  Emphasis will be placed on critical thinking and the understanding of scientific theories in preparation for internal assessments. Students successfully completing the course will qualify to take the IB Biology examination during the second year of study. Students seeking future medical careers or degrees within the realm of science are encouraged to partake in the IB Biology course.  


IB Chemistry (HL and SL)

Instructor: Mrs. Anne OConnell

The major topics covered in the Chemistry course include thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibrium, electrochemistry, and organic chemistry, with option topics of food chemistry, medicines and drugs, and human biochemistry. Students will be encouraged to develop their knowledge of the concepts and the skills required for experimental work in the subject. Students are expected to design and carry out a wide range of experiments, data analysis exercises, and extended writing tasks. The internal assessment component consists of experimental work completed during the course. Formative and summative tasks will involve the design, analysis, and evaluation of experimental work. Students are also assessed using a range of subject related tasks and IBDP examination material throughout the course.



IB Mathematical Studies (SL)

Instructor: Mr. Kevin Smith

This two-year course will prepare students for university courses that perhaps will not involve any further mathematics (for example, languages and arts).  Students will have the opportunity to understand and appreciate both the practical use of mathematics and its aesthetic aspects. There is no minimum entry requirement for Mathematical Studies.

The course covers some foundation work in numbers and algebra as well as topics covering descriptive statistics, logic, sets and probability, statistical applications, geometry and trigonometry, mathematical models, and an introduction to differential calculus. Students taking this course will complete a mathematical project to answer questions and draw conclusions from the individual student’s interest. A graphic display calculator is a requirement in this course.

IB Mathematics (HL and SL)

Instructor: Mr. Todd Miller

IB Mathematics Lower Level is a two-year course that will prepare students for university level courses that may involve some mathematics (for example, social sciences). Students entering this course should have some well-developed skills in mathematics. The course covers a subset of the higher level content and includes algebra, trigonometry, functions, calculus, statistics and probability, and vectors. In addition, a written piece of work, known as an exploration, needs to be completed during the course, as this counts for 20 percent of the final IBDP grade. A graphic display calculator is a requirement in this course.

IB Mathematics Higher Level is a two-year course that will prepare students for courses at the university level that will have a high mathematical content (for example, engineering). Students who enroll in this course must have a high level of mathematical competency. The course includes algebra, trigonometry, functions, calculus, statistics and probability, vectors, and matrices. An optional topic must also be taken in grade 12, and this allows the students the opportunity to delve more deeply into the chosen area. In addition, a written piece of work, known as an exploration, must be completed during the course, as this counts for 20 percent of the final IBDP grade. A graphic display calculator is a requirement in this course.



IB Visual Arts (HL and SL)

Instructor: Mr. Gary White

This course aims to develop students’ understanding and appreciation of art from local and other cultural sources. Critical thinking skills are developed to an advanced level, suitable for college. This is achieved by equipping students to take responsibility for and play a proactive role in their own learning. Students research various artists and cultures in reference to their own ideas and explore how to synthesize these influences with their own ideas. They develop their own work with personal relevance in the investigation workbook. This course is student led, as students choose their own topics, research, and media, and engage in regular critical discourse. Students experiment and produce a variety of work in different media, continually attempting to improve and vary their approach and their technical level in media through experimentation and practice. All work is recorded in their own personal digital portfolio. The final examination is presented as an exhibition in an art gallery. Overall assessment is based on both written and studio work.



Theory of Knowledge  (TOK)

Instructor:  Mrs. Julie Rix

TOK is a course comprised of 100 hours over three semesters. The course aims to examine critically the types, nature, and limitations of different ways of knowing and different areas of knowledge. In the process, students consider the role of language, reason, emotion, and perception in the pursuit of certainty and truth. In addition, students compare systems of knowledge and explore the assumptions and value judgments inherent within them.

Students are encouraged to explore TOK within the context of their own learning and lives and to consider the impact of cultural differences on knowledge issues. Texts and examples come from a wide range of cultural perspectives and knowledge areas, including the physical and social sciences, mathematics, the arts, politics, religion, and ethics.

Students are assessed by means of a written assignment and an oral presentation. Up to three bonus points can be awarded on the basis of this written work in combination with the extended essay.


Creativity, Action, Service  (CAS)

CAS Coordinator:  Laura LI

CAS is a framework for experiential learning, designed to involve students in new roles. The emphasis is on learning by doing real tasks that have real consequences and then reflecting on these experiences over time. This process of doing and reflecting on the doing provides an excellent opportunity to extend what is learned in the classroom.

The most meaningful CAS experience comes from spending time with others to build relationships and develop the self-worth of both server and served. The CAS experience should reward and enrich all involved. When well carried out, CAS should build self-esteem, self-confidence, autonomy, and self-reliance.


Extended Essay

Instructor:  Individually selected teacher coordinators

The 4,000-word extended essay is an in-depth study of a topic chosen from one of the subjects offered in the IBDP program at QSI. Its purpose is to acquaint each student with the kind of independent research and writing skills expected by universities. Emphasis is placed on the process of engaging in personal research, on the communication of ideas and information in a logical and coherent manner, and on the overall presentation of the extended essay in compliance with the guidelines.