What Is the International Baccalaureate?

What is the International Baccalaureate? The IB is a high school program that doubles as a highly respected college prep curriculum.

The IB program encourages students to think broadly, beyond the boundaries of their communities, and to see themselves as members of a global society. It has gained recognition and respect from most U.S. colleges.

Learning Globally

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is an intense curriculum for high school juniors and seniors that emphasizes intercultural understanding and enrichment. It culminates in six rigorous subject exams.

The program was originally a standard curriculum for students moving from one country to another (such as children of diplomats or the military). Today, there are now over a million IB students in nearly 150 countries. It is highly respected by colleges and worth pursuing if your high school offers it.

The IB Curriculum

The IB has six main areas of study: language and literature, language acquisition, individuals and societies, experimental sciences, mathematics and computer science, and the arts. Three additional elements round out the program: a theory of knowledge course, learning outside the classroom, and a 4,000-word essay.

College Credit for IB

Normally three of the IB program areas are studied at the "higher level," which is considered equivalent to college work. Students typically must attain at least a score of 5 out of 7 points on an exam for a higher-level course to be eligible for college credit. Most colleges recognize the academic strength of the IB program, but each college has its own policies about granting credit for IB exams.

Schools Authorized to Offer IB

You must take IB courses at a school authorized to offer the IB program. If a school is approved, its teachers complete a rigorous training program.

If there is no IB program at your high school, it may be possible to pursue an IB diploma online. Visit the Open World Schools pilot at Pamoja Education for more information.

What's Next?

For Students Age 18 and Older

Have you received a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit card?

Learn how to qualify for a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit Card


1st Financial Bank believes students who pick colleges wisely will also want to learn how to use credit cards wisely.

College MatchFind the right colleges for you!
College ChancesWill you get in? Find out!
Admissions TrackerSee who got in where, who's applying & how you compare!
Financial Aid TrackerSee who's getting financial aid, how much & how you stack up.
Scholarship FinderFind money for college!
EFC CalculatorCalculate your Expected Family Contribution.
College Net Price CalculatorSee your true out-of-pocket cost to attend any college.
Compare Financial Aid AwardsFind out which college is offering you the best deal.
Dates &
Deadlines
My Data Locker

You must be logged in to view your Data Locker Dashboard

Log in to see all of your saved colleges, scholarships, articles, profiles and searches in one place. Access your Dashboard from any page.