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IB History

There are no formal pre-requisites for students undertaking History. It is recommended that students have had experience of writing critical essays and good research skills and practices.


The IB Diploma Programme history course is a world history course based on a comparative and multi-perspective approach to history. It involves the study of a variety of types of history, including political, economic, social and cultural, and provides a balance of structure and flexibility. The course emphasizes the importance of encouraging students to think historically and to develop historical skills as well as gaining factual knowledge. It puts a premium on developing the skills of critical thinking, and on developing an understanding of multiple interpretations of history. 

The aims of the history course at SL and HL include: 

  • develop an understanding of, and continuing interest in, the past 

  • encourage students to engage with multiple perspectives and to appreciate the complex nature of historical concepts, issues, events and developments 

  • promote international-mindedness through the study of history from more than one region of the world 

  • develop an understanding of history as a discipline and to develop historical consciousness including a sense of chronology and context, and an understanding of different historical perspectives 

  • develop key historical skills, including engaging effectively with sources 

  • Increase students’ understanding of themselves and contemporary society by encouraging reflection on the past.

Syllabus Component


Prescribed Subject 3

Move to Global War

The focus of this prescribed subject is on the causes of expansion, key events, and international responses to that expansion. Discussion of domestic and ideological issues should therefore be considered in terms of the extent to which they contributed to this expansion.

World History Topics

Authoritarian States  (20th Century)

This topic focuses on exploring the conditions that facilitated the rise of authoritarian states in the 20th century, as well as the methods used by parties and leaders to take and maintain power. The topic explores the emergence, consolidation and maintenance of power. Cold War: Superpower Tensions and Rivalries (20th Century)

This topic focuses on how superpower rivalries did not remain static but changed according to styles of leadership, strength of ideological beliefs, economic factors and crises involving client states.

HL Depth Studies: History of Europe

The Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Russia (1924-2000)

This section investigates the Soviet Union from Stalin’s leadership, events throughout the Cold War until the eventual breakdown of the Soviet system by 1991, through to the leadership of Yeltsin in the new Russian Federation by 2000. Imperial Russia and the Russian Revolution (1855-1924)

This section deals with modernization and conservatism in tsarist Russia and the eventual collapse of the tsarist autocracy, as well as the revolutions of 1917, the Civil War and the rule of Lenin. 
 Versailles to Berlin

This section addresses international relations in Europe from 1919 to 1945: peace agreements, League of Nations, foreign policies, and WW2.


Standard Level:

Internal Assessment: (25%)

Historical Investigation

External Assessment: (75%) Examinations at the end of the second year.

Paper 1: One source-based paper (1 hour) (50%)

Paper 2: Two timed essays (1 hour 30 mins) (25%)

Higher Level: Internal Assessment: (20%) Historical Investigation

External Assessment (80%) Examinations at the end of the second year.

Paper 1 (1 hour) One source-based paper

Paper 2 (1 hour 30 mins) Two timed essays

Paper 3 (2 hours 30 mins) Three timed essays

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