The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a comprehensive two-year curriculum for highly motivated secondary school studdent. It prepares them for future university studies and allows them to access leading Brazilian and overseas universities. The Diploma Programme prepares students for university by encouraging them to ask challenging questions, learn how to learn, develop a strong sense of their own identity and culture, and develop the ability to communicate with and understand people from other countries and cultures.


The IB curriculum is divided into six subject groups and three core components. Students must study 3 subjects at a Higher Level (HL) and 3 subjects at a Standard Level (SL). The HL and SL are part of the IB programme’s ethos of both breadth and depth in the curriculum. At St. Francis College we offer a wide variety of options and we help the pupils build their IB experience by taking into account their interests, skills and university aspirations. Balance is also achieved by allowing the pupils to choose subjects from at least five of the six subject groups. Pupils must choose a subject from each of the following:

  • Group 1 - Studies of Language and Literature. 
    (English, Portuguese and Spanish)

  • Group 2 - Language acquisition. 
    (English B, Portuguese B, Spanish B, French B)

  • Group 3 - Individuals and Societies.
    (Brazilian Social Studies, Business Management, Economics, Geography, History)

  • Group 4 - Sciences.
    (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)

  • Group 5 - Mathematics. 
    (Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation Mathematics: analysis and approaches)

  • For their sixth subject, pupils can choose a second subject from groups 2 to 4 or may choose a group 6 subject:

  • Group 6 - The Arts. 
    (Music, Theatre, Visual Arts).


Parents and students can find more information about their current options in Managebac.

Parents can refer to the IB Diploma Handbook where further information can be found.

Read about the IB Options 2019-2021.

Acceptance to the Diploma Programme requires student's total fluency in English 

The Core (EE, TOK, CAS)

At the heart of the curriculum programme model sit the three core elements of the Diploma programme. It is no coincidence that they are there. The extended essay, creativity activity service and theory of knowledge, are part of what make the diploma programme distinct, as they aim to develop the pupil’s learning experiences holistically. The Core programmes are all about gaining experience by

doing, thinking and reflecting.

EE - Extended Essay

The extended essay is an opportunity for pupils to focus on a subject of interest and learn more about it whilst developing their research skills. The studdents choose a specific topic within a subject and produce a piece of scholarly research of up to 4000 words. Students learn about the importance of research, academic honesty and organisation. The experience proves invaluable in their university years.

At St. Francis we support this process by providing students with an open choice of subjects in which to develop their research. Students have the support of the extended essay coordinator, and they are all assigned a supervisor that guides them through the process.

TOK - Theory of Knowledge

Theory of knowledge is the melting pot of the programme; it is an interdisciplinary subject intended to kindle critical thinking and reflection about how we know. The course challenges pupils to question the bases of knowledge and inquire into the nature of knowing. Theory of knowledge is not only a stand-along subject; it is also embedded in all our subjects and different teachers will make connections that will stimulate pupils into reflecting about how it is that knowledge is formed and gained. Theory of knowledge draws on the pupil’s learning in all six subjects, CAS, extended essay and experiences outside of the classroom.

CAS - Creativity, Activity, Service

Experiential learning is fundamental in the IB and no other single component embodies this in a better way than CAS. The programme allows the pupil to explore seven learning outcomes through planned activities in the areas of creativity, activity and service to others. CAS is not a student service programme, it is about students discovering and developing new skills and learning how to share those with others for the benefit of all. CAS is an enjoyable yet challenging experience.

At St. Francis students have a CAS advisor, a teacher who helps the pupils develop their programme in a unique way. We expect pupils to be involved in six long term projects and participate in a number of short term activities over an 18 month period. CAS is tailored-made to the interests of students. Students choose those projects that will help them develop new skills and meet their own challenges. 

CAS helps students learn to plan, act and reflect. It will help them learn from decisions taken (both successful and unsuccessful) and hence have more effective planning, more assertive action and a more fruitful reflection. It is a never ending cycle that we hope they will take with them for the rest of their lives.