Course Selection Grades 11 and 12

Message from the Counseling Team

“Our lives are the sum total of the choices we have made.” (Albert Camus)


Dear Students:

In the following pages you will find useful information about the courses YIS offers at the high school level. We have tried to organize the information in a coherent and concise way in order to make it easier to browse through and make the best decisions for your program of studies. Remember to carefully think about the following factors when selecting courses:

  • Will you do well in a higher level DP course in this subject?
  • Will these subjects prepare you for your future goals?
  • Do the subjects you want to take satisfy the prerequisites for the IB diploma?
  • Do the subjects you want to take satisfy the prerequisites for specific university entry requirements and majors?
  • Are there any conflicts with YIS graduation requirements?
  • Will you be happy taking these courses?
  • Are you giving up a certain subject that you may regret later?
  • What are your interests?

You should also remember that you might not be able to take all of the subjects that you are interested in. This may be because of timetable issues, because the teacher in that subject feels that you will excel more in another subject, or because classes have become over-subscribed.

If you are not sure about which subjects to take, or whether or not you will do well in a particular subject, the best people to speak to are the subject teachers, the academic advisor and/or the IB diploma coordinator. You should also take this opportunity to discuss your future goals with your parents, and to ask their advice if you are not sure which courses are the “best” for you.

A Note on Prerequisites

Depending on your future goals, you will need to begin taking certain courses in high school. For example, if you plan to become a doctor, you should be taking as many science and math courses as you can manage.

Make sure you are taking the prerequisites for the university and/or department/course you are applying to. Check with the university if you aren’t sure which classes you should be taking now. You can check their website, email or call them. If you are planning to go to a British or Canadian university, be especially careful about prerequisites, in particular if you wish to enter a scientific field.

The most important thing to remember about prerequisites right now, though, is that they exist in high school, too! For example, make sure you know what the prerequisites are for each subject so that you don’t find out at the end of 10th grade that you can’t take the class you wanted to in 11th grade because you haven’t taken the introductory course in 10th grade.

Course Selection PROCESS for Current YIS Students

Grade 10 students are introduced to Grade 11 and Grade 12 IBDP course selection during October with a seminar and wellness sessions which cover a range of subjects to support decision making including looking at influences, identifying strengths and career and intellectual wellbeing.

Throughout November parents and students have various opportunities to meet and discuss course selection options with tutors, teachers and counselors. This includes parent information evenings, joint parent-teacher-student conferences, wellness sessions, a course selection fair which includes the opportunity to hear from Grade 12 students about their experiences.

Around the end of November students meet individually with Counselors before submitting their “wish list” containing course selections.

The school uses this information to produce a timetable and plan for teacher recruitment for the following school year. We make every effort to ensure that students are able to take as many (if not all) courses on their wish list and are proud to say that the vast majority of students are able to take all of the classes on their list.

All courses are subject to maximum and minimum enrollment. YIS reserves the right to alter courses available. The decision to run, cancel, or move a class will be made with the best interests of all the students in mind.

IBDP Course Offerings at YIS

All candidates must take six subjects, three at higher level and three at standard level. One subject must be chosen from each of the first five groups. The sixth subject can be from group 6 or a second subject from groups 1, 2, 3, or 4.

Note: All courses are offered at standard and higher levels unless otherwise indicated. Ab Initio languages are only offered at standard level.

Table showing the groups of different courses offered at DP course selection

SL = standard level
HL = high level
L&L = Language and Literature
Lit = Literature
ITGS = Information Technology in a Global Society

* Students must take English in group 1 to meet YIS graduation requirements. Should students wish to take two group 1 courses, Japanese and German Language and Literature are on offer, and a bilingual diploma would be awarded. In addition, to encourage home and family languages, it is possible for students to study their home and family language as a school-supported self-taught subject (SL only). In such cases, two group 1 subjects would be studied and a bilingual diploma would be awarded. For more information, please contact the high school vice-principal.

**Environmental Systems and Societies is an interdisciplinary subject that covers the requirements of both groups 3 and 4. Taking Environmental Systems and Societies allows students to take two subjects from any of groups 1, 2, 3, 4, or 6 should they wish.

Please note: All courses are subject to maximum and minimum enrollment. YIS reserves the right to alter courses available. The decision to run, cancel, or move a class will be made with the best interests of all the students in mind.


Core Curriculum Requirements for IBDP Students

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

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.

Extended Essay

The IB defines the extended essay as “an in-depth study of a limited topic within a subject.” The 4,000-word essay is meant to provide students with the opportunity to conduct independent research at an introductory level. In general, the skills required to produce a successful essay are those the student has been using in the relevant course.

Students should choose to work in an area they find interesting. For example, a student who chooses history must be interested in working with primary sources. Those selecting a science topic are strongly advised to undertake experimentally based investigations rather than library-based surveys. In Language A, students should be interested in the independent critical analysis of literary works. Under most circumstances, stu- dents are encouraged to confine their choices to the subjects they are studying.

When students have chosen the subject area of the extended essay, they begin to discuss their proposed topic with their supervisor. They must submit a detailed plan, including a specific research question for discussion. As an independent piece of research, it is critical that students takes a self-disciplined approach and adhere to deadlines. The extended essay is submitted during October seminar week in grade 12.

Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)

CAS is a fundamental part of the IB Diploma Program at YIS. Along with TOK and the extended essay, CAS is one of the three core elements in every student’s IBDP experience. Creativity is interpreted broadly to include a wide range of arts activities, as well as the creativity students demonstrate in designing and implementing service projects. Action can include not only participation in individual and team sports but also taking part in expeditions and in local or international projects. Service encompasses a host of community and social service activities. Some examples include helping children with special needs, visiting hospitals and working with refugees or homeless people. Students are expected to be involved in CAS activities for the equivalent of at least two to three hours each week during the two years of the program.



YIS offers a limited number of grade 11 and 12 students the option of taking one of their IBDP courses online. These courses are identified in the course catalog with the notation “available online” next to the course name.

Online courses provide students with an opportunity to learn in a truly global classroom, with teachers and classmates from other IB schools around the world, and extend the options available to them. Online courses require a mature and self-directed approach to study. Students should be self-motivated and very confident using the Internet and wider technology. Further information about our online courses is available through our online course provider, Pamoja Education, at

Enrollment Limitations and Selection Criteria

Enrollment in the online courses is limited. Decisions on who can opt for online learning will be made on a case-by-case basis, with the following conditions, but not exclusively, taken into account:

• The desired course is offered at YIS but is oversubscribed.
• The course is needed for graduation or a college prerequisite and is not offered by YIS.
• The student has difficulty finding a third higher level course among YIS course options.
• The student’s teachers and tutors have determined that he or she is able to take on the challenge of independent online work.

Please Note: A student may only take one online course. Parents must sign a consent form to authorize online learning.


YIS will accept credits earned through online learning and count them towards graduation. An online report will be separate from the one issued by YIS and may be reported at different times than the YIS reports; however, all online courses will appear on the student’s YIS transcript. For transcript purposes, online term one and two will count toward the YIS semester one transcript and online term three and four will count toward the YIS semester two transcript.