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Group 3: Individuals and Societies

Students are  required to choose one subject from each of the six academic areas, including one from Individuals and societies. They can choose a second subject from each academic area except the arts.


Glen A. Wilson offers History HL and Psychology SL

Contact Mark Thompson  Mark Thompson (626) 934-4548 Social Science
Contact Claudia Van Gorden  Claudia Van Gorden (626) 934-4579 Social Science/Psychology
Released Exams

Group 3: Individuals and Societies


The IB Diploma Programme psychology course is the systematic study of behaviour and mental processes.  Since the psychology course examines the interaction of biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behaviour, it is well placed in group 3, individuals and societies.    Students undertaking the course can expect to develop an understanding of how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied.  This will allow them to have a greater understanding of themselves and appreciate the diversity of human behaviour. 

The holistic approach reflected in the curriculum, which sees biological, cognitive and sociocultural analysis being taught in an integrated way ensures that students are able to develop an understanding of what all humans share, as well as the immense diversity of influences on human behaviour and mental processes.  The ethical concerns raised by the methodology and application of psychological research are also key considerations of the IB psychology course.

SL Psychology Syllabus Outline

The Diploma Programme psychology course is designed to allow for in-depth analysis, evaluation and consolidation of learning.  The overall aim of the course is to give students a deeper understanding of the nature and scope of psychology.  Teachers are encouraged to find ways of delivering the course that are most relevant to their students’ interests and to the school’s resources.  This course should be taught in an integrated way, as the different parts of the syllabus complement each other.  This will allow students to make comparisons and evaluate different psychological theories and arguments.

Syllabus component

Teaching hours



Part one: Core

  • The biological level of analysis
  • The cognitive level of analysis
  • The sociocultural level of analysis


Part Two: Options

  • Abnormal psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Psychology of human relationships
  • Sport psychology


Part Three: Simple experimental study

  • Introduction to experimental research methodology


Total teaching hours



Standard level

  • All three compulsory levels of analysis
  • One option from a choice of five
  • One simple experimental study.

Psychology: Key features of the curriculum and assessment models

  • The course is available at the standard level (SL).
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL.
  • Students are assessed both internally and externally.
  • External assessment for SL students consists of two written papers.  
  • Internal assessment for SL students is to write a report of a simple experimental study conducted by the student.  This is internally marked by subject teachers and then externally moderated by IB examiners.


History is more than the study of the past. It is the process of recording, reconstructing and interpreting the past through the investigation of a variety of sources. It is a discipline that gives people an understanding of themselves and others in relation to the world, both past and present.

The Diploma Programme history course aims to promote an understanding of history as a discipline, including the nature and diversity of its sources, methods and interpretations. It also helps students to gain a better understanding of the present through critical reflection upon the past. It is hoped that many students who follow the course will become fascinated with the discipline, developing a lasting interest in it whether or not they continue to study it formally.

Students and teachers have a choice of two routes through the Diploma Programme history course. The route one history course explores the main developments in the history of Europe and the Islamic world from 500 to 1570, while the route two history course focuses on 20th century world history.

Whichever route is selected the course provides both structure and flexibility, fostering an understanding of major historical events in a global context. It requires students to make comparisons between similar and dissimilar solutions to common human situations, whether they be political, economic or social. It invites comparisons between, but not judgments of, different cultures, political systems and national traditions.

History is available at the Higher Level (HL).

HL History Syllabus Outline

Course Offered:  History of the Americas HL

20th century world history—prescribed subjects

(one to be studied)

 Communism in crisis 1976–89

SL and HL

20th century world history—topics (two to be studied)

1. Causes, practices and effects of wars

2. Democratic states—challenges and responses

3. Origins and development of authoritarian and single-party states

4. The Cold War

SL and HL

Higher Level options



Aspects of the history of the Americas


HL only



Internal assessment

Historical investigation

SL and HL