IB@Nesbru vgs

Satelite site for the IB Diploma programme at Nesbru videregående skole


Psychology is the systematic study of behaviour and mental processes. Psychology has its roots in both the natural and social sciences, leading to a variety of research designs and applications, and providing a unique approach to understanding modern society.

IB psychology examines the interaction of biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behaviour, thereby adopting an integrative approach. Understanding how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied enables students to achieve a greater understanding of themselves and appreciate the diversity of human behaviour. The ethical concerns raised by the methodology and application of psychological research are key considerations in IB psychology.

IB psychology takes a holistic approach that fosters intercultural understanding and respect. In the core of the IB psychology course, the biological level of analysis demonstrates what all humans share, whereas the cognitive and sociocultural levels of analysis reveal the immense diversity of influences that produce human behaviour and mental processes. Cultural diversity is explored and students are encouraged to develop empathy for the feelings, needs and lives of others within and outside their own culture. This empathy contributes to an international understanding.

Prior knowledge

No prior study of psychology is expected. No particular background in terms of specific subjects studied for national or international qualifications is expected or required of students. The skills needed for the psychology course are developed during the course itself.

Syllabus outline

Part 1: Core

Biological level of analysis
  • Psychology and behaviour
  • Genetics and behaviour
Cognitive level of analysis
  • Cognitive processes
  • Cognition and emotion
Sociocultural level of analysis
  • Sociocultural cognition
  • Social norms
  • Cultural norms

Part 2: Options

Students follow one option chosen from the following topics

1) Abnormal psychology
  • Concepts and diagnosis
  • Psychological disorders
  • Implementing treatment
2) Developmental psychology
  • Cognitive development
  • Social development
  • Identity development
3) Health psychology
  • Stress
  • Substance abuse, addictive behaviour and obesity
  • Health promotion
4) Psychology of human relationships
  • Social responsibility
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Violence
5) Sport psychology
  • Emotion and motivation
  • Skill development and performance
  • Problems in sports


Student learning is continuously assessed in the forms of topic tests, essays, data-response, short-answer and extended response questions, student presentations and bi-annual examinations. All assignments and examinations are assessed using established criteria.

The final assessment from the IB consists of the following components:

The internal assessment component is assessed by subject teacher and moderated externally by the IBO at the end of the course. This component makes up 25% of the final grade and consists of a short experimental study conducted by the student.

The external assessment component consists of two examinations at the end of the course.

Adapted from the IB Psychology guide © International Baccalaureate Organization