IB@Nesbru vgs

Satelite site for the IB Diploma programme at Nesbru videregående skole


Group 3 subjects study individuals and societies. More commonly, these subjects are collectively known as the human sciences or social sciences. In essence, group 3 subjects explore the interactions between humans and their environment in time, space and place.

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.

Students of history should learn how the discipline works. It is an exploratory subject that poses questions without providing definitive answers. In order to understand the past, students must engage with it both through exposure to primary historical sources and through the work of historians. Historical study involves both selection and interpretation of data and critical evaluation of it. Students of history should appreciate the relative nature of historical knowledge and understanding, as each generation reflects its own world and preoccupations and as more evidence emerges. A study of history both requires and develops an individual’s understanding of, and empathy for, people living in other periods and contexts.

Diploma Programme history consists of a standard level (SL) and higher level (HL) core syllabus comprising an in-depth study of an individual prescribed subject and the selection of two topics. At HL students select from a range of optional syllabuses that cover a wider time span encouraging in-depth study.

Thus Diploma Programme history 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.
The international perspective in Diploma Programme history provides a sound platform for the promotion of international understanding and, inherently, the intercultural awareness necessary to prepare students for global citizenship. Above all, it helps to foster respect and understanding of people and events in a variety of cultures throughout the world.

Prior learning

Students need not have studied history prior to starting this course. In particular, it is neither expected nor required that specific subjects have been studied for national or international qualifications in preparation for this course. The specific skills and knowledge required are developed throughout the course itself.

Difference between SL and HL

The model for Diploma Programme history is a core curriculum for SL and HL students, consisting of prescribed subjects and topics. HL students are required, in addition, to undertake an in-depth study of a period of history. While many of the skills of studying history are common to both SL and HL, the HL student is required, through in-depth study, to synthesize and critically evaluate knowledge.

Syllabus outline

20th century world history—prescribed subjects

All students (SL+HL) will study the following in depth:
  • Peacemaking, peacekeeping—international relations 1918–36

20th century world history—topics

All students (SL+HL) will study two of the following topics in depth.
  • Causes, practices and effects of wars
  • Democratic states—challenges and responses
  • Origins and development of authoritarian and single-party states
  • Nationalist and independence movements in Africa and Asia and post-1945 Central and Eastern European states
  • The Cold War

Higher Level option – Aspects of the history of Europe and the Middle East

Higher Level students study three of the following topics in depth.
  • The French Revolution and Napoleon—mid 18th century to 1815
  • Unification and consolidation of Germany and Italy 1815- 90
  • Ottoman Empire from the early 19th to the early 20th century
  • Western and Northern Europe 1848-1914
  • Imperial Russia, revolutions, emergence of Soviet State 1853-1924
  • European diplomacy and the First World War 1870-1923
  • War and change in the Middle East 1914- 49
  • Interwar years: conflict and cooperation 1919- 39
  • The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe 1924-2000
  • The Second World War and post-war Western Europe 1939-2000
  • Post-war developments in the Middle East 1945-2000
  • Social and economic developments in Europe and the Middle East in the 19th or 20th century


Student learning is continuously assessed in the forms of essays, document analysis assignments, 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%(SL) or 20%(HL) of the final grade and consists of an individual historical investigation on any area of the syllabus chosen by the student.

The external assessment component consists of two(SL) or three(HL) examinations at the end of the course.

Adapted from the IB History guide © International Baccalaureate Organization