International Baccalaureate

What is the International Baccalaureate Programme?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is an internationally recognised qualification for pupils aged 16-18 as an alternative to other qualifications, such as A levels.

The programme is designed to inspire a quest for learning throughout life, with the aim of developing the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalising world.

It provides a broad pathway for individuals and their learning styles, which is in keeping with the Stonyhurst Jesuit ethos of ‘Cura Personalis’ (development of the whole person), and challenging pupils to excel in their studies and personal growth.

Stonyhurst has been running the IB Diploma since 2013, and our IB pupils now make up one third of Higher Line (Sixth Form). Our 2023 results place us as the top-performing IB Sixth Form in the north of England.

IB Campaign - Globe

I was very happy with my results and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to study the IB Diploma at Stonyhurst College – the experiences have shaped me for life. I chose the IB Diploma route because it would provide me with lots of options for the future.

Louisa (OS18)

Why study the IBDP at Stonyhurst?

Renowned for its commitment to nurturing well-rounded, globally aware individuals, the IBDP has a curriculum that opens up the world to our pupils and prepares young people for life beyond Stonyhurst, be that higher education, the workplace, or an apprenticeship. IB programmes are unique qualifications for the 21st century, empowering pupils with the skills and knowledge that they can apply for further education or jobs anywhere in the world.

St Peter's Church

Where will the IBDP lead?

IB Diploma pupils at Stonyhurst have consistently performed above the world average and have gone on to study at a range of prestigious UK universities, including Russell Group, such as Durham, University College, London and Bristol, as well as many well-regarding institutions across Europe, the US and Canada.
Subjects studied, reflecting the broad nature of an IB curriculum, have varied from Medicine, Law and Engineering, to Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), Psychology and Creative and Film studies. IB pupils at Stonyhurst also often leave with bilingual diplomas.
Evidence suggests that the skills developed in the Diploma, which at Stonyhurst is modelled on university-style learning, see students thrive in Higher Education, having already had experience of project-style assessments, managing multiple deadlines, engaging in critical thinking, and conducting their own academic research and referencing through the compulsory Extended Essay component. As a result, the IB Diploma is highly regarded by universities worldwide as excellent preparation for HE study, and is of particular value to students who want to apply to US and European universities.


“The International Baccalaureate forces students to push their learning through a much broader context. That’s probably the thing we most like about the IB programme – it’s not just learning maths or science, it’s understanding maths or science in the context of societal issues and values. Students explore the ethical and social implications, and historical context. It requires deeper understanding of the material, and high levels of discussion and argument in the classroom, learning from peers and working in teams – all these things ideally will set them up for the workplace in the future.”

Ramiro Prudencio, Mckinsey & Company, The Future Skills Report, IBSCA

What our past pupils have to say about studying the IB at Stonyhurst

Hear more from our OS IB pupils on YouTube.

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